3 August 1970 |
|Occupation||Video game director, designer, writer, voice actor|
Masahiro Sakurai (桜井 政博 Sakurai Masahiro?) (born 3 August 1970) is a Japanese video game director, designer, writer and voice actor, best known as the creator and director of the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series. Mostly working on games for Nintendo platforms, he is currently the Director of Software Development for his company Sora Ltd.
He is also the author of a weekly column for Famitsu magazine and has developed a cult following for his streamlined, yet deep gameplay. Apart from his work in the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series, he directed the acclaimed games Meteos and Kid Icarus: Uprising. He also voiced the character King Dedede in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and in the Super Smash Bros. series.
One of Sakurai's earliest experiences in the video game industry began when he worked for HAL Laboratory, where he created the character Kirby at age 19 and directed his first title, Kirby's Dream Land. Sakurai left HAL on August 5, 2003, ending his work on the Kirby series. Reasons for his departure are said to be because he was seeking more freedom and was disappointed there, but most of all Sakurai grew tired of the sequelization from HAL. "It was tough for me to see that every time I made a new game, people automatically assumed that a sequel was coming," said Sakurai, in an interview with Nintendo Dream, two weeks after he resigned from HAL Laboratory. He explained that, "even if it's a sequel, lots of people have to give their all to make a game, but some people think the sequel process happens naturally."
His resignation came just days after an interview where he openly criticized the company for circumstances surrounding the development of the Nintendo GameCube racer Kirby Air Ride. After he left HAL, Sakurai began working with Q Entertainment, along with Tetsuya Mizuguchi. This collaboration resulted in Meteos in 2005, a unique puzzle game for the Nintendo DS. On September 30, 2005, Sakurai announced that he had formed his own company, Sora. Two titles were announced to be in development but no information on the titles (other than that they were in development) had been divulged. As for the future of the Super Smash Bros. series, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory's President Satoru Iwata, during the Nintendo E3 2005 press conference, promised an online iteration of the game would come to Nintendo's video game console, Wii.
In issue #885 of Famitsu magazine, Sakurai first revealed that he would be serving as a director and game designer on Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was finished and released in 2008, after personnel borrowed from 19 different developer studios assisted in development. Sakurai had also been updating daily the official Super Smash Bros Brawl web site called the "Smash Bros. Dojo". Starting a year previous the release, he revealed Brawl secrets and gameplay content through the site. The Smash Bros. Dojo had regular updates from May 22, 2007 to April 14, 2008.
On the final day of updates, it was revealed that Sakurai provided the voice for King Dedede in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He and his company, Sora Ltd. alongside Nintendo, started a first-party studio, Project Sora, which was 72% owned by Nintendo and 28% owned by Sora Ltd. It was revealed at E3 2010 that Sakurai and Project Sora were working on Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS. Project Sora was officially closed on June 30, 2012. At E3 2011, Nintendo announced that Sakurai was working on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Sakurai began full development of the title upon the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising in March 2012.
In February 2013, Sakurai was diagnosed with calcific tendinitis near his right shoulder, which caused him pain whenever he moved his arm. He mentioned that this could substantially slow down his current work, as he does some game testing himself. Sakurai's wife, Michiko Sakurai, has worked on the graphical user interface for many of his games, including Kirby Air Ride, Meteos, and the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Arcana (1992) — Special Thanks
- Kirby's Dream Land (1992) — Director, Game Designer
- Kirby's Adventure (1993) — Director, Game Designer
- Kirby Super Star (1996) — Director
- Super Smash Bros. (1999) — Director
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000) — Voice Actor (King Dedede)
- Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) — Director
- Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (2002) — Director
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (2002) — Special Thanks
- Kirby Air Ride (2003) — Director
- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (2004) — Special Advisor
- Meteos (2005) — Game Designer
- Kouchuu Ouja: MushiKing -- Greatest Champion e no Michi (2005) — Game Designer
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) — Director, Scenario Writer, Voice Actor (King Dedede)
- Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012) — Director, Scenario Writer
- Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (2014) — Director, Voice Actor (King Dedede)
- Bayer, Glen. "Conceiving Sickeningly Cute Puffballs". N-Sider. pp. p5. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "Masahiro Sakurai's N-Sider profile". N-Sider. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- Gomez, John (2005-09-30). "GameDAILY, Glu, Climax, Mforma, THQ Wireless & More Make Moves". GameDaily BIZ. Retrieved 2006-05-11.
- "Iwata Asks: Super Smash Bros. Brawl". Nintendo of America. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- "Kid Icarus Uprising Developer Closes". IGN.
- Gantayat, Anoop (2011-06-08). "Smash Bros. U & 3DS development appears to be very early". andriasang.com. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- Gifford, Kevin. "Why Masahiro Sakurai's bum right arm is hindering work on the new Smash Bros.". Polygon.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.