Who is making Super Smash Bros. 4 alongside Namco Bandai? Not Masuhiro Sakurai’s Sora team, that’s for sure.
Funny thing about Kid Icarus: Uprising: When Nintendo brought in Masuhiro Sakurai to update its old series about an angel saving a goddess, the guy didn’t have a studio to make a game with. After he finished plugging away at Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Wii, the guy had no one to make a game with. That game was cobbled together by a very specific crew. Members of Monolith Soft (Xenoblade), Game Arts (Lunar), and Paon (Donkey Kong Barrel Blast) were brought in to make the game alongside a number of other staff. This was all under the umbrella of Sora, the studio Sakurai opened after finishing work on Super Smash Bros. Melee on GameCube. Sora transformed into Project Sora when he started making Uprising, and another custom development team was brought together.
Sora is no more though. The Project Sora homepage currently hosts a message that says the studio shut down on Jun. 30 and that the website itself will be taken offline on Jul. 31.
In the wake of the studio’s announcement, there’s some confusion on just who will be making Super Smash Bros. 4 for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Sakurai himself said in a message at a Nintendo Direct event in June that the new fighter will be a collaboration between Sora and Namco Bandai.
Myriad creators within Namaco Bandai’s studios will be working on the project including staff from the Ridge Racer series, the Tales RPG series, as well as the Soul Calibur and Tekken teams. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 producer Katsuhiro Harada said this week that Super Smash Bros. 4 is “a big priority” for Namco Bandai.
It’s naturally a big priority for Nintendo as well. Super Smash Bros. is one of the company’s most successful franchises, both critically and commercially, and this new entry bears the extra burden of being one of Nintendo’s first cross-platform titles. With Project Sora dissolved though, it appears that no one within Nintendo’s internal studios is working on the game at all, not even those teams like HAL Laboratory, Monolith, or the others that have assisted on past entries. With the exception of Sakurai, it looks like Super Smash Bros. 4 may be an entirely Namco game.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for clarification on who within the company is working on Super Smash Bros. 4. We will update this article when we hear back.