Super Smash Bros. Creator Discusses Online Play Habits

By Ishaan . March 13, 2013 . 10:00am

A Super Smash Bros. player wrote in to series creator, Masahiro Sakurai, lamenting the tendency of online players to play the game defensively, Sakurai reports via his regular column in Famitsu magazine.


“What I found was that nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive,” the player in question wrote, according to a Polygon translation.


“There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them ‘This isn’t how you do Smash Bros.!’ As the producer, what do you think of fights like this?”


Sakurai took the time to respond via his column, and explained that the point of Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s “carefree brawling” concept was to allow people to choose their approach to the game.


That said, Sakurai conceded: “I’d like people to take some freer approaches with their gameplay, but the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun. That’s why I’ll probably be thinking of a way to deal with that in the next game. We’ve learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released, after all, so a lot more is possible.”


Sakurai is currently dealing with a repetitive strain injury to his right arm. Despite this, development on the next Super Smash Bros. games is still progressing, although it’s putting more of a strain on Sakurai’s schedule. The new Super Smash Bros. games are being developed for 3DS and Wii U in partnership with Namco Bandai.


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  • SirRichard

    So how many fires did he start with this?

    • Sakurazaki

      A little one right here *points to heart*

    • I just shake my head sadly when I see people screaming for them to turn Smash into some kind of competitive EVO tournament fighter.

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        Smash bros is competitive like Mario kart lol some people lost friend ship over them

        • Leon_Tekashi

          Which is really sad. They’re just games to enjoy. I like playing competitively most of the time and sometimes, I play casually, but really? Bashing? That’s just low. Smash is meant for everyone.

          • ShawnOtakuSomething

            Everyone start casuallys, but end up playing it like Street Fighter. Your right Its for everyone, Lets just enjoy it people!

      • which there are plenty of; if you want that, people can go play those games, leave the smash series alone i say ^ ^

      • HappyOnion

        it doesnt have to be. it can be both competitive AND fun. why kill either way of seeying the game?

        • Because one always comes at the compromise of the other. It’s a question of vision and what your focus is. Do I love Street Fighter IV? Yes. Do I want every game to be like it? No, not at all. It’s not that SFIV isn’t fun, it’s that it’s a different kind of fun than Smash.

          • HappyOnion

            there is no compromise. you can play it however you want. you dont have to go to tournaments to play versus mode or story mode. its a choice through and through. smash is lauded to me as an amazing game BECAUSE it can be made to be whatever kind of fun you want it to be. SFIV and smash are different even at a competitive level, even if fg fundamentals are present. me and my buds, as well as others, can play it competitively and just as quickly switch to play it as a party game.not many games can do that EDIT: (without sacrificing depth for either spectrum.)

          • Sakurazaki

            “smash is lauded to me as an amazing game BECAUSE it can be made to be whatever kind of fun you want it to be… me and my buds, as well as others, can play it competitively and just as quickly switch to play it as a party game.not many games can do that”

            This, so much. I played Melee competitively for a majority of my exposure to Smash, but when I play with my friends, especially in Brawl (which I don’t play competitively), I turn all the stuff on, play custom stages, story mode, etc. We have a great time!

            (I do still end up beating them almost 90% of the time, though, hehe.)

            Its a matter of intention vs. what actually happens.

          • Hurt

            Except that’s entirely wrong, Melee itself is proof of that.

            I went to two tournaments for Melee and got 2nd place in the first and 4th in the second without using ANY of the advanced moves while other players were.

            I’m inclined to believe that most who argue against it are completely ignorant and have never even tried it for themselves, have you?

            Melee delivered on both the fun aspect and the competitive aspect for all players, it was easily accessible and so long as the competitive players weren’t major douchebags they could easily have fun with even first time players. It’s a switch, you either use the techniques or you don’t and even if you do someone who’s played for a while even without knowing the competitive moves can easily still win and have fun.

            Your whole argument is based around a fallacy, Melee wasn’t like SFIV and there’s many more ways of handling things than binary limits- that’s what creativity is FOR.
            Personally I don’t even care about the competitive things- I like Melee better because it’s faster and less floaty than Brawl; even my little brother, who played Brawl before and for much longer than he’s played Melee, likes Melee more and only really plays it now -but there really isn’t a reason to take it out, especially when that aspect makes the game more fun for certain people.

