List of developers significant to Super Smash Bros.
The following list describes developers that have had a major impact on the development of Super Smash Bros. or one of its major franchises.
Main article: Shigesato Itoi
Shigesato Itoi (糸井重里 Itoi Shigesato, born November 10, 1948) is a Japanese copywriter and essayist, best known as the creator of the EarthBound series. He was also part of the original development team for Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee under HAL Laboratory. Itoi co-owns the rights to EarthBound characters, and as such he is the only individual credited by name on the title screen of every Smash game.
Main article: Satoru Iwata
Satoru Iwata (岩田 聡) was a programmer and the fourth President and CEO of Nintendo in the early 2000s. Iwata joined HAL Laboratory in 1980 while attending the Tokyo Institute of Technology, working on titles such as EarthBound and the Kirby series during his time there.
Iwata worked on Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee closely with Masahiro Sakurai, contributing greatly to the game's debugging process. At E3 2005, Iwata offhandedly announced Super Smash Bros. Brawl while the game had not even been planned. He approached Sakurai the next day and asked him to direct the game.
Satoru Iwata passed away due to medical complications on July 11, 2015.
Hideo Kojima (小島 秀夫 Kojima Hideo, August 24, 1963) is a video game designer formerly employed by Konami, and the creator of the Metal Gear series. His involvement was instrumental in bringing Solid Snake to Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
According to Masahiro Sakurai, Kojima "practically begged" him to include Snake in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but at that point the game was too far in development to allow adding any additional characters. When work on Super Smash Bros. Brawl began several years later, Sakurai contacted Kojima about adding Snake, which led to his inclusion in the game. Kojima developed Snake's stage, Shadow Moses Island. After losing a test match of Brawl against Sakurai, where he played as Snake and Sakurai played as Mario, he stated that he felt the game was "very complete" to the point that Nintendo could have put Brawl out on the shelves then and it would sell millions of copies. When asked about the inclusion of Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kojima remarked that he enjoys playing Super Smash Bros. with his son, who asked Kojima to put Snake in Brawl. Kojima also cited the lack of Metal Gear games on Nintendo consoles as a reason to include Snake in Brawl.
During an interview with Geoff Keighley for Twitch on March 2014, Kojima was asked about the possibility of Snake reappearing in Super Smash Bros. 4, to which Kojima replied that he had no input on the game and felt Snake's return was unlikely, although he was supportive of Snake returning. Upon the release of Super Smash Bros. 4, it was confirmed that Snake does not make an appearance in the game, and indeed all elements of the Metal Gear universe from Brawl do not return.
In late 2015, Kojima left Konami amidst rumors of disagreements with the company's management, and in December of that year reestablished himself as the head of the now independent Kojima Productions studio. In June 2018, with the formal announcement of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it was revealed that Snake would again appear in the Smash roster. His series symbol, formerly the logo of Metal Gear's FOX Unit, was changed to an exclamation point, likely because the FOX logo was also the logo of Kojima Productions while Kojima worked for Konami. Kojima has not publicly commented on Snake's return in Ultimate.
Main article: Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto (宮本 茂, Miyamoto Shigeru, born November 16, 1952) is a Japanese video game director, video game producer, concept artist, video game designer, and EAD general manager who is the creator of many Nintendo flagship franchise characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox McCloud, Olimar, Bowser, Ganondorf, Wolf O' Donnell, Andross, Luigi, Falco Lombardi, Princess Peach, Princess Zelda, Pikmin and other Nintendo icons. He is known by many as the father of modern gaming, and is often credited with the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii.
Miyamoto is one of the most internationally recognized and celebrated figures in the video game industry. He was even chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the year and in 1998, he was the first person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.
Main article: Masahiro Sakurai
Masahiro Sakurai 桜井政博, born August 3, 1970, is a Japanese game developer, creator, writer, and voice actor. His most notable creations include the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series, both of which he created and developed during his tenure with HAL Laboratory. He has since continued his work as director of the Super Smash Bros. series through his company Sora Ltd.
