Sakurai arm injury impacting Smash Bros. development

Developer Masahiro Sakurai explains calcific tendonitis and muscle ruptures in right arm affecting work on upcoming brawler.

Smash Bros. developer Masahiro Sakurai explained in a new Famitsu column (translated by Polygon) that calcific tendonitis and muscle ruptures in his right arm are impacting development on the upcoming Wii U and 3DS brawler.

"I think the one word I've said the most this year, by far, is 'Ow!'" Sakurai wrote. "Not only am I getting calcific tendonitis, but they've also found what are apparently several ruptures in the muscles. My upper arm hurts, and there's this chronic dull pain in my elbow joint as well. On the lower arm, there's this feeling of fatigue around the flexor muscles that turns into pain when I use a keyboard or game controller with my fingers."

Sakurai explained that there is no instant cure for his ailment and all that he can presently do is block the pain with injections or put his arm in a cast to keep the ruptures from spreading. This is hardly an ideal development situation, especially so for a game as prominent as Smash Bros.

"As a director, I don't have much time in the weekdays to proceed along with my own work. The entire day is spent overseeing other people, holding meetings, working on other proposals, making visits elsewhere and so on," Sakurai said. "If I can get everything squared away, then I can work on my own stuff, but most of the time there's just an overwhelming lack of time."

"If this disorder lingers, or if it never gets fixed, there's no telling what impact that would have on the project."

"Often I go in on my off-days to catch up on my own work, but with my body going on me like this, I have to cut these extra days out of my schedule and even with that I can't use my right arm very much to control things," he added. "If this disorder lingers, or if it never gets fixed, there's no telling what impact that would have on the project."

Sakurai further explained that playtesting the new Smash Bros. title has been a bear with the use of just one arm, limiting him to performing only simple moves.

"I've had to control two characters at once in a lot of game projects up to now," he said. "So as long as I keep it to simple moves, this works well enough. It doesn't go that easy with the Nintendo 3DS version, though, and the debug camera is pretty hard to control. Still, now I realize how important it is to have your health. I'm glad I'm still in good enough shape to work."

Last summer, Nintendo revealed that it had tapped Namco Bandai to develop the new Smash Bros. game for the Wii U and 3DS. Sakurai is helming the project, with Namco Bandai developers Masaya Kobayashi (Ridge Racer series) and Yoshito Higuchi (Tales series) involved as producer and director, respectively.

Nintendo officially announced the new Smash Bros. game during its 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing. The Wii U and 3DS versions of the game will work together on both platforms "in some fashion," Nintendo said at the time.

For more on the Nintendo-Namco Bandai collaboration on the new Smash Bros. game, check out GameSpot's feature story on the matter.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

158 comments
dre256x
dre256x

Best wishes to him, but do you think up till now Nintendo or Masahiro Sakurai don't have a trusty second in command?

JusXice
JusXice

he will get replace nintendo don't have to time for him he can just be the supervisor of the game  

lascala56
lascala56

Is he doing all the artwork, coding, etc by himself? Total cop out.

kidnatural
kidnatural

I wish this man would just have the opportunity to restrict himself from using that arm at all. Do his other duties at his disposal, but otherwise, rest that arm. 

I'm excited for the next Smash Bros., but I'd prefer it never be released than for him to permanently damage his arm over it. It isn't worth that much. My 100 hours aren't worth his lifetime of poor health. 

Good luck to him, and I hope for the best.

In other news, I wish some quality studio out there would release a well made Power Stone 3.

BigBen11111
BigBen11111

Well, I hope Masahiro Sakurai gets well soon & a speedy recovery. I guess I can wait for the next Smash Bros. game.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

If I could I would fly to Japan and play the early Smash Bros. for Sakurai.^_^;

But seriously I hope he gets better and I wouldnt mind if the game is delayed.  How bad would a few months delay be if the game is in development for a few years.

Oldboy08
Oldboy08

It's kind of cute seeing everyone call him "Sakurai" if you aren't aware, that is his last name. His name is Masahiro. You wouldn't say, get better soon Makuch! would you?

