Sakurai arm injury impacting Smash Bros. development

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


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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.

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"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.

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