Sakurai first devised the concept for Smash in 1998, working on a prototype then known as Dragon King: The Fighting Game. At the time, the project featured no existing Nintendo properties, and Sakurai was focused on creating unique platform fighter mechanics to differentiate the title from traditional fighting games. However, Sakurai decided that the inclusion of Nintendo characters would give the game more atmosphere. The final product, Super Smash Bros., was released in January 1999 and became an unexpected hit.
As the Nintendo GameCube neared release, Sakurai was named head of production for the development of Super Smash Bros. Melee, once again developed at HAL Laboratory. He recalls living a "destructive lifestyle" during the game's development period, with no time off in 13 months of work. The game was unveiled at E3 2001 and released shortly after in November 2001.
In August 2003, Sakurai left HAL Laboratory. Two years later, in September 2005, he announced the founding of his own company, Sora Ltd., which he has since used for contracting freelance game development work. Despite these changes, former HAL Laboratory President and former President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata stated at E3 2005 that the Super Smash Bros. series would continue on Nintendo's newest console, the Wii. It was only after this announcement that Sakurai received an offer to return to direct the new Smash, which he accepted. Sora Ltd. officially began development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in collaboration with Game Arts staff in late 2005, and the game was released in January 2008.
In early to mid 2012, Sakurai and Sora Ltd. began collaborating with Bandai Namco to develop two versions of the new Smash game, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (collectively known as Super Smash Bros. 4), which had been announced with no specifics the year before at E3 2011. During and after their unveiling at E3 2013, Sakurai took an active role in the public presence of the games, appearing in many E3, Nintendo Direct, and Super Smash Bros. Direct presentations, detailing new and returning characters, explaining game mechanics, and giving insights into the development of the series. Among other in-person appearances, Sakurai spoke and presented the winner's trophy at the Super Smash Bros. Invitational at E3 2014. After the September and November 2014 releases of for 3DS and for Wii U, respectively, Sakurai stayed on with a smaller development team for the creation of DLC. This work continued until just before the February 2016 release of the final Smash 4 DLC, when Sakurai announced that development of for 3DS and for Wii U had officially ended. He also noted that although he had already decided on his next project, he wanted to first take a long vacation.
Some time later, Sakurai began work on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the team at Bandai Namco. Sakurai later said development was undertaken "in silence," with Nintendo not officially announcing a new Smash title until releasing a teaser trailer in March 2018. The game and its title were formally revealed at E3 2018, where Sakurai again presented in video format, talking about the new game and its roster of fighters. The Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 at E3 also featured an appearance by Sakurai, and he has continued to appear in Nintendo Direct presentations which feature Ultimate.
In addition to his work in developing and presenting the games, Sakurai wrote and maintained Sumabura-Ken, a website which in its various incarnations detailed the content and gameplay of Smash 64, Melee, and Brawl. The localized version of the Brawl website was known in English as the Smash Bros. DOJO!! Though a separate official website was created for Smash 4, Sakurai posted daily updates about the games' development to the Director's Room Miiverse community throughout 2013 and 2014. The official website for Ultimate also features daily updates from Sakurai, which are also available through a Nintendo Switch News Channel.
Ken Sugimori (杉森建, Sugimori Ken) (born January 27, 1966 in Tokyo, Japan) is a graphic artist from Japan who is the art director of the Pokémon games. Sugimori designed the first 151 Pokémon virtually by himself, and since Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, he has been part of a character design team. His other work for the series includes the design for the human characters such as Gym Leaders, as well as the 1st and 2nd Generation of Pokémon trading cards. Sugimori's art pieces of each Pokémon are commonly used for generic images of each character on forums and websites.
Sugimori is a close friend of Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon, and co-founded Game Freak with him. Sugimori has also helped on the art direction for the Pokémon of the Super Smash Bros. series.