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Masahiro Sakurai (桜井 政博 Sakurai Masahiro?) (born August 3, 1970) is a Japanese video game director and designer, best known as the creator of the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series. He also directed Kid Icarus: Uprising. Sakurai began his career at HAL Laboratory before founding Sora Ltd. in 2005, where he continues to work today. Sakurai created the character Kirby when he was 19 years old at HAL, and directed the first Kirby game, Kirby's Dream Land. He also provided the voice of King Dedede in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.

For Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Sakurai kept development blogs on their respective websites, using it to announce new or returning characters, stages and other content.

Comments on Ridley[]

Before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai was reluctant to include Ridley as a playable character despite enormous fan requests dating back to Super Smash Bros. Melee. This is because he believed that doing so would require Ridley to be scaled down in size, affecting the image he has of being an intimidating villain in his native series. Interviewed by Nintendo Power for Brawl, he had this to say:

I think that would probably be pretty impossible. [Laughs] If we had put our best efforts into it, we may have been able to do it. But he might have been a little slow. Would that be all right? [Laughs]

—Masahiro Sakurai

Following the release of the next game, he expanded on why Ridley would not fit in as a fighter, stating:

I definitely know that Ridley’s a much-anticipated name for fans, but if we made Ridley as a fighter, it wouldn’t be Ridley any longer. It’d have to be shrunk down, or its wings reduced in size, or be unable to fly around freely. Instead of going through a lot of very convoluted hocus-pocus to make Ridley a fighter, I figured it’d be better to keep Ridley as it currently is, the correct way, and have it feel like a truly threatening presence.

—Masahiro Sakurai [1]

Sakurai finally honored the requests in Ultimate. He has commented that Ridley's down taunt is his favorite in the game.


A collection of figures owned by Sakurai that he uses as character references, including the Samus Figma and Zero Suit Samus Max Factory statue (based on Metroid: Other M). These were shown in his Pyra/Mythra presentation.

  • He was diagnosed with calcific tendinitis near his right shoulder in February 2013, which he said caused him significant pain whenever he moved his arm. Sakurai was concerned this could slow down his work, since he playtests some of his games himself.[1]
  • Sakurai has stated that Samus Aran's pink alternate costume in the series is based on the Gravity Suit from Super Metroid. However, its color scheme more closely resembles the Varia Suit's Missile Launcher mode in Metroid. The Gravity Suit as it appears in Metroid Prime is present as another costume, although this costume predates Metroid Prime.
  • Sakurai writes a column in Famitsu.

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