We are hearing reports that Masahiro Sakurai, Director of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, has passed out while at the gym.
While earlier reports were uncited, we have now seen an alleged translation from ryokutya2089 ( a blog dedicated to translating gaming news stories from Japanese magazines). Combined with reports from Japanese Nintendo, it seems Sakurai’s latest column in Weekly Famitsu, he revealed he has been on a low carbohydrate diet.
Combined with exertion at the gym, and possibly a hot bath, resulted in him passing out. The quote (via ryokutya2089) states “I have light carbohydrate restriction but my muscles are eaten. […] The other day, I went out of the bath in the gym and went out of consciousness.” (translation: Google Translate).
Most curiously of all, there has been no mention of this on Sakurai’s former Twitter account (now Sora Ltd.). Even if the account was to remain purely business-focused, news of Sakurai’s health could be of interest to fans, as he has become the face of Super Smash Bros.
Rumors have persisted about Sakurai’s health working on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. One such claim stated Sakurai would have an IV drip and bag, while working on the game, and walking around the office.
These claims have never been proven however, and are usually believed due to stories of the harsh working life in Japan.
While these are mixed in with false stories, cultural obligations (such needing to work overtime, as your colleagues are working overtime) have resulted in “death from overwork,” also dubbed karoshi. While the Japanese government implemented various labor laws to counteract this, stories still persist.
Back in January 2015, Sakurai stated in his column in Weekly Famitsu that “It was very tough this time around… I doubt I’ll be able to go on making games if it continues like this. But, I consider myself lucky that so many people seem to enjoy [Smash Bros.].” This was around the time of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
Kotaku reported “He is presently suffering from pain in his upper arm as well as a chronic dull pain in his elbow, and fatigue in his forearm and flexor digitorum superficialis (a forearm muscle). The pain is so bad that it often wakes him at night and prevents him from getting enough rest.”
We will keep you informed as we learn more.