Earlier this month we learned that Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series would be the Latest DLC fighter to join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster, and it was truly a sight to behold.
During the announcement presentation, Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai revealed that in the poll that asked players to list the characters they want to see the most in Smash Bros. sent out six years ago, the number one response was also Sora. That’s part of why Sora being the final fighter makes a lot of sense.
Sakurai referred to the difficulty of bringing Sora to Smash during his reveal. Still, the director’s latest bi-weekly column, Column 639 for Sakurai: The Final One, sheds new light on just how complicated the process was for Nintendo. This comes from a column translation of PixelJunk’s community manager, what’s up PushDustIn on Twitterand translator KodyNOKOLO on Twitter.
This is the summary of column 639 of Sakurai, “The last one”. Sakurai talks about Sora’s inclusion in Smash Ultimate. @KodyNOKOLO join me with this translation and we will post the second half. Make sure to follow us both for all the details! pic.twitter.com/GyBRbKOvUf
– PushSusIn (@PushDustIn) October 20, 2021
“Even though it was highly requested, Sakurai thought that it would be highly unlikely that Sora would enter Smash.” PushDustIn says in a Twitter thread detailing the translated column. “There is no doubt that the team involved in the Smash Bros negotiations also thought it was impossible. But one day an opportunity presented itself. At a certain awards venue, Sakurai had the opportunity to meet with a representative from Disney. They said it would be great if Sora could get in. ”
Sora’s inclusion apparently started with this chance encounter, reminiscent of the literal elevator speech that led to the creation of Kingdom Hearts (a Square Enix executive and a Disney executive were reportedly in an elevator together, and the launch occurred during that trip).
“But that meeting alone couldn’t bring Sora to Smash Bros.,” PushDustIn said on Twitter. “The higher ups could feel different and the conversations could fall apart. After long and careful discussions with Square, Nintendo and Disney, the go-ahead was finally given. “
Sakurai said in the column that Fighter Pass 2 was originally going to have only five fighters, just like the first fighter pass. However, once Sora was given the green light, Sakurai decided to add sixth place to Fighter Pass 2. PushDustIn then delivers the translation to KodyNOKOLO, who goes on to say that the development of Sora’s Ultimate was overseen by Disney and Square Enix, which meant that there were “many obstacles to its inclusion and many guidelines to follow.”
“The first Sora model that the Smash team sent to Disney / SE was very good quality and there weren’t many problems … just kidding,” Sakurai writes in the column, according to KodyNOKOLO. “It was quite difficult.”
The Ultimate development team dwindled over the years (the entirety of Ultimate’s DLC took roughly three years) and then there was the impact that COVID-19 had on DLC development. Sakurai said that developing the DLC was equivalent to developing a full game. He also said that he feels like he will only work on a few more games.
“With Smash Ultimate, Sakurai felt he could deliver a celebration of the games and is glad he worked on it,” KodyNOKOLO writes on Twitter. “Smash Ultimate is not just any game and he is happy to have been able to collaborate with many developers.”
There you have it: taking Sora to Ultimate was as challenging as most thought. However, the game is much better.
To learn more about Sora in Ultimate, read about why I believe Sora’s inclusion in the game is a perfect send-off to the series for the creator of the game., and then take a look Game Informer’s original coverage of Sora’s ad. Be sure to check out some of the Game informer Team Play as Sora in Ultimate Live Today at 2PM Central for Today Game Informer live Stream.