Masahiro Sakurai's new life as a YouTuber has really taken off, with the game developer sharing his thoughts, tips, and snippets of his own history in the industry. Today's video focuses on how Sakurai came up with the original Super Smash Bros. — you know, that tiny little Nintendo crossover beat 'em up that has ballooned into one of Nintendo's most successful games?
But in this video, Sakurai has not only delved into the original concepts and ideas behind his first fighting game but he's shared footage from a never-before-seen game that served as the prototype for Smash Bros. — Dragon King: The Fighting Game. In the time-stamped video above, you can see just how this four-player fighting game started life out as when it was just blooming into something bigger
It may have more generic-looking characters (it is a prototype, after all), the similarities are clear. The percentage "smash" meters at the top; the platform-based arena; the way the characters drop into the fight. It's unabashedly Smash Bros. While items and special moves were missing, smash attacks, mid-air jumps, dashes, shields, and directional attacks, were all present.
Dragon King and a second prototype — an RC adventure — were received well by Nintendo. The problem was that Sakurai's team were already busy when he proposed these prototypes. Mother 3 for the 64DD was one of these, and a "snowboarding-like version of Air Ride, unrelated to the GameCube game", but both were cancelled (Mother 3 eventually launched on the GBA, and footage of the Kirby game has recently been spotted).
Sakurai and his team needed a game quick, so they went with the four-player fighting game — which eventually became Smash Bros.!
The full video contains Sakurai's explanation behind why Smash Bros. came to be "an antithesis to fighting games", a statement he has echoed, while also praising the genre as a whole. It's a fascinating look at what is now one of the most influential fighting games of all time.
Check out the video up top, and let us know what you think of the Smash prototype in the comments!