Smash Bros. Developer Sakurai Stymied by Arm Injury

posted on 2013-02-28 22:00 EST
Repetitive Strain Injury affecting Wii U, 3DS Smash Bros. game development

Masahiro Sakurai, the head of the game developer Sora and the creator of Kirby, reported in Thursday's edition of Enterbrain's Famitsu magazine that a worsening Repetitive Strain Injury in his right arm is hindering his ability to work on two planned Smash Bros. releases.

Sakurai wrote in his regular Famitsu column "Sakurai Masahiro no Game ni Tsuite Omou Koto" last month that the pain was to "the point where it's starting to restrict my work and lifestyle.” At the time, Sakurai said he was trading in the keyboard and mouse, which were exacerbating the condition, for a trackball. He also said he'd start verbally dictating his e-mails to cut down on his keyboard usage.

However, in Sakurai's latest column, he stated his arm's condition has worsened:

I think the one word I've said the most this year, by far, is "Ow!" Not only am I getting calcific tendonitis, but they've also found what are apparently several ruptures in the muscles. My upper arm hurts, and there's this chronic dull pain in my elbow joint as well. On the lower arm, there's this feeling of fatigue around the flexor muscles that turns into pain when I use a keyboard or game controller with my fingers.

There's no instant cure for it, so all I can do is either block the pain with injections or put my arm in a cast to keep the ruptures from spreading. I was told that the important thing was to keep my arm as rested as possible. In order to get it fully healed, the only thing is to not use my right arm or hand. So not only am I using a trackball with my left hand; now I'm using it to eat, brush my teeth, wash my hair, and even drive as much as I'm able to.

Sakurai is leading development on Smash Bros. titles for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS consoles. Despite his injury, he is attempting to debug and play test the games with a joystick when possible.

"I've had to control two characters at once in a lot of game projects up to now," Sakurai wrote. "So as long as I keep it to simple moves, this works well enough. It doesn't go that easy with the Nintendo 3DS version, though, and the debug camera is pretty hard to control. Still, now I realize how important it is to have your health. I'm glad I'm still in good enough shape to work."

[Via Polygon (link 2), Siliconera (link 2)]

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