Anyways! Hope he gets better. Never like to hear about people getting injured. Unless they are evil dictators.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

Playing two characters at once. Hire more people to playtest the game. It can't possibly be worth your right arm. Well I hope he gets better.

speedracer3190
speedracer3190

Please get better Sakurai, less playtesting, more rest.

jark888
jark888

I think we should have a rating vote for the big 3, game publishers, and developers instead of just for games. 

Falru
Falru

I work in a job where I'm literally typing at high speeds for 55 minutes of every hour. I start getting bad cramps if I don't lift my wrists up and more than once I was worried I might have carpal tunnel. Don't diss ergonomic posture, lest your job take its toll on your hands and wrists.

WeskerTeam
WeskerTeam

It would be cool if the 3DS could play online with Wii U users like PS All Stars did on Vita and PS3.

RabidBurp
RabidBurp

I wish Sakurai a speedy recovery.

If you don't have your health, then what DO you have?

Kyanzaki
Kyanzaki

Hang in there Sakurai, make sure you take care of your health, that way you can get it (SSB4) done in good time, people just can't do everything and rush stuff because what we want here in the west!  There is more to it than just making a game look good, there's gameplay and balance...

Fooforaw
Fooforaw

The amount of hate in the comments, joking or otherwise, is truly frightening.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

"I think the one word I've said the most this year, by far, is 'Ow!'" feeling so bad for laughing at that

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

So basically the Wii U will continue to suck until this game comes out which will probably be in a couple years.

Big_Pecks
Big_Pecks

SSB has become synonymous with delays. I'm not exactly surprised.

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

Who cares just play Melee. Not like this would be an upgrade beyond the visuals.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

@Oldboy08 

In Japan, people do call people by their last names.  I have a co-worker whose last name is Sakurai, and I don't think I have ever heard her called by her first name.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Fooforaw 

That's the "hardcore gaming community" for you. You can't truly be a hardcore gamer unless you hate on a specific game company, more specifically, Nintendo. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@alkaline_DnB 

Because there are totally no other games coming out like Monolith and Retro's game.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@gamebuyer22 

In that case, don't bother with any new Tekken, Street Fighter, or any new entry of most games in general.

Poodger
Poodger

@gamebuyer22 New maps and characters, probably some new items. With Namco, probably better balance as well. There are plenty of ways this will be an upgrade

JustinRiden
JustinRiden

@Gazdakka @Oldboy08 

I thought calling someone by their last name was a regular formal way of addressing someone. A lot of people call me by my last name.

I-Own-Gamespot
I-Own-Gamespot

@abHS4L88 @Fooforaw Sorry for "hating" on Nintendo. I wonder why people "hate" on them. Let's see, where should we start, Oh yes, the Wii. This is where the whole Wiitard generation was born. This console was by far the most insulting piece of hardware I have ever played. No HD in 2006,No ethernet cable,ABYSMAL online connection.almost no 3rd party support whatsoever,the continuing milking of Mario and Zelda (25+ year old IPs), and FORCED gimmicks. Now the Wii U is shaping up to be the Wii all over again. Except this time, it's not the "thing to have" like the Wii was judging by its poor sales. Do I like Mario? Yes. Zelda? Sure. But I want something NEW for once. I see you on these forums all the time defending any hate coming towards Nintendo. Pretty sad.

toshineon
toshineon

@abHS4L88 @Fooforaw Those are just kids wishing to be gamers. Everyone should know that a true gamer loves games, no matter what system they're on. I play on my Dreamcast, PS2, N64, PS3, X360, Wii and PC, like a true gamer, I don't care what system a game is on, if it's good, I'm gonna play it.

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

@abHS4L88 @gamebuyer22 

Brawl feels exactly the same as Melee. Just with some new characters, stages but alot of recycled. You can pickup and play any Smash Bros because it takes minutes to understand and thats all it has to offer. Any kid can play it. Id like to see Namco change it up. Get rid of the old mechanics and make it more technical. The novelty of fighting with Nintendo characters is played out. Needs some deeper gameplay.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@I-Own-Gamespot @abHS4L88 

So because they've been around since the 80s, it's milking? Never mind the fact that there are less than 20 core entries of both Super Mario and Zelda over the course of 26 years for Zelda and nearly 30 years for Super Mario, that's totally milking whereas we have games like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed that already have 4-5 main entries in half a decade. 

