Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai recently contributed a column in Famitsu, wherein he spoke in-depth about the challenges of keeping an established series such as Smash Bros. fresh and enjoyable after so many years. [Thanks, Nintendo Everything.]
He started off by talking about Super Smash Bros. DLC, and how new characters were implemented to offer unique gameplay. These include Corrin and Bayonetta, who were added to the game earlier this month. Corrin brings his transformation powers and super range to the game, while Bayonetta makes use of special combos, gun shots, and Witch Time.
Next, Sakurai went on to say that Smash Bros. series has a ton of different ways to play, which is supported by the data that the average play time of the games is very long. As a result, there’s always major exhaustion, or rather, a high tendency of becoming bored with the game. To combat this, Sakurai explains that, while new ideas must be added to help keep the game fun, they must also refrain from tampering with basic game rules. For instance, while implementing new features such as making the game 3D or adding more gauges might add a fresh perspective, this is at the cost of possibly displeasing the majority of the fanbase.
Sakurai continued by noting that Super Smash Bros. is more than just creating a single game. The addition of even one new character brings with it the challenge of supporting that fighter along with the game they originated from. As a result, they consider the game rule to be the “hardware”, and each fighter as “software” while creating the title. Additionally, because each character in the game’s roster is so unique and can do things that other characters cannot, they must work that much harder to make sure that fights can be established properly.
Sakurai then concluded, saying that it’s the players who actually use the characters, and each person has his or her own strategy. Even if users simply spam Smash Attacks, if it’s fun for them, then it’s okay. Those who want to play in that sort of style will aim for easier controls after all.