Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is one of the biggest releases of the year, while the 3DS version has also proven to be a critical and commercial success following its October release. Masahiro Sakurai, the driving-force of the series that oversees the projects down to the finest details, has often spoken of the great challenges and workload that the games create.
Speaking to Game Informer magazine, Sakurai-san has indicated that he may not return for the inevitable future instalments; his comments around the strains of the work are some of the most substantial yet:
I can't positively declare there won't be [another Smash Bros. game].
With both Melee and Brawl, I made those games with the thought that there wouldn't be any more sequels. Thus, I really can't deny the chance for another.
However, as for myself, I don't think there will be.
Sakurai-san went on to elaborate on the exceptional workload that the game's scope created, with the Wii U entry in particular featuring more fighters and modes than ever before.
You could say that all the effort in the past to stretch out, keep pushing myself, and provide all these extra merits wound up tightening the noose around my neck in the future.
That may seem like it contradicts my personal desire to keep giving gamers as much as I can, but I don't see any easy answer for it. And yet, despite that, I also have trouble picturing someone else taking my place and providing all this value-added content without me.
Fan demand obviously plays a part; gamers — and consumers in general — tend to expect more and more from their purchases, sometimes unreasonably so. The huge roster in Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS is also an indication of a franchise struggling to rein itself in, albeit there's an argument that this is a self-imposed problem. It's the fear of criticism at cutting the scope, it seems, that has driven Sakurai-san and his team to new extremes.
In terms of scope, and in terms of sheer number of characters, we went beyond our limits long ago.
And yet, if we cut the number of fighters or modes in a future game, I'm sure there would be complaints.
Sakurai-san has stated that he may move away from Smash Bros. before, but has always come back after a rest. Current Smash Bros. development is still ongoing, too, with free Mewtwo DLC and a major update with online Tourneys still due. Once the dust has settled we may — or may not — see Sakurai-san refresh and willing to go again in a few year's time; there are typically a good number of years between releases, after all.
It would certainly be a concern if Sakurai-san did step away from the Super Smash Bros. franchise, as he seems so integral to each project. Let us know what you think, and whether you'd be worried about the series continuing without its creator.