Masahiro Sakurai (桜井政博 Sakurai Masahiro) (born August 3, 1970) is a game concept designer, the creative force behind both the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series on Nintendo platforms, and wrote a weekly column for Famitsu magazine.
Sakurai resigned from his position at HAL Laboratory, Inc. on August 5th, 2003. Reasons for his departure are said to be because he was seeking more freedom and wasn't happy with the structure that was present at HAL Laboratory. Most of all, however, Sakurai grew tired of the sequelization of the industry and at HAL.
"It was tough for me to see that every time I made a new game, people automatically assumed that a sequel was coming," he said on August 26th, 2003, in an interview with Nintendo Dream, two weeks after his resignation from HAL Laboratory. "Even if it's a sequel, lots of people have to give their all to make a game, but some people think the sequel process happens naturally."
He has publicly stated that he wishes HAL to continue working on the Kirby series. His resignation came just days after an interview where he openly criticized Nintendo for circumstances surrounding the development of the GameCube racer Kirby Air Ride.
After his departure from HAL, Sakurai began working with Q Entertainment, along with Tetsuya Mizuguchi. This collaboration resulted in Meteos, a unique puzzle game for the Nintendo DS.
In 2005, Sakurai formed his own company, Sora. Two titles were announced to be in development, one of which, "Kid Icarus: Uprising", was released in March 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. However, Project Sora shut down on June 30, 2012.
As to the future of Super Smash Bros., ex-HAL member and current President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, during the Nintendo E³ 2005 press conference, promised an online iteration of the game to come with Nintendo's next videogame console, then code-named the Nintendo Revolution (a system later renamed the Nintendo Wii).
In the issue #885 of Famitsu magazine, Sakurai confirmed that Iwata asked him to be the director of the new Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Wii. The game was released on January 31, 2008 in Japan and March 8 in North America and features online play. Sakurai, with the help of Namco Bandai, is also working on two further installments in the series, to be released on the WiiU and 3DS.
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- Super Smash Bros.: Brawl (2008), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Meteos: Disney Magic (2007), Buena Vista Games, Inc.
- Def Jam: Fight for NY (2004), Electronic Arts, Inc.
- Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (2004), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Kirby Air Ride (2003), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi (2002), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland (2002), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Super Smash Bros.: Melee (2001), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Super Smash Bros. (1999), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Kirby Super Star (1996), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Kirby's Adventure (1993), Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Arcana (1992), HAL Laboratory, Inc.
- Kirby's Dream Land (1992), Nintendo Co., Ltd.