Developer Masahiro Sakurai says he has been experiencing pain in his right arm, which is slowing down production on the next Smash Bros. game for the Wii U and 3DS.
His pain derives from calcific tendinitis with muscle ruptures.
Sakurai explained the pain, saying “My upper arm hurts, and there’s this chronic dull pain in my elbow joint as well. On the lower arm, there’s this feeling of fatigue around the flexor muscles that turns into pain when I use a keyboard or game controller with my fingers,” Sakurai said. “I think the one word I’ve said the most this year, by far, is ‘Ow!’”
He then continued explaining his only option to counter the pain is with different forms of painkillers or using a cast to prevent the spreading of the muscle ruptures. There is nothing to immediately cure pain.
As the person not only overseeing production of the next Smash Bros, but acting as the primary playtester with the Wii U and the 3DS versions of the game as well, this is not a good sign for the game’s development process.
Sakurai said, “Often I go in on my off-days to catch up on my own work, but with my body going on me like this, I have to cut these extra days out of my schedule and even with that I can’t use my right arm very much to control things. If this disorder lingers, or if it never gets fixed, there’s no telling what impact that would have on the project.”
Sakurai then discussed the difficulties of testing the game without the use of both arms. “I’ve had to control two characters at once in a lot of game projects up to now. So as long as I keep it to simple moves, this works well enough. It doesn’t go that easy with the Nintendo 3DS version, though, and the debug camera is pretty hard to control. Still, now I realize how important it is to have your health. I’m glad I’m still in good enough shape to work.”
Nintendo announced the next Smash Bros. is being co-developed by Namco-Bandai, a development team that primarily creates fighting games, over one year ago. If Sakurai’s right arm doesn’t heal, the playtesting will not only likely be handed to someone from Namco-Bandai, but it will be the first game Sakurai doesn’t fully playtest himself.
I think I speak for many of us when I wish you a speedy. We can’t wait to play a high-def and portable Smash Bros.
Robbie Key is a “Reviews and News Editor” for Analog Addiction, Entertainment Editor for the Pine Log newspaper at Stephen F. Austin State University, and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates and watch his awesomtacular YouTube videos.