Super Smash Brothers Melee director Masahiro Sakurai has spoken about the development of the eagerly anticipated game in an interview with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.
The first part of the interview, which is currently running on the American Wii website, details the start of the project – including the revelation that Iwata ‘accidentally’ announced Super Smash Brothers Melee at E3 2005, before the project had even been discussed with Sakurai.
“Before the presentation, we polled a large number of people on what Nintendo titles they hoped to see made available for network play and many put Smash Bros. at the top of their list,” said Iwata.
“[I said that] I was hoping that a Smash Bros. game would be released as a Wi-Fi compatible title. However, most people from Japan that were in the conference room took this as an official announcement that Nintendo was going to release a new Smash Bros.”
At the time, Iwata hadn’t even discussed the possibility with HAL Laboratories, who developed the previous two Super Smash Brothers titles – and it turned out that the Super Smash Bros. team were busy on another project. Development duties instead went to Game Arts, who had just finished Grandia III, and an office was set up in Tokyo specifically for the project.
But just because the title was on the less technically capable console didn’t mean that the staff count was similarly last gen, says Sakurai. Speaking on the number of full-time employees at the bespoke studio, Sakurai said: “[There were] roughly 100 individuals. Of course, there would be even more if you count supervisors and contractors. Looking at all the staff that appears in the staff credits, it was about 700 people.”
For more on the process, including Iwata’s recollections of developing the original Smash Brothers with Sakurai, check out the full interview.