Nintendo president Satoru Iwata likes to talk. Specifically, he likes to ask questions. Fittingly enough, Nintendo has been running a series of interviews between Iwata and various Nintendo employees under the "Iwata Asks" banner in which they discuss the challenges of creating software for the Nintendo Wii. The latest discussion is a seven part series with Super Smash Bros. Brawl director Masahiro Sakurai that makes for some fascinating and - dare I say it? - required reading. Very little is given away with regard to spoilers (the elements of the game that are revealed are most likely things you already know if you've been following the game's development blog), too. One of the more interesting parts of the interview touches on the development behind the very first Super Smash Bros. game. Would you believe that the original prototype (known as Dragon King: The Fighting Game) didn't include a single Nintendo character?
Iwata: Even though all we had in our first prototype was four faceless characters on the screen, the game took off in a completely different direction with the addition of Nintendo characters. Can you remember how this change came about?
Sakurai: Of course. I asked to use Nintendo characters since it was so hard to accurately convey to the players the atmosphere of the gaming world where they play a fighting game on home console. You have to have some main characters in a fighting game, and when you line up character 1, character 2, character 3 and so on, the main characters end up blurring together. With a game for the arcade, it’s okay for character development to take a backseat since players are content with the fighting. With a fighting game for the home console, however, you have to set up the general image or the atmosphere of the gaming world right from the start or else the game suffers. That’s why I asked to use Nintendo characters.
Other topics the two hit include creating the massive amount of music for Brawl, the inclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake, implementing Wi-Fi capabilities, and the rationale behind adding a custom stage creator to the game. March 9th just cannot come soon enough for me.