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Sakurai worked 13 months straight on Melee without a day off, feels he has 'passed [his] limit long ago' and details his work on the new SSB

Posted by Ryan 'Tryken' Tullis • November 6, 2014 at 10:07 a.m. PST • Comments: 23

It's no secret that Japanese game developers can push themselves too far. It wasn't too long ago that Capcom's Yoshinori Ono was hospitalized due to exhaustion.

Yet, as Sakurai, the mind behind Nintendo's extremely successful Smash Bros. series, describes his work ethic in a recent interview with Famitsu, he shows a mixture of passion, obsession, and weariness.

For one, he refuses to let anyone else have a hand in overseeing the development of his games. "I constantly consider leaving part of the work to someone else, but there's just too much to see and handle," he says. "As a result, I work from mornings to late nights, even on weekends and holidays." It's gotten to the point that the developer "hardly [has] any free time."

Continue reading below for more of Sakurai's extremely busy work life.
The truth is this lifestyle gets the best of him. Considering the developer would work for 40 hours straight before succumbing to only four hours of sleep for Melee, it's not surprising when Sakurai exclaims, "Sometimes I wind up thinking about life itself. Things like 'why is it again that people are born?'" Sakurai even mentioned that he went 13 months straight without a day off when working on the Gamecube Smash Bros. title.

Even though his work for the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U didn't possess the same level of intensity, that doesn't mean the stress wasn't just as hard on his body."I'm not young anymore so I can't push myself like I did then, but I feel that the busyness due to the sheer amount of features was much greater this time around."

In future projects, Sakurai notes that he'll need to reassess his workload, further admitting that he's passed his limit long ago.

But that doesn't mean he's given up. Sakurai finishes by stating, "I'm not depressed and I continue to remain healthy and positive, but developing Smash Bros. is beyond hard."

As more developers speak out about their lifestyles during projects, a disillusioning light is shown on an industry often thought of as fun and exciting by many hopeful, young gamers looking to turn their hobby into a career. It also provides a sobering feeling while we delightfully knock each other off the edge of maps and complain about balancing; an insane amount of time, work, and even health has been willfully given for our enjoyment.

Source: Famitsu Weekly and Kotaku.
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