Sakurai: "If we Direct Smash ONLY at The Competitive Players, It Will Have No Future."

Smapps

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#1
Edit: From all of the comments here today and from what people have been saying, the original translation was really not accurate in the one major line people here have been mentioning. A more accurate translation would be: "If we direct Smash ONLY at the competitive players, it will have no future." The title of the article has been changed and the article itself has been updated to reflect this. Thanks everyone!

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Recently Sakurai has sat down to another interview with a Japanese magazine to talk about DLC, balancing, reasons for including characters, and a bunch of other interesting topics. While we have not been able to translate the entire article as of now, a wonderful user on reddit named get_in_the_robot translated a small portion of the text and posted it to /r/smashbros. He does mention he talked some about other game modes and other things, but he strictly translated the parts related to patches and competitive Smash. We will provide translations for the rest of the piece as soon as possible. As you can read from the title, there are some very... interesting statements ahead. Put on your seat belts and prepare for a bumpy ride.


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Q: Do you think you'll be able to spend your next birthday (August 3rd) in peace?

Sakurai: I wonder (laughs). I don't know, but I think so. For some reason I promised to make Mewtwo, and we might have things like patches on the way. We're working hard on it now, which means everything we make is something we didn't start on until now.

Question from a reader: A question about adjusting game balance. What timeframe did you have in mind when wanting to start making adjustments that led to the release of the latest patch?

Sakurai: The idea behind the most recent patch was timed to match up with the overseas release of the Wii U version, and to make the game a bit more balanced. I had a small team monitoring balance and they made small adjustments. Using data accumulated from all of the online battles worldwide, I had them do research into what kind of problems arose, and how those problems should be addressed. Then I had those changes put into practice, refined again, and then I made selections and brought up my own ideas, and that cycle repeats.

Q: What are the chances of ongoing patches?

Sakurai: In regards to the future, I'm completely undecided. Research on balance is always kept and accumulated, and if we had the manpower it could always be done, but we don't know if those resources can be acquired. If there was an elegant way this could be done, or if there was an extremely large problem, it could happen...is the general feel, for now. However, I don't think anything that was fixed in this patch was particularly critical. Only the most hardcore players would notice. Moreover, in a game where advantage and disadvantage because of the rules, I don't think there's a point in trying too hard. I'm always thinking hard to ensure that I don't erase any unique features of a character.

Q: There are people who play very seriously, in grand finals for official tournaments, and then there are people who are just happy to see their favorite character in the game. How do you feel about that?

Sakurai: If people want to play seriously 1v1, they should do that, and if people simply want to enjoy the game, they should do so. There might even be people who only like to play with their amiibo. I think it's good that there are so many different ways to enjoy this game.

Q: So, then, this is good...

"Mmm. Personally, I feel that if you want to play a fighting game seriously, there are other competitive fighting games that are more suited to that, and people like that could have fun playing those. If you play Smash Brothers seriously as a competitive game, the game itself has no future. If we direct Smash ONLY at the competitive players, it will have no future.""

If I wanted to, I'm sure I could make a more hardcore Smash Brothers game. I could make the game speed much faster, increase the number of inputs...but then, beginners would no longer be able to play the game. When the game becomes more like a sport, a tool that more strictly rewards the player with more skill, the game tapers off more, like a mountain. Just like how a mountain tapers off into its peak, that area becomes more and more narrow.

Q: So only those who desire to reach the top remain.

Sakurai: There are lots of games like that out there. If we downgraded* the game to make it more spectator friendly, that would be a bad thing. Smash needs to be a game that new players can play. Some level of technical skill may be necessary, but if just try and can move your character around a bit, that's the important bit. We do show the results of the battle, but everyone just mashes A, right? To move on, to keep going. Making people feel this way is important.

Q: I'll admit, regardless of whether I win or lose, I always think "just one more."

Sakurai: I fought, I lost...these results and suffering from painful feelings is how the user base shrinks, and we want to avoid that with Smash. In that sense, Smash has many elements that are rather ambiguous and nebulous in regards to competition.

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*The translator mentioned that Sakurai used a strange verb here in a way he'd never seen or read before. He thought that it implied that making the game more spectator friendly was a downgrade but he isn't entirely certain.

If you would like to see the article in it's entirety and maybe provide a translation of the rest of the article for people to read, we have linked pictures of the rest of the article below.


SmashCapps wishes he knew Japanese enough to translate the entire article for you guys. Maybe if you know Japanese, or would just like to keep in touch, you could follow SmashCapps on Twitter. He also apologizes for the bad translation from earlier, and hopes you all can "please understand" this error.
 
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#9
The only part that seems out of place to me is his remarks on competitive fighting games. For me, Smash offers a style of gameplay no other series has, and it's partially due to the ease of inputs that I prefer Smash to other fighting games.

You can make Smash Bros deep without increasing the number of inputs, and it's that statement he made regarding the inputs that I feel is where Sakurai doesn't understand the game. Brawl and Smash 4 have relatively deep competitive experiences despite the number of inputs required being, on average, fewer in number compared to Melee. While I personally prefer the style of gameplay offered in Melee, a few nudges and tweaks made to the Smash 4 engine could offer a game that's just as deep and fun but being less technically demanding.
 

MezzoMe

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#11
Why do I feel like people that are commenting didn't read the article?
Anyway, I think that he's not wrong, putting a wall and saying "if you can't do _______ you might as well not play" is not what I would like to say to an audience as heterogeneous as the Smash fanbase.
 
