Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director shared some good news for Nintendo fans during a recent interview, which is that he currently has no plans of retiring. In fact, it sounds like he’s not thinking of retiring anytime soon. The creator and long-running creative director of Super Smash Bros, Sakurai is 51 years old, which is right about the age many start thinking about retirement. And it’s been well-documented how much game development has taken a toll on Sakurai. Back in 2019, he revealed he was on IV drips at one point during Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s development. Knowing this context, you wouldn’t blame Sakurai for hanging up the boots early or at least transitioning to something far less stressful. Again though, it doesn’t sound like this is on Sakurai’s mind. While Sakurai quickly admits game development is a very hard job, he’s not ready to call it quits, especially when he’s still in demand, which he is. While the Super Smash Bros. series could and will eventually live on without Sakurai, it’s nonetheless difficult to imagine.
“Our generation believes too heavily about always retiring in their 60’s,” said Sakurai while speaking with Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada. “So, for example, if they’re around 50 they tend to think they’ve only got 10 years left. But you’re going to live after that too so you have to keep working. Life expectancy is getting longer and the population is getting older so contributing to society even after 60 if you can is, I think, something you have to think about no matter what job you do. If you can still do what you’re good at and if there’s demand, you can just do it. If not, you can just change what you do.”
“For example, Harada-san, or I, have been doing things that other people haven’t done so I think there’d be always a demand for it in some way. I’ll call it ‘art’ though. If nobody likes your art and there’s no demand, then you can think about what to do then. However, I’m also thinking whenever it ends for me, there’s nothing I can do about it. Making games is really tough. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought that I want to quit. I looked at the questions we received on Twitter and a lot of people asked what kind of game I wanted to make. There’s no game I want to make… is what I’d like to say, but basically, games are just more fun to play than make, guys. Even if you work really hard on making one sometimes you can get picked on, things don’t go well, and there are many setbacks that can happen. Also, it could mean that you’re cutting your own life short to make games. It’s really tough like a thorny path. You have to think about competing with others because it’s a competition. You have to fight and survive so… In this way, I don’t think I can choose when I’ll retire myself. However, I also think I should work as long as I can. I think that’s one point. if your heart gets broken you can quit but if not and there’s demand you can keep doing it forever. That’s what I think.”
For now, it remains to be seen how much longer Sakurai will continue to pour blood, sweat, and tears into Super Smash Bros, but fans of the series will be relieved to hear it sounds like they are going to get at least one or two more installments from the legendary game developer.
H/T, Nintendo Everything.