Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai revealed the final playable character in Nintendo’s hit fighting game will be Sora from Kingdom Hearts. With this, work on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is finally complete and fans are showing their appreciation with the hashtag #ThankYouSakurai.
Development for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate began in 2015, and although Ultimate was released in 2018, Nintendo continued to release DLC characters for another three years after launch. Now, one of the hardest working game developers can close the book on an eight-year chapter.
Sakurai’s work habits have been meticulously scrutinized over the years thanks to interviews the director has done where he talks about working late, and through weekends, nights, and holidays. In 2013 the director revealed he suffered tendinitis in his right shoulder, making it physically difficult for him to playtest the newest Smash Bros. build. Now, hopefully, he can finally take that long-overdue extended break.
— TAHK0 ☕️ (@TAHK0) October 5, 2021
— 👹beans made GHOULS👻 (@beanzaru) October 5, 2021
As a certain author once said: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”#ThankYouSakurai for everything, these last 3 years, you guided us through an incredible journey, and now it has reached its well-deserved conclusion. Hope you enjoy your break!!💖 pic.twitter.com/5b803GMXRu
— Cherif (The Sky Palace Hub) (School) (19 DAYS 🎉) (@SkyPalaceHub) October 5, 2021
We’ll all miss you pic.twitter.com/rAjf1MdDjC
— dumbass lunala (@LunalaFan777) October 5, 2021
With the final Smash Bros. character revealed and on the way, fans are thanking Sakurai for the hard work on social media like Twitter.
Many are saying the Sora reveal is a perfect bookend to the chapter as well. Sora has long topped fan polls for characters players would like to see in Smash Bros. but negotiating with both Square Enix and Disney made the prospect seem almost unsurmountable. But the Smash Bros. team pulled it off and was able to deliver on the community’s biggest request.
— LVGriffon (@LVGrifon) October 5, 2021
— Has🦇 (@HasiratS) October 5, 2021
#ThankYouSakurai This was the best possible way this could have ended; you absolutely stuck the landing. We don’t deserve you.
— joshscorcher (@joshscorcher) October 5, 2021
It wouldn’t surprise me if Sakurai retired as a director after this because Ultimate represents everything about his legacy and work on the Smash franchise, it wasn’t always perfect and not everyone got who they wanted but it sure as heck was a satisfying end.#ThankYouSakurai pic.twitter.com/Mjq8HPIQQJ
— 👻Dee-ad Dude💀🎃 #SORA IN SMASH (@Destructo_Dan) October 5, 2021
Even the reveal had a heartwarming finality to it. The trailer begins in a way that parallels the very first Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer with a blazing Smash logo in the sky. But where the first trailer only had a handful of characters, the Sora trailer had every character revealed in Smash Bros. Ultimate looking at the fiery logo just as it’s about to go out.
When it does, the characters all revert to their trophy forms. That is until a small ember revives the characters and adds Sora to the roster for one last rodeo.
Check out IGN’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review and keep an eye out for our Sora character review when the Keyblade master finally arrives on Smash.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.