Masahiro Sakurai (Japanese: 桜井政博, Sakurai Masahiro) (born on August 3, 1970 in Tokyo, Japan) is a game concept designer, the creative force behind both the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series on Nintendo platforms.
Sakurai first created Kirby at the age of 19; and soon after created Kirby's Dream Land. Later, on August 5, 2003, Sakurai resigned from his position at HAL Laboratory. His resignation came just days after an interview where he openly criticized Nintendo for circumstances surrounding the development of the GameCube racing game, Kirby Air Ride, the last Kirby title he would develop. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror would be the final game in the Kirby series that he would have any credited involvement with. This lead many to believe that the Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series would end, though he has publicly stated that he wishes HAL to continue working on the Kirby series. He is still working on the Super Smash Bros. series to date.
It is known that Masahiro Sakurai has no resentment towards his past at HAL Laboratory, or his old characters. To this day, Sakurai's signature is a Kirby face.
Masahiro Sakurai is currently living in an apartment in Tokyo, close to the studio in which Super Smash Bros. Brawl was developed. Sakurai's apartment is home to a number of pet cats as well, whom he is fond of. He is currently president of Project Sora, a Japanese video game developer 72% owned by Nintendo and 28% owned by Sora Ltd. He is also the author of a weekly column for Famitsu magazine.
Masahiro Sakurai's favorite Copy Ability is said to be Beam, although he has stated in a Twitter post more recently that his favorite abilities in Kirby Super Star are "hand-to-hand" abilities like Fighter and Suplex.
List of games designed by Masahiro Sakurai
- 1992 - Kirby's Dream Land
- 1993 - Kirby's Adventure
- 1996 - Kirby Super Star
- 1999 - Super Smash Bros.
- 2001 - Super Smash Bros. Melee
- 2002 - Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
- 2003 - Kirby Air Ride
- 2004 - Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (Special Advisor)
- 2005 - Kouchuu Ouja: MushiKing -- Greatest Champion e no Michi
- 2005 - Meteos
- 2008 - Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- 2012 - Kid Icarus: Uprising
- 2014 - Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- 2018 - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate