Sakurai Doesn’t Have Coronavirus but Fighters Pass 2 is Delayed
The last week or so has seen some pretty crazy news with the outbreak of coronavirus infecting the majority of competitive games. Smash Bros is no exception. For many, a roster of 75 characters would probably mean the game is safe from any more delays. Although still growing, Smash Bros Ultimate is an exception to this, and it looks like there is going to be a Fighters Pass 2 delay.
The news hasn’t spread entirely as it should have though. As is often the case with Smash Bros, poor translations have made misconceptions common. Some sites have even been reporting that Sakurai was unwell with coronavirus and the series is on hold. This isn’t the case though, but the developer has had some health problems recently.
Sakurai’s Health Problems
Sakurai is a completely central figure to the game. In few competitive events does one person’s health seem to hold so much balance over what is happening. This may be partially due to how Sakurai works himself during a Smash Bros cycle. This led to an outpouring of support from the Smash community after the fake coronavirus story spread.
Just thinking about how Sakurai probably gave himself a 2 year deadline for the DLC this time to give himself a little breather and coronavirus probably delayed his plans and he's gonna work hard to meet the deadline 😭😭
— TakaMarth/高マルス (@TakamaruTaihou) March 18, 2020
This isn’t the first time that Sakurai’s health has come in to question. He worked on Smash while hooked up to an IV drip to avoid delays, and has frequently fought through health issues while making the game. Fans don’t have to worry about Sakurai insisting on coding from home with coronavirus though, at least not yet.
The original news story was either misinformed or deliberately misleading. It is possible that a recent news story about Sakurai collapsing at the gym was conflated with current events, but this collapse has been credited to overworking. It isn’t this that is responsible for the fighters pass 2 delay. Despite that story, Sakurai remains in good health and is likely figuring out ways to bring another 50 Fire Emblem characters to the series.
Since those initial stories spread, Sakurai published his regular column in Famitsu magazine. Here, he’s confirmed that he in fact doesn’t have coronavirus! Which is great, but also that a delay is coming.
Fighters Pass 2 Delay
Sakurai detailed that work at Nintendo hasn’t been immune to the problems. While he was due to present his work so far to Nintendo, that has been postponed. Some fans have mistakenly interpreted this as a presentation of the new fighter, the ‘Mr. Sakurai presents…’ videos that detail new additions. This is a translation misunderstanding though, the delayed presentation is just a bit of internal conversation at Nintendo.
Sakurai stressed that Nintendo is currently coping with the outbreak, although a case being found would shut down all development for some time. In the meantime, Nintendo may choose to reveal the next fighter, or they may not. The delay is likely since development speeds have been affected. It is also worth keeping in mind here that the ball is definitely in Nintendo’s court. For now, fans are just having fun with the game during social distancing.
As has been previously stressed, the Fighter’s Pass 2 delay isn’t going to affect character choices. DE scions over who would consist the Battle Pass have already been made, and delays aren’t going to alter anything. In the meantime, fans can continue to enjoy the bafflingly large roster of Smash Bros. With a two-week quarantine and social distancing on the horizons. Someone might even have the time to figure out a coherent strategy for playing Piranha Plant, just don’t give in to desperation on day 13 and turn items on.