Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director and series creator, Masahiro Sakurai, has a strict work ethic that doesn’t allow for sick days.
“I made some changes from what I used to do compared to now. For example, as a principle, I always left the office by 10 PM, no matter what. Many companies are discouraging extreme overtime these days, too,” he said, referencing the recent furore over crunch time in the industry following an interview with Rockstar’s Dan Houser and the studio’s “100 hour weeks”.
Historically, Sakurai has struggled with his health. Back in 2013, he was suffering from calcific tendonitis and ruptured muscle tissues, and it continued to cause problems for him over two years later, which he shared in a Famitsu interview, via Kotaku.
When asked how he fared during the development of Ultimate, Sakurai revealed that he had suffered from stomach problems, but rather than taking time off, he went into the office attached to an IV drip.
“I still had a lot of stomach problems,” he said. “When you’ve got symptoms like food poisoning, you definitely have to go to the hospital, right? I’ve had that situation once or twice before during development. It was like I got food poisoning from some oysters that I didn’t eat. It was like my food had come into contact with them or something. But I cook my food thoroughly… Why did I get sick?”
When asked if he takes time off during such instances, he replied, “No, I don’t. I just get an IV drip and go to work like normal.” He credits being a “hard worker” for his level commitment.
“I’m a freelancer, so I don’t have any strict rules on my time. As long as I can complete the game, I could show up to the office once per week and I think it’d be within the realm of forgiveness. But instead I make sure I come to work every day and write proper daily reports and such. I’m always working, but there’s a lot of things that keep me in good spirits!” he elaborated.
He did take a few days off last year over Christmas, but even then, he kept it to a minimum. “We’re still developing our DLC, so my staff would have to handle my share of the work. We’re releasing Joker soon, and they wouldn’t be able to consult with me on him.”
On the subject of DLC, Persona 5’s Joker will drop before the end of April, rolling out in update 3.0. He’s the first Fighters Pass DLC fighter to join the roster.