          • Edzo

            “and so long as the competitive players weren’t major douchebags they could easily have fun with even first time players.” i thought the definition of competitive player was douchebag

          • KingRuff

            Your comment basically just said that a game has to be like Street Fighter to be both fun and competitive. I completely disagree with that. Maybe for you Smash and SFIV are different kinds of fun, but whenever I’m playing either game with my friends I find no difference in the type of fun we’re having. That feeling of hitting off a Metsu Shoryuken with Ryu is just as satisfying as getting that final kill with Mario’s Super Jump Punch.

            You make it sound like Smash is just childish fun and nobody should ever take it seriously. As much as some people like to believe it is, Smash is not just some wanna be fighter that you have to be a child to enjoy. If you can’t be competitive and have fun at the same time, you need new friends. That’s got nothing to do with the game.

          • leeorv

            @Ishaan , I usually value your opinion quite highly and appreciate your writing skills, but this is just wrong.

            A game’s vision doesn’t have to be focused around “casual fun” to be fun for casual players, if this was the case, most people would hate Tekken, Soul Calibur, Street Fighter and many other game series.

            The only thing wrong with the situation that the reader described to sakurai is that he had no option of differentiating between competetive and non-competetive online modes. if you go into a random room of the game (which, sadly in smash, is the only option you have) you can’t expect the room to follow your rules, that’s just the nature of things.

            if the game had a better online system, in which one could choose whether he wants to play with items or without and the game would search for game rooms fitting that Criteria, the player would have had a lot more fun.

            Changing the nature of the gameplay, or forcing everyone to play with items, is just plain wrong, and completely ruins an aspect of the game that is responsible for much of its longevity and fame.

      • Asura

        Smash already WAS a competitive EVO tournament fighter Ishaan.

        And don’t you forget that!

        • I believe he’s talking about Nintendo’s/Sakurai’s intentions to remain casual, not how a fraction of the fanbase turned it into a competitive fighter regardless.

    • I think the issues he’s trying to address aren’t something he can necessarily control as a designer without impacting the freedom people have to make their own decisions on how they should play.

  • Marcelo Gouvea

    W-What? B-But… No items… f-fox only…. final destination… t-that’s the rules by which I live my life! D=

    • Sakurai: Nope! You play by MY rules now! Blue Shells, Viridi Only, Mario Bros Stage!

      • ShawnOtakuSomething


    • Edzo

      i thought of that video almost immediately haha

  • kupomogli

    Turtling is a bi***es style in fighting games, just as camping is in FPS and TPS. Although Super Smash Bros is probably best when it comes to dealing with people of that play style, degenerating, regenerating, and breakable guard plus grabs.

    • gold163

      Every game needs negative penalty… turtle and you get your stuff taken away.

      • MC2

        And then all zoning characters will get shut down. I’m glad you don’t design fighting games.

        • Smash Bros. isn’t a fighting game, it’s a party game. That’s always been their take on it. They don’t want it to be a fighter in the strict sense of the word.

          • RPGRocker

            The creators might not have wanted it to become a fighting game… but that’s how it turned out. Melee and Brawl tournaments have drawn huge crowds and brought many new fans for the series. Even people who considered them too “kiddy” were drawn to the competitive gameplay of these games.

            Everyone enjoys the games in their own way. I don’t see why an entire fanbase should be alienated just because they were meant to be party games…

          • Nobody’s being alienated. Smash Bros. Brawl has sold over 10 million copies. How many of those players, realistically, do you think are hardcore fighting game fans that want the game to be more competitive and high-level focused like Melee? 5,000? 10,000? That’s a tiny, tiny, tiny minority.

          • neo_firenze

            Melee sold well too and everyone sees it as one of the defining releases of the Gamecube. Not only is it wildly popular among the casual “fun” players, but it’s more “hardcore-friendly”. So yeah, they can please both.

            I personally don’t care about Smash as a tournament fighter, and I completely agree that the number of people who do is small in comparison to the casual Nintendo fan who picks the game up. But, there are clearly some people out there who do care, as evidenced by Smash games winning popular vote slots in major tournaments like Evo over more “hardcore” games. For instance, Melee supporters donating nearly $100,000 in the Evo 2013 donation drive for a spot in the tournament. And that’s just people who cared enough to donate MONEY to say they wanted to see the game in the tournament, surely there are other like-minded people who didn’t donate. I wouldn’t dismiss these people as an insignificant slice of the whole community.

          • Guest

            ^^I completely agree.

            Both groups can be pleased. You can’t say “well, Smash was never a fighting game, so tough luck” to the people who dedicated hours and hours to practising and studying these games competitively. On the other hand, the competitive folks shouldn’t be screaming their heads off when developers try to make these games more accessible… so both sides can be at fault.

