Smash Bros. was en route to its Wii U and 3DS systems, longtime fans of the fighting series may have, in elation, momentarily forgotten how much time elapses during the announcement and launch. As creative lead Masahiro Sakurai explains in his weekly Famitsu column (translated by 1UP), the next game is "several years" away from completion.
"It makes me cringe," he laments, referring to the two game projects being added to his plate. "And I'm not sure it's the smartest thing to make gamers wait for several years, but the early announcement was made chiefly in order to attract new team members." Apparently all of his studio's resources are currently being poured into Kid Icarus: Uprising for the 3DS. "We've got no plans whatsoever -- we've got two new games out there in the open when there's no extra time to work with them at all."
At least with these games, Sakurai knew ahead of time. With the Wii's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo head Satoru Iwata announced the game before Sakurai even knew it was a project he would be working on. "With previous projects I had a game design document in place before forming a team, but with this I don't have the time for that. I won't be able to look at every aspect of the game and balance out all the characters by myself this time," he writes.
Before the Wii U announcement Sakurai's studio, Project Sora, "had intended to make a 3DS Smash Bros.," but doubled up after seeing the Wii U. "If we went solely for the Wii U, the HD graphics would really bump up the visual effects, but then we'd be stuck in another arms race. If we made this game another extension over the previous one, we'd have to cut out the new things we could possibly do on the 3DS hardware and compete with ourselves again over the size of the character roster and the amount of gameplay we can put in it."
If your heart stops every time Iwata takes the stage at a press conference, just imagine how Mr. Sakurai reacts.