Now that Sakurai’s long, hard work on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is finally over, it’s safe to say that the guy’s earned a good rest. What does he do in his leisure time? Well, he plays Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, that’s what.
Smash Ultimate, needless to say, is the Switch game of the moment. Since that first hype-tastic announcement (remember when the game was just a logo in an Inkling’s eye?), it was clear that this one was going to be a big deal, and Nintendo devoted an unseemly amount of Direct and E3 time to the upcoming game.
As a result, the hype train reached warp speed as the December 7 release date approached, and Ultimate was the sales phenomenon it was always going to be. While it’s impossible to please everybody (especially in the gaming industry), the game was critically acclaimed, and can be seen as nothing less than a huge success for Sakurai, Nintendo and the Switch.
Where are you in your Ultimate journey, then? Have you completed every little inch of the World of Light map? Are you trying to nab all 1300+ spirits? Are you collecting more casually instead, hopping in and out of the Spirit Board just picking up your favourites? Are you spending most of your time just practising your skills in order to dominate the ranks of Elite Smash?
There’s no wrong way to play. Have it your way, as Burger King likes to say. The important thing is that you enjoy the game. The even more important thing is that Sakurai himself is definitely enjoying it too.
You might think it’d be a bit of a busman’s holiday, playing through a game that you’ve worked yourself to an exhausted stump to make in the first place. Apparently, though, that’s not the case here.
As Nintendo Life reports, Sakurai recently spoke to Famitsu about his habits as a player rather than a developer:
"I’ve been playing Smash Bros. on-and-off too. Of course, I was able to fiddle around with it here and there during development, and I still play it with the rest of the staff during our lunch breaks. That being said, I’m still able to enjoy it as it is on my own Switch back at home. I spend my days sending my spirits out to scour for resources, sending them to training Dojos, and leveling up any Legend class spirits I have. In the long run, I plan to play until I’ve collected every spirit.”
So, there it is. As the creator of Kirby, there’s no doubt that Sakurai will have given the pink puffball a fair amount of playtime (Reggie has stated that he’s a Ridley main, meanwhile, if that's still the case), but he’s slogging away and slowly collecting spirits like so many of the rest of us. There’s something oddly comforting about that.