The motion controls didn't alienate 3rd parties, one thing that did though was the limited control options the Wii came with, another was the poor sales that 3rd party games had on the Wii. Core gamers who bothered, found plenty of excellent titles on the Wii and didn't write everything off as shovelware, which I presume you did. 

See? Proving my point again, first games you come up with are realistic violent bloody type games. Aside from GTA V and Dead Space 3, both Crytek and Platinum Games have expressed interest in bringing Crysis 3 and Metal Gear Rising to the Wii U but lacked the funds to do so, even Crystal Dynamics said they would've liked to put Tomb Raider on the Wii U. 

I own a Wii U and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, especially since I missed out on Tri and know this one will have better online. That game along with both of Platnum's titles, Pikmin 3, and the bevvy of excellent looking Indie titles coming to the Wii U. Pretty much every week a new Indie title is announced for the Wii U. 

Know why Sony has to rely on constantly creating new IP? Because they've never been successful in sustaining any of their IPs, aside from Gran Turismo and KillZone. Even Resistance is beginning to wither.    Naturally the Wii U is selling poorly right now, there aren't any major games coming to it yet, but when the games start pouring in, sales will pick up. Just like what happened with the 3DS and PS3. And you're surprised that the Vita, a handheld that's been out in Japan for 1.5 years with a much more established library as the Wii U outsold it in Japan? You've just insulted the Vita at the same time. 

Thing is, I only got into Mario like 4 years ago, and Zelda only 2 years ago, sure I've played some Mario games growing up, but I largely missed out on mostly on what Nintendo offered back in the 90s and early 2000s, even then I can still easily see how Nintendo has constantly evolved and reinvented their franchises, which is why I (along with millions of others) never tire of them. 

iHarlequin
iHarlequin

@I-Own-Gamespot @abHS4L88 Xenoblade, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Red Steel, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Monster Hunter Tri, No More Heroes, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Fluidity, Little King's Story, Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaro's treasure, Sonic Colors, Mercury Meltdown Revolution. Out of this list, two are not new IPs (Sonic and MH). Ever heard of the expression "vote with your wallet"? I'm not one for believing the majority is inherently right, but when you sell nearly 50% more products than the second place in your category, you must be doing something right - and I generally support humanity in the belief that a hundred million people don't get brainwashed easily.

shinta125
shinta125

@I-Own-GamespotYou completely ignored that Nintendo does make new IPs, Even if many aren't on discs out in stores they still make new IPs. That ignorance is on you. They may have not gotten a ton of 3rd party support but the ones they did get were great, one is even being ported to the Vita. 

Also, where have many companies gone this gen? many are dead. The Wii was a rapidly growing success and a good business choice would have been to jump on that train as fast as possible and to get some money! They would have gotten money back to stay afloat and continue to make more games in the long run, they chose not too.

This will always be brought up, some people have moved on from Mario and Zelda but others still enjoy it, and there are kids born everyday that will one day run into Mario and Zelda and play it. No difference than how Disney does things with some of their franchises.

I-Own-Gamespot
I-Own-Gamespot

@abHS4L88 Yes they ARE milking Mario and Zelda. Both IPs almost 3 decades old. Forced gimmick motion controls that alienated 3rd party devs and core gamers. That's why Nintendo has almost no 3rd party support. Lets say I just owned a Wii U for a minute. Now games coming up or are new are Tomb Raider,Crysis 3,GTA V,Dead Space 3,Metal Gear Rising, and a lot more that I can't even think of. There's even a lost to show 3rd party support for Nintendos console (Wii U) for 2013. You're telling me that I should wait for ANOTHER 3D Mario and Lego City instead? Are you kidding me? SONY has made lots of new IPs just this gen, like Uncharted,Last of Us,Heavy Rain,Resistance,Little Big planet,etc. I lik NEW things, not just the some old game in HD. I mean the Vita outsold the Wii U in Japan last week. What a joke. Funny how you mention "same generic shooter type game" when you continuesly eat up 30 year old IPs.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@I-Own-Gamespot @abHS4L88 @Fooforaw 

You see me all the time? I've hardly been active on these forums for the past few months. Today and yesterday I've made more posts than usual but most of the stupidity that people spout out is really not worth responding to. 

