Why Super Smash Bros. Cutscenes Ditched Dramatic Reveals

Super Smash Bros. Director Masuhiro Sakurai Explains the Evolution of Fighter Reveals

Game development luminary Masuhiro Sakurai, renowned as the creative force behind Super Smash Bros., recently delved into the intriguing decision to abandon elaborate character reveal cutscenes in the beloved franchise. Sakurai, in a YouTube video release, unveiled the reasons behind the shift, particularly addressing the challenges posed by cutscene leaks during the Nintendo Wii era with Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

In the video, Sakurai expressed his initial intention to create enchanting cutscenes as a tangible representation of the unprecedented crossovers within the series. He envisioned these cinematic reveals as a delightful reward for players progressing through the adventure mode, Subspace Emissary. However, the excitement was short-lived as the cutscenes faced premature exposure online, even before the game’s official release. Sakurai noted that overseas media outlets contributed to the leaks, diluting the intended reward factor.

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Acknowledging the evolving landscape of game development and the prevalence of story-driven games, Sakurai made the strategic decision to cease the production of in-game cutscenes that could be easily disseminated online. The challenges posed by leaked content prompted a shift towards a new format—Fighter Reveal Videos. These videos, premiering during Nintendo Directs and other events, allowed Sakurai to control the timing of character reveals and reignite the thrill without compromising the intended surprise.

The Fighter Reveal Videos have become a hallmark of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, showcasing characters beyond the Nintendo realm, including Kingdom Hearts’ Sora, Dragon Quest 11’s Hero, Persona 5’s Joker, Arms’ Min Min, Minecraft’s Steve and Alex, Final Fantasy 7’s Sephiroth, the long-awaited Banjo-Kazooie, and many more. With a roster now boasting 37 iconic characters, Sakurai contemplates the magnitude of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, questioning the feasibility of expanding the franchise any further on the Nintendo Switch.