Sakurai retained complete control over the game, apparently even more than he had in the previous two HAL Laboratory-developed entries, and the staffers who worked on Brawl were specially hired for the project.
It is not entirely clear of Game Arts was involved at the corporate level, or if many of its employees were simply hired for the duration of Brawl, but based on the wording in the interview, the former possibility seems more likely.
Iwata, who once served as a programmer under Sakurai's design leadership at developer HAL Laboratory, spoke extremely highly of Sakurai's development intuition and explained how the unusual working arrangement for Brawl came to be.
"Masahiro Sakurai, of all the people that I know, you especially can readily form an image of how a game will look when finished. That's why I knew that you would be capable of putting together the ideas of the talented staff around you," said Iwata. "It was so unusual to recruit outside staff solely for the purpose of making such a large-scale game. Yet it was exactly this type of thinking on which I was betting our success."
Super Smash Bros. Brawl arrives in North America on Sunday, March 9.
I'm looking forward to the next updates on this interview... The first thing I do every weekday morning is check smash updates... =( Another month+ to go still...