But I'll humor you. Wiitard? Really? Right away I can tell you're not a mature individual. HD was still in its infancy during that time, HD TVs were still uncommon in most houses, something Nintendo took note of. Also where would Nintendo have gotten the money to support an HD console? Both Microsoft and Sony bled money for years because of the 360/PS3 (Sony much more than Microsoft). 

You can only be insulted if you're ignorant, which you've just proven that you are. Milking of Zelda and Mario? Aside from the Mario spin offs, there was 3 core Mario titles, and only 2 Zelda entries, which is more than usual. Oh yes, 2-3 games is such milking but whenever other companies do it, it's completely fine. So what if they're 25+ years old? That just shows how well Nintendo has been able to keep those franchises alive and still relevant. The only other franchise that I could think of that's nearly as old and still very relevant (outside of Nintendo) is Metal Gear. 

There were also plenty of 3rd party games and since we have this wonderful contraption called the internet, it's really not hard to find out about these games. Over half of the Wii games I played (around 40) were 3rd party games and I had a blast with nearly every one of them. Yes I do partially blame Nintendo for not giving these games the attention they deserve but it's also the community who ignored these games and instead went for the obvious, that or they automatically judged these games as "shovelware" without even giving it a chance.

Nothing was forced, it was completely up to the developer, many of the best Wii games made little to no use of the motion controls. Funny thing is that whenever Nintendo does release something new, people like you just ignore it and go back to Mario and Zelda so what's Nintendo going to do? It's same way with the industry in general, why would developers go out of their way to create something new and creative when the general public likes to eat up those same realistic generic shooter type games? 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@toshineon 

Very true and that's how most gamers are, they don't really care about brands, just whichever system either has the most games they want or whichever most of their friends are playing. While I do prefer Nintendo over the other two, it's simply because I like their games more. I used to prefer SEGA games over Nintendo but yeah, they don't really put out their own stuff anymore, it's mostly published stuff.

slayer1090
slayer1090

@abHS4L88 @speedracer3190 @slayer1090 @alkaline_DnB I was almost turned off by Tri completely no lock on, slow weapon attack (started on great sword) no health bar, etc. But then I just continued, got used to it, and it became my favorite game on the Wii, there's nothing quite like it.

slayer1090
slayer1090

@abHS4L88 @slayer1090 @alkaline_DnB It was hard at the start, but once you get beast armor and weapons, you're unstoppable. I've been playing tri fro the last week. Got banned so I had to unban myself :P

Chico86_basic
Chico86_basic

@gamebuyer22 @abHS4L88 The game physics for the original Smash Bros, Melee and Brawl were all very different. I was myself pretty good at Melee but quickly got my ass kicked the first times playing Brawl, just to give you an example. The fact that different items came into the equation, a new special attack and balancing each character really affected the whole game to be honest. On the surface it's pretty much the same thing until you play it. Much deeper than you might think!

gamebuyer22
gamebuyer22

@abHS4L88 

Why get so defensive not like i said the game sucked. How does saying its easy to play = i suck at it. Like i said the novelty of fighting as Nintendo characters  is worn out. Lets be serious thats what the series was always about. Just a button masher with Nintendo characters. Smash is just as casual as Mario, Zelda and Kirby. You compare to shooters?? Fighters should be alot deeper so thats not a good arguement. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@gamebuyer22 @abHS4L88

Excuse me while I call you out on your BS. 

Here's a tournament match between Marth and Falco in Melee:

%s

Here's one of Marth and Falco for Brawl:

%s

Look how different both games play. Melee is clearly much faster and requires very fast and precise inputs to pull off most of the advanced moves in the game. Brawl is slower and more floaty, therefore it relies more on placing and follow ups. Combos and chaining are important in both games and yes, the game is very accessible, but it goes along the line of many of Nintendo's titles of being easy to pick up but difficult to master. You tell me if kids can pull off what you saw those people were doing.

Just because you sucked at it and never learned how to play it well doesn't mean that that's all the game had to offer. Kids can pick up Gears of War, Halo and Call of Duty and play it within minutes, is that all those games have to offer? 

Melee still stands as one of the most difficult fighting games to master. 

fawfulmark2
fawfulmark2

@gamebuyer22 @abHS4L88 wait, did you just say Brawl is exactly like Melee? oh my...I'm not gonna dive into that rabbit hole now, but I can still say that's pretty wrong.