Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Director Sakurai Discusses Rating and Awarding Games

Masahiro Sakurai believes each game has a certain worth and games shouldn’t be lined up and judged with the same criteria.

This week’s issue of Famitsu magazine included a short column with Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai talked about Smash Ultimate winning multiple Japan Game Awards at Tokyo Game Show 2019, including the GOTY Grand Award. The most interesting part though is the beginning of the column, where Sakurai briefly talked about his personal feelings regarding such awards.

Masahiro Sakurai: First off, I should mention something. I think it’s presumptuous to line up games and give them awards. All games are valuable and shine through their own particularities. We shouldn’t be using specific criterias to decide whether a game is superior to another or not. But this is only my personal way of thinking, and I’m thankful to those reading this column.

That said, needless to say, Sakurai also spoke about how happy he is with Smash Ultimate winning the awards, and thanked the development team who works alongside him, the fans of all the characters, and the game developers who accepted to lend them said characters.

Another interesting point Sakurai spoke about is how the award winner which surprised him the most was Atelier Ryza. Gust’s JRPG won a Future Division award, and is pretty popular in Japan for its character design, though it’s not the sole reason behind its success. We explained what’s happening with Atelier Ryza in a dedicated editorial. 
The other games who won Future Division awards at TGS 2019 are:

If you’re interested, Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi already shared how happy he is about how multiple Sega games won an award.

I personally agree with Sakurai’s point of view and I’ve never been a fan of yearly awards, yearly rankings, or using a rating system when reviewing games. However it’s just how things are nowadays, and sites like Metacritic also have a huge impact on the industry, so no one can get by without ratings. Though If I had to rate trailers, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Terry Reveal trailer was definitly the best one of 2019.

While we learned more characters are coming after the five characters from the first Season Pass, Sakurai also recently stated that only game characters will be included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This means no Goku. I’m personally still waiting for Pretty Series‘ Laala to be added. While relatively unknown outside Japan, Laala is the heroine of PriPara, which is the most popular kids arcade game Japan ever had, and would definitely be iconic to have in Smash. A new PriPara arcade game is also launching on October 17.

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