Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with its 'everyone is here' approach, concluded with an enormous roster and amount of content. It was already a huge game on release, but a DLC program that rolled out over the course of three years expanded it further, in addition to the various free updates and mode additions.
As has been well recorded, series lead and figurehead Masahiro Sakurai has been enjoying a well-earned rest since development concluded, but the topic of "what's next" is still following him around. In an interview with The Verge, Sakurai-san talked about his recent opportunities to unwind, the amount of work and depth that was applied to each DLC addition, and of course the future.
In terms of what's next for the series it's evident that Sakurai-san and Nintendo are yet to truly outline a plan, but what's clear is that the scope of the game may need to shrink, and the creative process will need to change to share the burden.
I think we’ve reached the limit, at least in terms of volume of content and fighters. Basically, if I were to have the opportunity to work on another Super Smash Bros. game, that means we would have to shrink the roster, but we need to think about whether fans would be pleased about that.
Also, I’ve been doing too much of the work myself, so I’d need to resolve that, too. The current Super Smash Bros. has too much of my personality poured into it. In order for a long-time series to continue thriving today, we need to think about eliminating the series’ dependence on just one person’s vision.
Of course, this is the way it is now because we weren’t successful in splitting the vision between multiple people before. This would be a challenge for the future and something that needs to be discussed with Nintendo, if there were to be a next installment in the Super Smash Bros. series.
It seems inevitable that the series can't truly get 'bigger' again, in terms of the roster, stages and overall content. That said, refreshing a little and scaling back could help the series move forward in fascinating ways, especially if a way is found to share the overall creative vision with other talented creators.
Masahiro Sakurai and his team have achieved extraordinary things with the series and of course Ultimate, and there's zero doubt that Nintendo will want the IP to continue in the years to come. In order to do so, though, some understandable changes will be needed.
Let us know what you think of Sakurai's statement in the comments, and how you'd like to see the series evolve in the future.
- Further reading: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Full Character Roster List