Super Smash Bros. has been a popular staple in the Nintendo lineup since the Nintendo 64 days, and the series has seen some changes over the years. Despite the core gameplay remaining the same, Smash leaned more towards the competitive fighting scene in Melee, and it was closer to a casual party game as Brawl.
In truth, the series has always fallen somewhere in between the two categories, giving it a unique feel and a range of appeal that includes gamers of all kinds. Series creator Masahiro Sakurai recently sat down for an interview with Japanese publication Nintendo Dream, and he discussed his goal of making
Smash Bros. both fun and accessible for veteran players and newcomers alike.
Nintendo Dream: How did you feel when looking back at changes in trend from Internet battles?
Sakurai: I saw some results, but for the in-depth research I left it to a monitoring team. Because what I need to focus on are the beginner and mid-level matches. My priority is to make an environment that’s safe to play on those levels. I could never catch up with the high-level matches (laughs), so I only took reference from the monitoring team’s findings.
If we only balanced with focusing on just 1-on-1 serious matches, we could have done the game without any bias. However, that would diminish the factor of a party game which is to be played by everyone gathering at a place.
Nintendo Dream: It’s hard to please both casuals and hardcore players at the same time, isn’t it.
Sakurai: I think this discussion is hard to be understood by general people. Especially for people who always play serious 1-on-1s, it’s like that’s their only world. There’s also the possibility communities in other places wouldn’t understand [them] either. If people keep narrowing it down like actual fighting games where they acknowledge only strong people, as time passes without people realizing it, there would be lesser and lesser, even no more people who play Super Smash Bros. for fun anymore.
Sakurai considers games like
Smash Bros. – games that can be played and enjoyed by everyone – to be precious. Aside from keeping the bar for entry low, this also means focusing on both the single-player and multiplayer experience.
Nintendo Dream: So that means a game element where beginners and advanced players can somewhat play together, right?
Sakurai: It doesn’t need strong gambling elements like Mahjong or trump cards, and we don’t give huge buffs to low-ranked people either. However, I think games like Super Smash Bros. which can be played by everyone by disregarding skill gaps are rare and precious. That’s why for me, I aim to make the play layer not narrow, so that four people can have fun brawling in an enjoyable room. We had a variety program in Japan where we had a comedian pair travel all around Japan and play games against random kids. It was fun to see that, including looking at the unique personalities of each players. I was really interested at observing how grade schoolers would play against each other.
Nintendo Dream: But it doesn’t mean you can dismiss people who probe into 1-on-1s either. It’s notable when you look at how online battles & tournaments are expanding. I think it should also fit what Sakurai-san always said about Super Smash Bros. as ‘play it the way you like’.
Sakurai: Strictly speaking, people who play online battles are really only a part of the whole [player base]. People who want to play solo will always play alone. However, there are also many audiences that don’t [play solo]. But as for myself, both [solo and multiplayer] are important and can’t be ignored.
Are you happy with the balance between competitive and causal that the
Super Smash Bros. achieves on 3DS and Wii U? Let us know what you think in the comments below.