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Smash director Sakurai on Cloud, console wars, and fighting game design

 Smash  director Sakurai on Cloud, console wars, and fighting game design
February 23, 2016 | By Christian Nutt

"I think we should forget about console wars and focus on what’s really important: enjoying the games themselves."

- Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai

In a revealing, newly translated interview, Masahiro Sakurai, the director of the Smash Bros. series, talks about the latest game's downloadable characters -- and how the team designed and implemented each one.

It's a fascinating interview that cuts to the core of balancing a fighting game and making it accessible, as well as drawing a range of IP into one game and making it all work together, but it's also notable for a side discussion of the appearance of Final Fantasy VII's Cloud in the game. That's what led to the quote above.

The Nintendo Dream interviewer asked about how Cloud ended up in Smash, given that Final Fantasy VII was originally published on the PlayStation, not a Nintendo system. The answer is simple: "... within the FF franchise, Cloud is without question the most popular choice."

But more interestingly, Sakurai also gets deep into how bringing a character like Cloud -- who came from an RPG, not an action game -- works: 

"In FFVII, Cloud starts slashing from the corner and finishes with the cross in the middle, but in Smash, we had him draw it the correct way: start with the cross, then finish with the outline. This adjustment makes it easier to string together all the hits since Cloud begins the attack from the middle."

With details like those, the whole interview, published today at Smash Bros. fan-site Source Gaming, is worth a read if you're a student of fighting game design.

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