        • gold163

          Yeah, all those zoning characters like venom, testament, zappa, and eddie will be completely shut down. That’s not how negative penalty works. Turtling is not zoning. Zoning is about space control. Do you even know what you’re talking about or are you one of those people who like to pretend in order to act condescending?

        • you’re playing the wrong game buddy

    • endril

      So if I play a character who has advantage at range (Guile, Falco) I shouldn’t use that advantage or else I’m a bi***? Or maybe you think there should only be rushdown characters?

    • Ni

      Because people who play as zoning characters or characters that have low health and want to play in defensive way in fighters are all bitches right?

  • gold163

    A lot of people like to bash on Sakurai for certain decisions made in Brawl meant specifically to drive off certain competitive mindsets (like tripping, which EVERYBODY hated), and this is something that I can’t really understand… the guy is just trying to make the game fun. He’s trying to push the games towards being something that anybody can enjoy in as freeform a way as possible, which wouldn’t work if the game was designed more towards particular styles of gameplay. Not all of the decisions made can be considered “agreeable” by some players, but if the designers notice a disproportionate amount of high-level players using unintended gameplay effects to gain a (subjectively) unfair advantage over players who don’t even know (and haven’t been given ANY indication by the game) that these mechanics exist, it shouldn’t be taboo for the designers to experiment with or remove these mechanics in the next iteration within the context that the game is supposed to be accessible and fun for everyone.

    • Norman Fong Ochoa

      I agree with you… fandom is fan-dumb, because they don’t have the abilities to create a game with passion or at least be professional when making reviews. This is why I don’t listen to my fellow fans about this game… because they can’t appreciate that “evolve, or bust”.

    • I didn’t hate tripping. Rarely ever noticed it.

      • gold163

        The people who noticed tripping the most where people looking for reasons to hate a game that wasn’t melee.

        • HappyOnion

          no. the ones who noticed it the most were the ones who couldnt make sense of a mechanic that doesnt make any sense. how is tripping, in any sense ,fun?

          • Sakurazaki

            Agreed. Even at a casual standpoint, (at least, my friends’ standpoint), they start cursing to high heaven when they lose because of getting charge Smashed after tripping.

            To each his own, though.

          • Brandon Dutko

            It’s just a random element. Attacking and having a bomb spawn in front of you isn’t fun either.

            Tripping happens because tripping happens. Smash Bros. is meant to be chaotic. It sucks when it happens, but it’s part of what makes SSB stand out. If it honestly bothers you, you are annoyed too much by something that only matters in actual competition.

        • Guest

          That’s a pathetic, biased sweeping generalization.
          I’m sure you’re just so happy with yourself.
          At least you’re a good reminder as to why I don’t generally read comment sections.

    • Well said, the whole purpose is to have fun but when people start taking it more seriously like with any other fighting game, all starts going to hell.

    • Armane

      If the whole purpose is fun, why spoil the fun of a certain segment of fans? Why introduce mechanics that everyone hates (tripping)? How does this make the game any more accessible or fun?

      • gold163

        Because maybe Sakurai didn’t know that everybody would hate tripping. I can only assume that the goal with this particular mechanic was a (misguided) attempt to level the playing field. Doing so would hypothetically create an environment where high and low level play wasn’t as segregated. It’s easy for theorists and anti-fans to decry it in retrospect but if the goal is to have a game that is freeform then the notion that obscure mechanics need to define high level play might be seen as undesirable by the designers and I think that’s understandable.

        What I dislike the most about this is that high level players take this as some sort of personal attack on their preferred playstyle, which is ridiculously petty. Contrary to popular belief they did not introduce tripping specifically to troll melee players.

        • Armane

          That’s all very well if you’re talking about wave dashing. But there was really no reason to add tripping. The high level players will still win even with the hindrance of tripping, they can adapt. It is the low/mid level players who are hurt most by tripping in my opinion.

          So perhaps it was merely a misguided attempt at levelling the playing field. But trying to level the playing field or force players to change their style is going to annoy people.

          Imagine a Kirby game where every so often you fell over; would that make it more fun? Of course not, so why would Sakurai think any differently about SSB?

      • Kaihedgie

        I don’t hate trippin’ so I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about :V

        • Armane

          I was paraphrasing gold163.

      • Brandon Dutko

        How did Sakurai know people would hate tripping before Brawl came out?

        It was added to be quirky and part of the charm of SSB being chaotic nonsense. He figured people would think it was funny since it doesn’t make sense.

        • Armane

          Sakurai added tripping on purpose, and, as he’s quoted as saying in this very article, he adds stuff to influence people’s fighting style. If you try and force people to play the game in a way counter to their own play style, you’re going to annoy people. So I think he knew people would hate tripping.

