When you read or hear the name Masahiro Sakurai, you’re likely to think of the Super Smash Bros. series or the famous pink puffball, Kirby. Either way, this legendary video game director and designer has commonly been associated with multiple Nintendo projects over the duration of his career.
There was one point, back in 2015, when Sakurai was given the opportunity to make virtual reality video games by the American company Oculus. Video game historian Liam Robertson recently discovered this by talking to the author Blake J. Harris after he had completed his second book, The History Of The Future, chronicling the founding of Oculus and its endeavors to bring Virtual Reality to mainstream audiences.
In a 2013 Famitsu column, Sakurai spoke positively about the Oculus Rift. He went onto explore the medium’s possibilities in a 2014 follow-up article and shared his own VR ideas while listing a few games that could utilise this technology, such as the PlayStation title Jumping Flash! and other games like the LovePlus series. He even admitted he would love to make his own game, under the right circumstances. Obviously, he was too busy with ongoing Super Smash Bros. development.
Sure enough, the Oculus founder Palmer Luckey heard all of this. With Smash Bros. being Luckey’s all-time favourite video game series, his intentions were to recruit Sakurai to work on a VR game. With Sakurai not being a Nintendo employee, and working on a contractual basis, as long as his business with Nintendo was fulfilled, he was allowed to take on other proposals. This led to a meeting between the two in Tokyo in 2015, where Sakurai was given the chance to work on VR game with complete creative control and would receive a generous payment in return. In the end, Sakurai said if he did such a project, he would want to give it his all, but felt the audience for Oculus was simply too small, potentially limiting the game’s exposure. At this point, discussions ended.
To hear the full story and the finer details, watch the video above.
Would you like to see Sakurai release a VR game one day? Are you glad he’s all about bringing games to as many players as possible? Tell us in the comments below.