Well, that’s a relief…maybe.

While it’s pretty easy for video game creators to stay completely behind the screen if they so choose, Masahiro Sakurai is very much the public face of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. franchise. Even in a series packed with famous characters from across video gaming as a whole, it’s Sakurai himself whom fans first think of when they think of Smash, which is why speculation that he might be retiring has been filling the community with as much anxiety as their favorite fighter not being included in a sequel.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The current “Sakurai is retiring?!?” rumor mill got spinning in relation to Sakurai’s regular column, called “What Masahiro Sakurai Thinks About Games,” in Weekly Famitsu, Japan’s most popular video gaming magazine. The most recent installment, the 629th in the series, bears the ominous-sounding title, “Everything has an End.”

“I’ve been writing my column in Weekly Famitsu for more than 18 years,” tweeted Sakurai, “but once all the DLC has been released for Smash Bros., I’ll be continuing it for just a little more and then ending it.”

According to Kotaku, within the column itself Sakurai reminisces on how he spent this year during spring Golden Week holiday period, saying “This is probably the first holiday I’ve had with consecutive days off in, what, ten years?” and “I do wonder about being able to enjoy every day if I could make some free time,” while also expressing his fondness for the concept of early retirement.

Taken together, these statements and decisions sound like the idea of winding down his career might be rattling around inside Sakurai’s 50-year-old head. As the one and only director the Smash Bros. series has ever had since its 1999 debut, the loss of the extremely hands-on creator would have huge implications for the franchise going forward.

However, the Smash community’s collective hand-wringing was apparently forceful enough to catch Sakurai’s attention, and he’s now sent out another tweet to put everyone’s mind at ease…or maybe not.

“I realize some people might be interpreting what I wrote as ‘After thinking about what kind of life I want once I reach old age, I’m quitting my column,’ but that’s not the case! I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing in the future, but it’s not like I’m retiring from game development. Probably.

So there you have it! Sakurai (probably) isn’t retiring from making games, and he’ll (probably) be at the helm of Smash Bros. for years to come, so there’s (probably) nothing to worry about.

In all honesty, the cyclical nature of video game development means that high-level creators periodically find themselves with brief instances of calm between intensely busy projects, and as with all creative professional fields, an occasional re-reflection on just how much time and energy they want to spend on their passion projects might occur in those moments. For now, though, the only real certainty is that Sakurai is still giving fans one last batch of Ultimate DLC, so step one is just enjoying that, and trusting that everything else will work itself out in time.

Sources: Twitter/@Sora_Sakurai via Livedoor News/Denfami Nico Gamer, Kotaku
Top image: YouTube/Super Smash Bros.
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