    • Sergio Briceño

      The good thing about Smash is that it rewards the intelligent gamer over the cautious one. There is always a way to counter anything, at least for most characters.

      Yes, it is very frustrating when a player relies on the same tactic or exploit over and over again, but if it isn’t 2 vs 1 or an item powered enemy, chances are you can still pull it off, if you keep calm and be clever.

      But I agree with you, not always am I able to keep my cool against such gamers. I don’t think tripping should be taken out though, but I think there are other ways to punish catious players, like adding 5%-20% damage to the next hit depending on how much tripping the player used or 10% damage +1% for each second a player remains defensive starting at 10 seconds with a maximum of 20, etc.

      Slight changes like that pass easily without being noticed by most gamers, but they really affect competitive games and it’s competitive gamers that rely on the same tactics and exploits the most.

      So there, I don’t think Sakurai should remove tripping, I like it and I think there are alternatives to removing it. :D

    • this game was NEVER meant to be played like every other “competitive” fighter.

      It was supposed to be fun, not the way it is now. There’s actually tournaments of this crap at the conventions i go to near the city i live in. I laugh every time i see it because of how stupid the concept is, a ‘brawler’ type of game into a competitive fighter O_o. ALso i know the whole No items FD, fox only joke is pretty common nowadays but really now, the next game should have ‘forced’ items in it. Im tired of playing this game and having the one dude complain about ‘cheap wins’ via items. Hell if you wanna play a game that requires more tactics then duh, go play an actual fighter, and leave the fun brawling to us >:)

      As for the next game, leave in tripping, add “forced items” (cant toggle off, but CAN reduce spawn rate only) and add the whole “if you stay away from your opponent for a while, you get stats reduced” (A lot of fighters are adding this now, P4 Arena being the freshest one in my mind atm)

      Hell if people wanna play this like a fighting game, then add these features as well durrr…

      Oh yeah, heres one just to get more downvotes, add forced random stage select after 3-5 wins, enough of this final destination only crap. We gotta get past this phase people, it’s lingered long enough ;/

      • Locklear93

        Hell, I don’t even like Smash Brothers and I agree with you. I get serious flak for not wanting it in fighting game competitions, because I feel like it plays better as a silly, fun game than a serious, competitive one.

  • I get what Sakurai’s saying here, but competitive play is a fighting style that some people like too. Surely there’s a way to satisfy both the competitive and casual players? Games like Melee and Marvel Vs. Capcom have done a pretty good job of it.

    • Brandon Dutko

      The problem is that SSB was never really meant to be a ‘fighting’ game despite parading as one. At its core, it is a party game. It is meant to be played with 4 people, items on, and crazy things happening all over, which is why stages have hazards and boxes can explode.

      People play it competitively, and try to find ways to make it fit that kind of gameplay by turning off items and limiting stages, but it’s not what kind of game it is.

      Just because people turn it into a “real fighting game” doesn’t mean they should be listened to. It’s a party game first and foremost, so it should always prioritize that. Competitive fighting should always be secondary in SSB.

  • MC2

    Ugh fuck off Sakurai, if people want to reduce the BS random factor in their own personal games they should be allowed to considering they shelled out the money for it. It comforts me to know that as long as he keeps crapping up his games people are just gonna hack them into quality games anyway. God bless the internet.

    • There’s no need to insult people. Points can be made without having to resort to that level. Don’t do it again, please.

      • Sergio Briceño

        I agree with you because you sound (read?) reasonable, smart and kind. Then I look at your profile picture and I think you are kind, smart and reasonable.

    • Kaihedgie

      Maybe you shouldn’t be playing Smash in the first place

  • “What I found was that nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive,”

    But sonic never waits D= he does not have a projectile!He also gets mad at me if i wait too long, while flipping his finger at me.

  • Raltrios

    As long as he takes it easy. If he busts that hand, it’s all over. And we still expect great things from him.

  • J_Joestar

    Never really played Smash online, is it like multiple rooms you join? or just random matches or something?
    I don’t know if you can every truly balance competitive and casual, but how about making it easier for the two groups to play separately? So like the competitives can have their all Fox/no items/final destination style while the casuals can have their use who you want/random map/all items style.

    • Norman Fong Ochoa

      There was only a 2-minute score battle… and if someone had a slower connection than the others, the game gets very ralentized.
      But take into account that a numbre of games in Wii have online competition, but I guess you already know it.

