Even Sakurai had little hope for Sora in Smash until a chance encounter with Disney

Smash Ultimate
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Sora became the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter thanks in part to a chance run-in between the game's director and a Disney representative.

Masahiro Sakurai shared some of the long story behind bringing the Kingdom Hearts hero to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in his regular column for Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. While Famitsu isn't officially published in English, a pair of Smash Bros. fans and game developers composed of PushDustin and Kody NOKOLO teamed up to translate Sakurai's message on Twitter.

As Sakurai revealed in the initial announcement, Sora was the most-requested character on the official Smash Bros. fighter ballot. However, as a Disney and Square Enix series, getting the rights to Kingdom Hearts' original characters is (at least) doubly complicated as the typical crossover fighter. According to the Twitter translation, neither Sakurai nor the Smash Bros. business team held out much hope for it ever happening.

Then one day, "at a certain award venue," Sakurai happened to meet a Disney representative who said it would be great to get Sora into Smash Bros. Thus ensued a whole lot of business discussions, both with the external groups to secure the license for Sora and internally to pump up the second Fighters Pass that was originally planned to only include five new characters (which would have left Tekken's Kazuya as the original, final fighter).

The Smash Bros. team had to meet a lot of guidelines and expectations from Sora's stakeholders, starting with the "quite difficult" process of getting his model just right. Regardless, all the hurdles were finally cleared, and Sora proved to be such a popular addition that Smash Bros. players crashed the eShop trying to get him when he arrived earlier this week. If that isn't a simple and clean measure of success, we don't know what is.

See what we're looking forward to on Nintendo's console next with our guide to upcoming Switch games. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.