Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s creator and game director has given an update on Joker from Persona 5, and said the character isn’t in a playable state yet, but added that development is “progressing soundly.”
Masahiro Sakurai shared a column in the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu and discussed a variety of topics such as the reveal of the new DLC character and Sakurai’s personal well-being after finally releasing the new Smash Bros. game. Nintendo Everything provided a translation of Sakurai's column and confirmed that the first of the new DLC characters isn’t playable just yet. He also alluded to his past columns and said he has “a lot of respect” for Persona 5.
“Early on in release day, we revealed that Persona 5’s protagonist, Joker, is going to join Ultimate’s roster as another fighter,” Sakurai said. “Joker is the first of Ultimate’s DLC characters, so the character isn’t at a stage in development where he’s playable yet. That being said, development has been progressing soundly. As readers familiar with my columns may already know, I personally have a lot of respect for P5. I really think that working on this character has been an endless source of motivation for me.”
As for the character’s abilities, Sakurai isn’t revealing those details yet. He said there would be another time where he could return to talk about the Persona 5 fighter and how Joker will fit into Ultimate, but it’s a secret for now.
Joker was revealed to be Ultimate’s first DLC fighter during The Game Awards, a surprise announcement that first made it look like a new Persona game or port might be happening before the Smash Bros. envelope revealed what was happening. Sakurai said he was approached by Nintendo and was asked to reveal the character at the show, but since the fighter wasn’t even in development yet, there was no gameplay to be seen. He added that he was able to write lines for Joker to make it seem like the character was infiltrating the venue to “steal” the invitation to Ultimate and said he recorded the lines with Joker’s voice actor.
Regarding future DLC fighter announcements, Sakurai said he isn’t sure if more reveal movies will happen, but he’s open to it.
“I’m not sure about whether or not we’ll do reveal movies for the other DLC fighters, but I’d like to do what I can (within the realm of possibility) to make sure you all enjoy them,” Sakurai said.
The full translation of Sakurai’s comments on Joker can be seen on Nintendo Everything.