      • J_Joestar

        honestly, the only thing i ever took the Wii online for was MHtri, Only ever localmultiplay’d Smash, M-Kart, etc…

        • Norman Fong Ochoa

          I won’t judge you by that…

      • Ha, what exactly did you mean by ralentized? I’m laughing because I actually thought it was a real word for a second, not making fun of you.

        • Norman Fong Ochoa

          Oh… I meant “slower paced”.
          Thanks for the correction.

  • thaKingRocka

    Hmm, change the game to change the players? I like it.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething Ahemm anyway, What if they added an online mode what was for the competitive players and one for Casual players? That would make everyone happy

    • I really like this idea! Keep the traditional mechanics in play for “original” mode and have a separate “tournament” mode to weed out bad/unbalanced mechanics and design.

      While this is exactly what people did with Melee through the game’s advanced options, I feel there would be a lot less segregation, opposition, and vitriol in the community if Nintendo officially sponsored two game modes: one for people who want to have “fun” with crazy flair, and another for people who want to have “fun” while developing their skills within a more balanced, less random, game.


      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        Since Namco Bandai is helping, a mode like that would work big time

      • Brandon Dutko

        Yeah, Tournament Mode should actually hold weight as being such.

        With Brawl, Sakurai claimed that that mode was for the “fighting game fans”, but it was still basically just normal Brawl.

        Considering the fact that Subspace Emmisary actually had different physics and characters were balanced differently to work in that sort of gameplay, there’s no reason they can’t do the same with a Tournament Mode.

        I’d never play it, but I wouldn’t complain about its existence. If only to shut people up.

  • zindkeeper

    Why do people (lol, people) take this game so seriously online? No one knows how to have actual fun anymore.

  • AuraGuyChris

    “There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them ‘This isn’t how you do Smash Bros.!’”
    I got a good laugh out of this. I really support his thought process, though.

  • sd28

    i honestly hope he ignore the whiners on-line and just focuses on making a good game

  • Leon_Tekashi

    You know, a mode for casuals and a mode for competitive people isn’t a bad idea. That way, everyone is happy and there won’t be a lot of bashing and arguments.

  • HappyOnion

    the thing i loved about smash the most is that i could play it however i wanted. if i wanted chaotic, crazy fun, i had items and modifiers and all that crazy jazz! if i wanted a more cerebral, deep experience, i could turn items off and enjoy the tight, surprisingly fundamentally sound,fighting game makes me sad that the BOTH sides of the spectrum actively hunt each other down and put each others way of playing the game down and raise theirs up as the ultimate way to to enjoy the game. the beauty of Nintendo games is being able to play them however you want,being ignorant over one way over the other makes just as bad :/

  • JustThisOne

    Ah well, can’t blame people for wanting to play hardcore. There are people who play with items and things, though!

  • That comment from Sakurai makes me really sad; its basically unconscious admittance to the fact he does not understand how the design decisions, that created Brawl, created the favored play-styles that he negatively observes. He made that happen, not the players.

    It’s not the competitive fighting game or its players that encourage “boring” play; players will always seek to abuse smart and effective play no matter what the game is.

    With the removal of legitimate combos in Brawl and the introduction of spammy long range moves to nearly every character in the game, the community’s play-style evolved to suit the bad game design.

    If you look at Melee, the gameplay was very offense oriented and rewarded players HEAVILY for attacking and mastering combos. Captain Falcon in Melee was one of the best characters in the game; he worked with the game’s offense oriented design. Captain Falcon in Brawl was one of the worst characters in the game; he didn’t work with the game’s defense oriented design (this is of course not mentioning his hit-box and frame nerfs, but that’s another story).

    With the removal of legitimate combos, it became VERY rewarding to sit back and punish attempts at offense. Going on the offense in Brawl puts you at extreme risk to sustained spammable moves and projectiles, the most effective source of damage. To compound the problem, there was a dramatic rise in characters who had abusable/spammable moves compared to Melee.

    Characters like Meta-Knight could nearly mash buttons and be effective; the hit-boxes on his moves allowed him to attack while simultaneously protecting himself. Diddy Kong was given every single tool he needed to annoy the absolute **** out his opponents. His banana setups and projectiles made it extremely difficult and not fun to break his defensive wall of spammable garbage.

    That is not to say Melee didn’t have similar problems. Falco’s laser was notoriously annoying and effective, but that was one of the few projectiles in the game that mattered and forced people to develop strategies against it. The thing is, in Melee, there was a counter-balance to that play-style. When you finally were able to circumvent spamming and close in on your opponent, you were rewarded with significantly higher damage that could outright kill your opponent, so long as you had the skill to do so.

