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Smash Bros. creator shows off never-before-seen prototype footage of the series’ origins

Before Smash Bros., there was “Dragon King”

Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai released a new behind-the-scenes video on his YouTube channel on Thursday, revealing never-before-seen footage of an early prototype for the game and breaking down the origins behind Nintendo’s hit free-for-all fighting series.

The prototype, dubbed “Dragon King: The Fighting Game,” includes nearly all the fundamental elements that would later be seen in Super Smash Bros. The footage shows four combatants in multi-colored jumpsuits spawning atop a series of floating platforms and fighting with a static image of a mountain in the background, using staple moves such as smash attacks, midair jumps, shields, dashes, and five-directional aerial attacks.

The prototype was programmed by Satoru Iwata — former Nintendo CEO and one of the co-creator of Kirby — alongside another prototype: a robot adventure game where players hacked cameras in order to progress through levels. Following the cancellation of several projects at the time, including the original Nintendo 64 version of Mother 3, Sakurai decided that the four-player fighting game would take the least amount of time between the two prototypes to develop and moved forward with development. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The video can be viewed above or on Sakurai’s YouTube channel, where he posts weekly videos breaking down the fundamentals of game design as well as his own storied career as a game designer.

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