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MegaMarioMan9

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#13
The reason I play this instead of other fighting games is because I have fun playing competitively AND casually. Regardless of what Sakurai said, the game still has a competitive future, and I'm fine with the bigger focus on casual play. Either way, it was still aimed at both audiences more than Brawl was, so something obviously went right.
 
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#21
Alright, after reading through this a few times, I get what Sakurai is trying to say, it's just that he's too worried about alienating new players. Smash is a fairly simple game. Making the game faster, allowing for more combo potential, that won't get rid of anyone. Also, new players being severely outclassed by experienced players is nothing new. It happens in just about every big game out there.

Sakurai worries too much. I do believe that putting most of the focus on competitive play is a bad move, but totally ignoring the competitive players is even worse. His intentions are good, but the results... not so much. Sure, this might be a casual game turned hardcore, but why not embrace that?
 
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xTeru

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#23
Sakurai is retarded, a game doesn't need a **** load of inputs to be hardcore or competitive. Melee isn't designed to have a lot of inputs either and guess what? It's a great competitive game. Instead of removing every tech he could have made them easier or something if he's that concerned about new players.
 

Galespark

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#26
People need to realize that Nintendo is a family-friendly focused company, and as a company they want to get the more people as possible to play and enjoy their games. Sakurai is not dumb or anything for thinking that way, even though I would prefer *MYSELF* a more competitive focused game, I can understand his point of view.

And also remember that Melee wasn't also intended to be the way it is right now.

The community that enjoy playing the game competitively is the one that has driven this scene where it is right now, and we will continue to do so with or without developer support.
 

MezzoMe

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#28
Sakurai is retarded, a game doesn't need a **** load of inputs to be hardcore or competitive. Melee isn't designed to have a lot of inputs either and guess what? It's a great competitive game. Instead of removing every tech he could have made them easier or something if he's that concerned about new players.
His definition of competitive=/=our definition of competitive.
He didn't refer to Melee as competitive game, he did refer to those games with "a ****load of imputs", or did he?
 

Cactusblah

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#30
People need to realize that Nintendo is a family-friendly focused company, and as a company they want to get the more people as possible to play and enjoy their games. Sakurai is not dumb or anything for thinking that way, even though I would prefer *MYSELF* a more competitive focused game, I can understand his point of view.

And also remember that Melee wasn't also intended to be the way it is right now.

The community that enjoy playing the game competitively is the one that has driven this scene where it is right now, and we will continue to do so with or without developer support.
Casuals still played melee. The game being more "hardcore" doesn't stop them from enjoying it. It's bull**** logic.
 
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#31
Fire the man and have someone else produce the next smash. "if you want to play a more competetive fighting game there are other fighting games out there" man gtfo with that crap. plenty of fighting games that had their lead developer replaced turned out just fine. Fire the care bear Sakurai from the smash project moving forward.
 

KenboCalrissian

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#35
*deep sigh*

Ok, look. Was it ever intended that Melee became the competitive behemoth that it is? No. Did it happen? Absolutely.

Sakurai, you did a lot of things right. Smash 4 is quite competitively viable - it has what we're looking for, and casuals enjoy it a ton too. Other than some overly complex stages with gimmicks we'd all rather avoid, you did a good job.

TL;DR: Stop tryharding. You don't need to break your wrist to impress us, you don't need to get up on a high horse and state that you can't please everybody. We're pleased, I promise you - but ironically, the complaints we have about the game are in the areas you've put the most work into.

Smash doesn't need to be overly complex to be competitive. The stages don't need constant hazards and bells and whistles to stay prominent. Just keep doing what you do, and we'll enjoy it..

As for finding a team to help you keep up with balance changes... how about spending some of those amiibo profits? Smash 4 is already a game some of us will wind up paying around $1000 for if you factor in the console, all amiibos, a GCN adapter, both versions of the game, etc. You're not short on resources, you're just short on patience. Give yourself a break and get back to us, or hand the reins over to someone else. You have nothing more to prove to us.

(I hope he's not suggesting that Mewtwo might not be done by August 2015...)
 
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metaXzero

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#36
Oh look. Sakurai is saying the exact same ignorant things he's always said about competitive Smash and he still thinks casual players couldn't play Melee. And people wonder why some of us wish he would stop coming back to direct every Smash game or why some of us don't worship the ground he walks on just cause he made the games in the first place.

Again, Sakurai's intentions for how the game will be played won't mesh-up with how the audience will actually play, but don't be surprised if when something "gamebreaking" convinces him to patch the game again, perfect pivoting goes to join DACUS.
 
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#37
I see this as Sakurai not wanting his own games to be competitive even though they all are. I love ya' man but wtf bro why would I want to play other fighting games without my fav characters, with boring *** inputs and stuff.

I wish someone told him that the competitive scene and casual scene will never collide in anyway. Happened in melee and there wasn't any problem at all.
 

TheAnvil

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#38
I couldn't agree more that Smash is not really for competitives. It wasn't designed to be a serious fighting game. It's a party game more than anything else. There's no harm in playing competitively, but other games are far more suited for that than Smash.

I would imagine that Pokken will be much more for competitives actually.
 

MarkT

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#40
Sakurai is the director and makes the final call, but he has a team of hundreds working under him. There is a competitive mode in the game, and the person who oversees that mode would be have been hired to guarantee a solid experience for competitive players. Reports come in through the For Glory team that things need tweaking and Sakurai reacts.
My point is that if no one working on this game cared about competitive smash then there wouldn't be a For Glory mode and the one balance patch we got would never come.
 
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