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Masahiro Sakurai: For a new fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I had a presentation scheduled but the meeting has been indefinitely postponed

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • March 18, 2020 at 7:05 p.m. PDT • Comments: 12

Just yesterday, leaked details about Masahiro Sakurai's Famitsu column seemed to suggest a delay with the announcement of a Fighters Pass 2 character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Once more, we have the worldwide coronavirus pandemic to thank for this news.

Now that the Famitsu column has been released, we now have confirmation that the coronavirus has indeed had a major impact on the game development industry. Unfortunately, Sakurai confirms that this isn't simply an issue that can be solved by having employees work remotely from home.

"Because this is an industry where projects are shrouded in secrecy, it's not something you can bring home with you and work on," stated Sakurai. "Because of this, when something like [the coronavirus outbreak] happens, it can cause workflow to stop entirely. Workers who have young children at home will have to take time off to take care of their kids if daycare centers or schools close and won't be able to make it in to the office."

"This makes it even more difficult when it comes to negotiating with other companies. I ran into this very thing - in preparation for a new fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I had a presentation scheduled to a certain publisher. But we weren't able to get everyone assembled, and this meeting has now been indefinitely postponed." - Masahiro Sakurai

Initial estimations predicted that all six challengers of the Fighters Pass Vol. 2 would be available by December 2021. Based on the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, it will likely require more time than originally expected.

"This makes it even more difficult when it comes to negotiating with other companies," continued Sakurai. "I ran into this very thing - in preparation for a new fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I had a presentation scheduled to a certain publisher. But we weren't able to get everyone assembled, and this meeting has now been indefinitely postponed."

It definitely does sound like we were supposed to be in the know about the Fighters Pass Vol. 2's first challenger by this point, but things didn't go according to plan. Still, the health of Masahiro Sakurai and the rest of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC development team should take precedence.

Sakurai mentioned that this presentation was scheduled with a "certain publisher." While unconfirmed, this could indicate that the next challenger will be a third party representative. Of course, this can just as easily be with a Nintendo-owned second party.

"Also, if an office discovers one of their employees are infected, they might have to stop work in the entire building," noted Sakurai. "Naturally, this means development will halt as well. Even if we were to announce a new fighter, the probability that we won't be able to finish them on the time we originally wanted is very high."

"You may have to endure announcements for a lot of games having their release dates postponed or their development halted entirely, but it can't be helped. With less production available, things aren't going to go quite as planned. A lot of people in a lot of different industries have had the brakes put on their work, and I'm feeling it as well. It's a very harsh time right now, but we must overcome. I hope that people will understand each other and cooperate through this."

A special thanks goes out to Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor for his translations and contributions to this article.

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