Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Technable


Game Development Can Ruin Your Social Life, Smash Bros. Director Says

Game development can “destroy” a person’s social life, according to Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai. In his latest Weekly Famitsu column, Sakurai spells out the personal toll game development can have on a person, at least for a game like Super Smash Bros.

“Making things like this takes its toll,” Sakurai wrote, as translated by Kotaku. “Developing Smash Bros. destroys a lot of one’s private life.”

Sakurai explained that he often considers delegating tasks to other employees more regularly, but this is not always possible. “As a result, I work from mornings to late nights, even on weekends and holidays,” he said. “I hardly have any free time, let alone time to play other games.”

This intense work schedule is not a new thing for Sakurai. He revealed that during the end of development on 2008’s Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there were times when he would work for 40 straight hours, only taking four hours off to sleep before returning to the office.

“I hardly have any free time, let alone time to play other games” — Masahiro Sakurai

The hours have not been as long for the new Super Smash Bros. game for 3DS and Wii U, he explained. However, due to a long list of new features, as well as his advancing age, development has been no walk in the park, either.

“I’m not young anymore so I can’t push myself like I did then, but I feel that the business due to the sheer amount of features [in the games] was much greater this time around,” he said. “My routine was trying to complete my daily work every day while doing my best to maintain my health day after day.”

Sakurai also explained that the stress of his daily duties sometimes makes him consider what life is really all about. “Sometimes I wind up thinking about life itself. Things like ‘why is it again that people are born?'” Sakurai said. “The work is large enough and difficult enough that it can affect how you look at life.”

If Nintendo moves forward with another Super Smash Bros. game, Sakurai said he’ll need to carefully consider how he approaches development as it relates to maintaining a healthier work/life balance. “I’ve passed my limit long ago,” he said.

Though Sakurai’s comments might lead you to believe he is unhappy with his role and position, he assures fans that the opportunity to work on and shape a beloved franchise such as Super Smash Bros. is not lost on him.

“I believe I should be thankful that I am given such funds to be able to use such iconic characters and content that represent Japanese games with such freedom, and have multitudes of people across the world play with them,” he said.

Sakurai further mentioned that he hopes his story can help people hoping to break into the industry understand the realities of game development. He ended his column, saying: “I’m not depressed and I continue to remain healthy and positive, but developing Smash Bros. is beyond hard.”

In addition to mental pain around the development of Super Smash Bros., last year, Sakurai revealed that he was suffering from calcific tendinitis and muscle ruptures in his right shoulder, which affected mobility of his right arm.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS was released earlier this year to big sales, while the Wii U version is due to launch on November 21.

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