This is a lithe, sharp, focused game that rewards skill, punishes stupidity and prizes high scores in a way that none of the publisher output has dared to for the past five years... Kid Icarus is a contender's game - and, just maybe, a sign that the publisher has flown a little too close to the mainstream sun in recent times, and is ready to tumble back into more complex waters.
Masahiro Sakurai's star was born when, at age 19, he created the character Kirby and soon thereafter directed his first title, Kirby's Dream Land. After working on several high-profile projects within the Kirby and Smash Bros. series, Sakurai resigned from his post at HAL Laboratory in 2003, citing his growing disillusion with the company's (and indeed the industry's) sequel madness:
It was tough for me to see that every time I made a new game, people automatically assumed that a sequel was coming. Even if it's a sequel, lots of people have to give their all to make a game, but some people think the sequel process happens naturally.
Sakurai would go on to found Sora in 2005, which was essentially an agency for Sakurai to be contracted out from. Through Sora, responsibility was given to Sakurai to develop Nintendo franchises, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Later Project Sora was formed as a development studio, who created Kid Icarus: Uprising and closed after in June 2012. During development of Brawl, Sakurai personally and frequently blogged at SmashBros.com, revealing new characters, stages, music, and secrets.