In his weekly column for Famitsu magazine, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai shared some interesting follow-up thoughts on the latest Nintendo Direct.

After months of madness involving real leaks, fake leaks, and enough fan speculation to choke a Piranha Plant, Sakurai has taken a more direct tone in regards to delivering news involving the game. Discussing the most recent addition to the fighting roster, Incineroar, Sakurai mentioned a long-standing desire to add a pro-wrestling themed character to the game. The director also noted the extra care spent in handling Incineroar’s presentation, due to the passing of its voice actor, Unsho Ishizuka.

“He recorded new lines just for this game. Again, we pray that his soul may rest in peace,” Sakurai wrote, paying respects to the renowned voice actor known for his roles in franchises such as Pokémon, Cowboy Bebop, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

On a lighter note, Sakurai also wrote about the development of Amiibo figurines, informing players that it will take “about a year” from the start of prototype design for figures to hit the market. Thus far, completed designs for Piranha Plant, Young Link, Daisy, Ken, Ridley, Isabelle, Pichu, and Ice Climbers have been unveiled. Being the inevitable cash cow that it is, players can expect figurines of the entire roster, including DLC characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Piranha Plant

Sakurai also addressed players concerns surrounding the removal of in-game trophies, a series staple now replaced with the collection of “Spirits”, or art sprites found throughout Ultimate’s various game modes. It boiled down to a matter of content-vs.-workload, with the director stating trophy removal “was decided early on. I wanted to split the workforce more for other things. They required a lot more work than what people might think.”

Given the quality of models in previous games like Brawl and Melee – and the number of Spirits added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – the decision is fairly understandable. With 70 fighters and more on the way, as well as entirely new game modes and an overhaul to online gameplay, the development team seemingly has enough on their plate.

On the topic of online matchmaking, Sakurai emphasized the difference between “VIP players” and casual gamers, writing that the online revamp, Elite Smash, should be considered “the true game for advanced players, where they won’t run into beginners and can brag about being placed among other merits.” As for how players are actually connected, the director ensured that “the game is completely synchronized. Distance (between players) is a top deciding factor.”

We’re only three weeks away from Ultimate’s official worldwide launch. Given Sakurai’s recent openness about the game’s details, it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing more between now and release, so stay tuned for more updates!

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Thanks to for the Famitsu translation! 

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