    That’s the real problem. The risk versus reward in Brawl is designed poorly, and for Sakurai to not understand why people play his game stupid is upsetting. It’s because he designed a stupid game.

    • It’s because he designed a stupid game.

      Provided we interpret “stupid” in the right way, I think he understands this and has no issues with it. He’s been very vocal about his dislike for Melee, concedes that the hardcore minority liked it more, but added that he isn’t interested in turning Smash Bros. into a hardcore fighter.

      • So are you somehow with Sakurai that Melee is a worse game than Brawl?

        You don’t acknowledge the imbalance of risk versus reward, which should be an integral concept when developing a game. A game can still be “fun” and maintain some inherent sense of logic and reproducible outcomes that a player can master. Whether a game is intended to be “competitive” or not it doesn’t matter. There will always be a height of mastery and skill to the game. To purposefully punish players for attempting to learn the game is silly.

        Because of the lack of combos in Brawl and increase in random elements that affect victory, the competent player is punished for trying. However, players devised solutions on how to consistently win, increase someone’s % with long range spam until you can score a fatal hit.

        For many, mastering a game to win is fun. Not the winning, but the excitement of overcoming challenges in order to win. Brawl purposefully introduces obstacles that defeat players who try and rush down, players found out how to beat that poorly designed system and now what is left is an unfun mess in order to achieve victory.

        The best games are ones that allow you to achieve victory through mastery, while still maintaining that tenuous element that gamers seek, FUN.

        • JustThisOne

          Everything you’re saying is correct, but I can’t help but feel that this really only affects the hardcore fight-gamer. I feel like the reason there are long range spam tactics is to give newbie players a shot at survival against the veterans that don’t have to rely on those tactics anymore. You’re right that it probably should have used more balancing, as people didn’t seem to move on from easy win tactics.

          In my opinion, most casual players avoid online play anyway, so Sakurai probably should sit in on some local newbie matches and observe those if he wants to see some all item madness. :>

          • Fair enough! I agree that it only affects the hardcore fighter.

            The primary reason I’m annoyed, and the reason of many, is that everyone had a perfectly fine game like Melee. Sakurai then says, “NO. COMPETITIVE GAMERS ARE NOT INVITED,” and then takes a metaphorical dump on us by removing combos, injecting more spam, and introducing tripping. The tripping thing was the most obvious slap to the face of competitive gamers, but you can circumvent that by simply short hopping everywhere so it’s not THAT big of a deal, but it certainly is limiting.

            I’ve just never seen a developer purposefully cut off part of its audience. I truly believe that this was done out of pure laziness and they made it their raison d’etre. “Smash Bros is only for casual gamers! Everyone can rejoice now! You don’t have to learn how to play to win!” Balanced games are hard to develop. Capcom still can’t make a balanced game without releasing 3 updates… lol…

            What’s funny is I don’t think the game even works on a casual level. Sonic fans are largely disappointed because Sonic is SO BAD in Brawl that it’s hard to win outside of a lucky Final Smash. You don’t need to be a pro gamer to understand that a terrible representation of your character is no fun to play as.

            If Melee was the last game of the series, everyone would still be happy. If Melee didn’t exist and Smash Brothers was always a casual spam fest then believe me these discussions wouldn’t exist.

          • I feel like the problem here is that people perceive that the actions of others somehow makes their style of play non-existent or trivialized, and Sakurai has always struck me as a designer who’s going out of his way to create this very rigid, uninviting structure for all styles of play as he goes along. I think saying “This game is only for this type of player”, hardcore/skilled or casual, is extremely uninviting and insulting. I think ALL STYLES should be able to exist, and moreover that the reasons and approaches people have for playing just aren’t something you can always influence without it having an extremely negative impact on the game you produce.

        • Yes, I fully agree with Sakurai. Brawl had more content, more fan-service, better music and prettier graphics than Melee did. And no, I don’t care about balance or Meta Knight being unbalanced or any of that. It’s a party game. I play it with friends that don’t take videogames overly seriously. That’s the whole point of the game.

          I get that some people want to play Smash Bros. as a fighter, but Nintendo have never wanted that. Until they show signs of wanting to go that route themselves, treating it as such is pointless because the game will never be designed to cater to those instincts.

          Edit: (adding a bit more) It’s not that I don’t see things from your perspective. I abhor Mario Kart for the same reasons that hardcore fighting game fans dislike Brawl. I’m a huge fan of Wipeout and MotorStorm, and I think Mario Kart is a horribly unbalanced and uninteresting mess. But hey, that’s what Mario Kart players want from it, and it keeps selling, so it isn’t my place to ask them to cater to my needs. I already have other games that do that.

