Masahiro Sakurai (Kirby series, Kid Icarus Uprising, Smash Bros, Meteos) has been working hard on developing new installments in the Smash franchise for both the Wii U and the 3DS. Unfortunately, Sakurai has also been dealing with some health issues. He has been diagnosed with calcific tendonitis and ruptured muscles within his right arm. This condition would be extremely unpleasant for the average person, but especially debilitating for a guy whose job involves precise movements with hand.
In an interview with Famitsu (translated by Polygon.com Sakurai said
“I think the one word I’ve said the most this year, by far, is ‘Ow!'” Not only am I getting calcific tendonitis, but they’ve also found what are apparently several ruptures in the muscles. My upper arm hurts, and there’s this chronic dull pain in my elbow joint as well. On the lower arm, there’s this feeling of fatigue around the flexor muscles that turns into pain when I use a keyboard or game controller with my fingers.
There’s no instant cure for it, so all I can do is either block the pain with injections or put my arm in a cast to keep the ruptures from spreading. I was told that the important thing was to keep my arm as rested as possible. In order to get it fully healed, the only thing is to not use my right arm or hand. So not only am I using a trackball with my left hand; now I’m using it to eat, brush my teeth, wash my hair, and even drive as much as I’m able to.
As a director, I don’t have much time in the weekdays to proceed along with my own work,The entire day is spent overseeing other people, holding meetings, working on other proposals, making visits elsewhere and so on. If I can get everything squared away, then I can work on my own stuff, but most of the time there’s just an overwhelming lack of time. Often I go in on my off-days to catch up on my own work, but with my body going on me like this, I have to cut these extra days out of my schedule and even with that I can’t use my right arm very much to control things. If this disorder lingers, or if it never gets fixed, there’s no telling what impact that would have on the project.”
In addition to lamenting that the current pain is preventing him from playing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Sakurai noted that, until his right arm gets better, he’s forced to gnarl his left hand around a game controller in order to do any sort of playtesting work on the current version of Smash Bros. “I’ve had to control two characters at once in a lot of game projects up to now,” he said, “so as long as I keep it to simple moves, this works well enough. It doesn’t go that easy with the Nintendo 3DS version, though, and the debug camera is pretty hard to control. Still, now I realize how important it is to have your health. I’m glad I’m still in good enough shape to work.”
Hopefully Sakurai recovers quickly. And, if you need someone to be your personal assistant while you work on Smash Bros, I’m just a phone call away. Assuming this injury doesn’t slow things too much, we should have our first glimpse of the game at E3.