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Masahiro Sakurai talks about the PlayStation 5's cross and circle button functions swapping in Japan in latest Famitsu Column

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • February 24, 2021 at 6:22 p.m. PST • Comments: 8

The latest entry of Masahiro Sakurai's Famitsu Column has recently surfaced on the internet. Kody NOKOLO, a translator for Source Gaming, has provided a synopsis of what Sakurai wrote.

Although Pyra & Mythra were recently revealed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai hasn't had a chance to talk about them more in-depth during one of his famous "Sakurai Presents" videos — the next one on Pyra & Mythra is coming on March 4. Though he apparently said nothing on the subject in his latest Famitsu Column, he's likely saving talking points about them for later. Instead, he took the time to talk about how the functions of the cross and circle buttons on the PlayStation 5 have basically swapped in Japan.

Traditionally in Japan, the cross button was typically used to cancel actions while navigating menus on the PlayStation. Meanwhile, the circle button was used to confirm actions. These functionalities have been swapped on the PlayStation 5 to mirror how they work overseas.

Sakurai notes that the Nintendo Switch is now the only modern console where the most downward button — the "B" button on Nintendo Switch controllers — isn't the confirm action.

He then mentions how a consistent button layout should make development easier for game creators. Since the confirm button has become mostly universal now, this no longer needs to be a major concern for developers.

It is certainly interesting how Sakurai is noting the PlayStation 5 button function change from the perspective of a developer considering that he's never developed a game for one of Sony's consoles before. Still, he is notably a good friend of Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear series, which was mostly associated with the PlayStation for an era of time — which is why Snake's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a third party was so surprising at the time.

Of course, there might've almost been a time where Sakurai could've developed a game for a non-Nintendo console following his departure from HAL Laboratory after developing Kirby Air Ride. Inevitably, he acted as the designer for Meteos, a game released on the Nintendo DS and mobile devices, before being recruited by Satoru Iwata to oversee the development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and other Nintendo games.

Had Sony approached Masahiro Sakurai during his time as a freelance developer following his departure from Hal Laboratory, there's a possibility we could've ended up with a PlayStation game that was developed by Sakurai.

While it's certainly unlikely for Sakurai to develop for a console other than Nintendo at this point, the swapping of the cross and circle button functionalities on the PlayStation 5 is certainly a good thing for Sakurai to understand from the perspective of a developer.

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