    • Norman Fong Ochoa

      You do realize that it could be even way worse it he lanuched the games one per year.
      Brawl started development in 2005 and released in 2008, so that’s not for complaining about somethig we don’t like and throwing each single day to the litter. Same goes for this new game: if people begin complaining about a single flaw, that would be unfair.

  • shion16

    1 vs 1 ,on final Destination, with no items IS NOT FUN!!

  • I know people enjoy tourney rules so the option is fair.
    I personally rather play with items and play on gimmick stages with gimmick characters, how I always enjoyed it. Never took advantage of some of the “advance techniques” but it would be nice to have the dev explain or elaborate on the features for the sake of it.

    • HappyOnion

      same. fighters in general are one of the last genres to explain themselves clearly.

  • TheTimelyHoward

    It should come as no surprise at all to Sakurai that people tend to play Brawl defensively. Even if you are part of the camp that considers Smash a “party game”, you cannot deny that when people play a game, they play it wanting to win. Brawl is a game which, unlike Smash 64 and Melee, provides the player with far more defensive tools than it does offensive ones. Unlimited air-dodges, characters automatically snapping to ledges (making edge-guarding your opponent’s recovery far more risk than it’s worth), and mid-air moves being impotent to the point where having one blocked means you can be punished with a throw almost 100% of the time are but a few examples of how the entire game’s design was made to favor defensive play.

    This isn’t a question of what stage they’re playing on or whether they use items or not. If you play Brawl wanting to win, you play it defensively because there simply is no other winning strategy. If Sakurai wants to change this, he needs to make a game that rewards players for being offensive, like Smash 64 and Melee did. A game can be offense-oriented and still be accessible to a casual audience– the genius of Smash 64 and Melee was that they were loads of fun for everybody! They had all the frantic fun of a Smash Bros. game combined with further layers of depth and complexity there for the people who wanted to put more time into exploring them. Brawl has neither of those things– it is a slow, campy game that is, in terms of gameplay mechanics, the most shallow game in the series by several orders of magnitude.

    Sakurai is an intelligent man, however, so I’m willing to believe that he will be able to make a game that is superior to Brawl this time around even if it doesn’t match up to Melee, which he has himself admitted (in an interview with 1UP) is the most polished game in the Smash Bros. series.

    • Norman Fong Ochoa

      Myabe he thought that if the game were faster, there would be more cheaters…

  • GuyAlpha

    Is he going to force items online then? That’s not fun for the people who don’t like items. He could force people to play a certain way, but that’s not fun either. Also, Brawl’s online had WAY more problems than the way people played it. I thought he was going to talk about how “underwater” the gameplay was while online. In addition to that, it used random match making which is awful. About the whole ‘people playing my game differently than I want them too’ thing, people are going to do whatever they want anyway. He talks about “freer approaches to gameplay” but he seeks to take that away with whatever scheme he has up his sleeve. What if I sat down in front of him, started playing Melee, set the items to low, and only selected Pokeballs, is he going to drive to Walmart, buy a basket full of random items, and throw them at me while I’m trying to play? I think he just might.

    • Bah, if anything, only containers and food items should be acceptable by all. He should put a second option for the containers to not be explosive at times, as well as which types of containers need to pop up in a stage.

  • Hinataharem

    Yay! I’m all for more variety. As a casual player, I like many things to pick from and do. Just don’t throw in things that add nothing to gameplay, like tripping

  • Ben Sylvia

    Haha I always fight like a demon, except against my buddy, he hates my defensive Lucario playstyle.
    Especially when I overpower him and get Spear Pillar.

    Best. Replay. EVER.

  • $29082171

    Uh, why is everyone saying that Sakurai is going to force items or that he dislikes competitive gameplay?

    Did you not read the letter? It said how players were ”waiting for the opponent to attack rather than going on the offensive”.

    • GuyAlpha

      People are going to play however they want anyway. Unless Sakurai inserts some kick timer for how long the player stands still, I don’t see how he can change that.

      • Ben Sylvia

        Could have something like the Chaos rule set in Dissidia Final Fantasy. If one player spends to much time not attacking, they get frozen in place for several moments.

      • Brandon Dutko

        He just said he wants to discourage that kind of gameplay, which can easily be done, just like how Pokemon Trainer gets penalized if you play one Pokemon for too long instead of switching it up.

    • Brandon Dutko

      Because the letter ALSO says “There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them ‘This isn’t how you do Smash Bros.!’ As the producer, what do you think of fights like this?”

