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Dragon King: The Fighting Game

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Dragon King: The Fighting Game
A screenshot of the game.
Developer(s) HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Masahiro Sakurai
Released Released as Super Smash Bros.
Mode(s) Multiplayer (2-4)
Platform(s) Nintendo 64
Media 128 megabit cartridge

Dragon King: The Fighting Game (格闘ゲーム竜王, Fighting Game Dragon King) was an unfinished fighting game primarily developed by Masahiro Sakurai and Satoru Iwata that was intended for release on the Nintendo 64.

Dragon King: The Fighting Game was supposed be the first installment in a planned series of fighting video games for the Nintendo 64, with the game also being designed to make unique use of the joystick on the controller; unlike other games which took advantage of the analogue stick, like Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sakurai wanted to see how he could use it in a multiplayer environment. Sakurai was also interested in creating a fighting game experience that involved four players fighting at once, instead of the standard one-on-one format seen in most of the era's fighting games. During preliminary development for the game, however, Sakurai felt that the game lacked the appropriate atmosphere for a fighting game on a home console, stating that the characters he had planned for inclusion in the game seemed too similar to one another; while he thought this would be acceptable in an arcade setting, he felt that games for home consoles would need better depth in order to captivate its audience. After a co-worker at HAL Laboratory saw his pre-alpha demo and suggested adding elements from multiple existing Nintendo franchises for marketing purposes[1], Sakurai scrapped most of the original concepts for the game and instead retooled his demo into what would eventually become Super Smash Bros., which became an unexpected success; the game later spawned a successful series of games, with multiple new installments having since been released.

Before 2022, little was known about Dragon King's gameplay or design, and all information known about the game came from interviews and a handful of images shown when the game was in an alpha stage. No gameplay footage had been demonstrated, and a working prototype has not been made publicly available. Images of the game, however, show that much of the core gameplay was similar to Super Smash Bros., with these images featuring damage percents, arenas with platforms, and combatants that do not strictly have to face one another. The tall, thin build of the unnamed fighters and their kicking and punching techniques are also relatively similar to that of Captain Falcon.[2] The background of the stage featured in the screenshots is a photo taken by Sakurai of a Ryūō-chō neighborhood in Yamanashi, Japan, which is where HAL Laboratory's headquarters are based. Before the game was given a title, it was codenamed "Ryūō" after Ryūō-chō, which itself means "Dragon King".

On October 20, 2022, Masahiro Sakurai uploaded a video to his YouTube channel discussing Super Smash Bros. In this video, Sakurai revealed the first ever footage of Dragon King. Sakurai confirmed there were no special moves, dodges or items yet, but had smash attacks, midair jumps, shields, dashing and five-directional aerial attacks. There was also a stage with a layout resembling Battlefield, and another stage resembling the layout eventually used in Norfair in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.[3] On October 23, 2022, Sakurai uploaded another video that contained more footage, specifically showcasing some character animations.[4]




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