Yesterday the lovely Dale North posted on the first of an ongoing series of interviews between the current President of Nintendo Japan Saturo Iwata, and his kind of ex-employee and Smash Bros. creative director Masahiro Sakurai. Even for those uninterested in Nintendo or Smash Bros, this read may be appealing to you. It gets down right creepy at times in ways you wouldn’t expect.
Sakurai seems like he may be against the “New Nintendo”. He makes it a point to say he has rejected Miis as playable characters for Brawl, rejected motion controls for Brawl, and that despite Smash Bros being one of Nintendo’s biggest money making franchises, Brawl may be the final game in the series. He takes this semi-anti-Nintendo rant one step further when he says “If I had been at Nintendo, I may have made a Smash Bros Brawl that was more in line with the Wii. As a result, I feel, in some ways, that my decision-making (at Nintendo) wasn’t the very best.” Nice one, Masahiro, right in the face. The message is clear, you’re Nintendo’s whipping boy no more.
Iwata doesn’t bat an eye at these blatantly disrespectful remarks. He takes this abuse like a kept woman. Why? My guess is love.
Examples of Iwata’s unrequited man crush on Sakurai-Kun after the jump
So Sakurai disses his kind of ex-boss in this latest interview. Big deal, right? Well, it gets better. On the second page, Iwata again starts to gush about how incredible Sakurai is and how much he loves the way he makes games. It’s cool to see a boss, or an ex-boss, or whatever Iwata is to Sakurai, say such nice things to his underling. Iwata even calls him “Sakurai-Kun” at one point, which in so many words is the Japanese way of saying “Sakurai, my beloved little buddy.” Again, it’s all quite endearing, and positions Iwata into in the role of a “good guy” boss/ex-boss.
What’s strange about it is the way Sakurai reacts. He never calls Iwata “Iwata-San”, the customary sign of respect for an elder. He makes some token compliments about the Wii and Wii Sports and Wii Fit, but none of them seem particularly genuine. Mostly Sakurai just tries to change the subject after every compliment he gets from Iwata. It reminds me of times ex-girlfriends have called me and said “Didn’t we used to have fun together? I think you’re so cute! Do you think I’m cute?”, with my only options for responses being statements like “I always though Gizmo from Gremlins was cute, but also sort of disgusting. His lips and nose were so god damn shiny all the time. Why was his muzzle always so wet? Do you know?”
It comes to a head in the interview when Iwata pretty much goes berserk. It’s a total love avalanche. Quoteth Iwata- “My thoughts on expanding the gaming population, targeting gamers age five to ninety-five or refusing to think of gamers in terms of age, sex or gaming experience…I think the roots of the ideals I espouse are tied to our experience together, and I feel they were inspired by you.” Wow.
Sakurai’s response? “Speaking of shared roots, we were both surprised in regards to the similarities between the direction of the Smash Bros. Brawl network and the Wi-Fi connection proposed by Nintendo.” No “Thank you.” No “I love you, too.” Not even a “Yeah, I learned some stuff from you also… I guess.” Just a quick “Oh really? That reminds me, we both like ham sandwiches, don’t we? Lets talk about that instead.”
Am I reading too much into this, or does the dynamic between these two have a Fatal Attraction flavor to it?