      And he said “the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun”.

      So he’s either saying “defensive gameplay” is not fun (which is a part of competitive gameplay), “no items” or both.

  • Göran Isacson

    In this thread: People who take a party game about mascots walloping each other far too seriously for their own good.

    Jokes aside, this is a pretty interesting situation. Sabotaging someones fun by designing a game that goes against that kind of fun isn’t what I’d call good PR, and the idea that you could create some kind of split mode between “fun” players and “serious” players is a sound one in theory. It sounds like it would make everyone happy and give everyone what they want… but I do wonder if that is in fact the case. For if the developers don’t want a balanced game, but one which is centered on chaos, luck and more silliness than skill then that’s something they’ll have to code into the very marrow of the gamem and I don’t know if you CAN have a game that is fun for both these audiences- cater to one, or end up catering to none. And if Nintendo doesn’t want a tournament game… is that such a bad thing? Is it really that bad to have just ONE game that isn’t about counting frames and learning combos?

    On the other hand, I can see where the appeal lies in turning Smash Bros into that type of game and why it’s something that gets peoples blood boiling. So many fans of Nintendo are growing up and clamoring for more advanced fare with the characters they love, and when Nintendo gave them Melee which is apparently this unexpectedly deep fighter they’re over the moon- a game with the characters they love but with mechanics they can also love and dig deep into! Except that was apparently never Nintendos intent, they want it to be simple and for everyone and NOT for the super hardcore, perhaps fearful that the game will turn into what so many other fighting games have turned into- an elite only club where only those who can speak fluent numbers to directions are admitted.

    Nintendo created a game that was too beloved. Fighter fans seem to create an environment where noobs aren’t allowed to just have fun. Vicious cycle starts, Nintendo responds by denouncing the advanced and vocal fans, nobody is happy on the Internet anymore. Hell of a situation, and hell if I know if there’s a way to solve it that will REALLY make everyone happy. It seems that just creating a separate mode that bans items and such won’t be enough, you’ll almost have to create two entirely separate engines, one which focuses on simple fun, one which focuses on advanced mechanics, to truly satisfy everyone. And since that sounds like far more effort than it’s worth… well, hardcore snubbing it is.

  • zindkeeper

    Why do people take this game seriously so much? It seems everyone wants to turn every fighting game into a Street Fighter tournament these days and treat them the same.

  • Asura

    I’m not even the least bit eager for the next Smash, though I’m very eager for the eventual mod of the next Smash.

    Project M is finally nearing completion too.

    Also, people need to realize that games can be competitive yet still played like party games. The original and Melee WERE competitive games. They had the level of depth. Brawl was the party fighter in this priorly competitive series.

  • GuyAlpha

    I just want to say this. Just because people play the game competitively, doesn’t mean they don’t have fun playing the way that they play. I watched a couple of Smash Tourneys and those guys have a blast doing what they do. People wanting to measure their skill at a game doesn’t not mean people are turning it into Street Fighter or taking it FAR TOO SERIOUSLY. People do that with every game unless you truly are a casual.

    I understand that creating a middle ground for casuals and hardcores is important (I assume that’s what he’s doing), but in my opinion it’s already there. It’s just up to the player to agree on terms which is pretty much impossible with random match-making. Here’s an idea. Create actual rooms that people can see what items or whatever are useable, if people like it they join, everyone wins.
    Also, I haven’t played Brawl in forever, but people are probably waiting around because of the two hour input lag and underwater physics. Sorry, but it’s hard being quick when your character moves like it’s high on cough syrup.

  • It would probably be best if they added a bunch of different options that you can select when joining a random online game. For example, only join games with or without certain items (or with or without items at all), timed or stock (or coin if they retain it), ect. It would let players decide how they want to play as if they were offline, but still let them play with random people online.

    But hey, that’s just a suggestion.

  • notforsale

    It’s like playing mario kart without items, you’d might as well go play gran turisom instead…

  • Guest

    If people really want a fighting party game completely turned competitive and hardcore without the creator being mad. I suggest you should play Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale.

  • anthony apduhan

    In my terms Smash Bros. is not only a fighting party game that is made of casuals it can be hardcore and competitive and depending on the people’s interest whether make it competitive or simply having fun smacking someone with the hammer. Hello! we have freedom to do whatever we want here we don’t like that freedom to take it away.

  • Edzo

    another reason why sakurai is one of my favorite game developers. competitive smash bros takes the care-free fun out of the game. i love that he thinks the same way i do about the series. hope he does something to the next game that makes the competitive fans hate it

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