Well, it actually happened: Sora, the protagonist of Kingdom Hearts, is actually in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. What an incredible moment in video game history. Some, if not most, of the credit for this crossover goes to Masahiro Sakurai, head developer of the Super Smash Bros. franchise. In his latest Famitsu column, Sakurai explained the chance encounter that made Sora’s inclusion possible, as translated by Twitter users @PushDustIn and @KodyNOKOLO.
Sakurai explains that he thought Sora’s inclusion in Smash would be nearly impossible, as did his negotiations team until he happened to bump into an unnamed Disney executive. The two met at “a certain award venue” and wound up talking about Smash Bros. When Sakurai mentioned he’d love for Sora to be in the game, the two agreed, and talks with higher-ups were then set in motion. Up until this point, Fighters Pass 2 (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s second DLC pack) was intended to only have five fighters, just like the first, but after some negotiation, the two companies agreed that Sora would be included as the sixth fighter.
Originally FP2 was planned to only have 5 fighters in the Pass — just like FP1. All the fighters had been decided, but it looked like Sora would be able to join after all. So even though it was quite challenging, it was decided to increase the number of fighters in FP2! pic.twitter.com/hS73pc8Xdc
— PushSusIn (@PushDustIn) October 20, 2021
It’s no wonder since Sora has been the single most requested character ever. Even Sakurai himself acknowledges how many fans wanted to see him in the game in the column. However, actually developing the character was its’ own process. As Sakurai explains, Disney and Square Enix both oversaw the development and had very high expectations for the team. To quote the man himself:
The first Sora model that the Smash team sent to Disney / SE was very quality and there weren’t a lot of issues…just kidding. It was quite difficult.
That’s quite a lot of work to put in for a single DLC character, but Masahiro Sakurai has been defined by his incredible drive since he started in the video game industry. Hopefully, he’ll be taking a break now that all of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC is out. Nintendo Life reports that as of this may, Sakurai “likes the idea of an early retirement.” Here’s hoping he gets one, because he’s certainly earned it.