News Article

Sakurai: Online Play Will Be Improved in Upcoming Smash Bros.

Posted by Andy Green

"We've learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released"

Super Smash Bros. Brawl was one of the few Wii games to venture online. By delving into the Nintendo WFC players from all four corners of the world could brawl with each other in what was a decent experience in some battles, and a more turbulent one in others.

Unfortunately, as with most online multiplayer games, there's always someone out there who wants to ruin it for everyone. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl this was generally done by people using overly defensive tactics that make the whole match a bit dull and boring.

This was brought up by an anguished gamer who wrote to the game's director Masahiro Sakurai wondering what his thoughts were on the matter.

In his latest column in Famitsu, Sakurai responded to the letter by writing:

The idea of Brawl's 'carefree brawling' motto was to get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked. 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.

It would have been nice if we could have revised the game rules as appropriate, but with the system we had, that wasn't possible.

It looks as though the developer is working towards rectifying some of the main issues that occurred in Brawl, which can only be a good thing. Wii U has a much improved online space compared to its predecessor, so we're hopeful changes will be made to make the experience a lot more fun.

What would you like to see from the online segment of the upcoming Smash Bros. title? Let us know in the comments section below.


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User Comments (78)



SethNintendo said:

Main online issue with Brawl? The lag which ruined the speed of the game. Felt like I was playing the slow N64 version...



Yosher said:

Brawl's online wasn't perfect but I still got tons of enjoyment out of it, especially playing with oversea friends. I'll certainly enjoy that again in this next SSB game, no matter how it turns out!



Whopper744 said:

Personally, to name just a couple little things, I'd like to be able to talk to who I am playing with. Also, maybe be able to find matches that suit your skills better. I'd either get people who couldn't have been trying, or people who have to have nothing else better to do but sit around in a basement and practice the most annoying and cheap moves known to man.



Captain_Toad said:

@Five-seveN button input lag, MASSIVE slow down from time to time, stage builder not being acessible in online matches, random disconnection (sometimes the slow down occurs before that), few options to do online. to name a few.



Megumi said:

...I thought he would be talking the horrible lag, after playing that game online I never touched that part again. :/



NintyMan said:

Of course the next Smash Bros. will have better online. It's to be expected these days with the robust online experience the Wii U and 3DS has to offer. Thinking of the Wii U; Miiverse is going to do wonders for its Smash Bros. 4 version.

The online in Brawl was always laggy for me, but the biggest disappointment I had was the long wait between matches for random people. You had to have online friends if you ever hoped to get a decent match. Now with the Wii U, setting up matches will be easier than ever with Miiverse and the simpler friend code system.



LordJumpMad said:

1. Everyone picks Temple.
2. Press only the taunts button, untill the match is over.
3. Repeat 1 and 2.

Thats pretty much Brawl's online in a nutshell.



naut said:

Yeah lol I came in here hoping to here him address the lag that made Brawl's online unplayable. Not even sure what these "defensive tactics" are.



Pikachupwnage said:

Okay good. Now look at how to make the stage creator better please(Hint. Increase the amount of everything avaible ble to use by about 10 times)



Bankai said:

I was about to say "I would hope so" but someone beat me to it

I can't think of a game with online in the past two generations that got the online experience so very wrong.



Dpullam said:

I honestly have always considered Super Smash Bros as a game that is best played with friends or when your friends come to your house. As such, I haven't experienced the online that much but it's always good to improve the online experience for the players that do play online.



naut said:

@Dpullam Definitely agreed that SSB is at its best locally. But if you're like me and all your friends and family hate Smash Bros., online's pretty important.



ultraraichu said:

Well here's hoping that online ranking is off the table like in brawl. Most people play competitive online game to win and less for fun, so they'll use any cheap tactic to be top ranked or just to win. Ego anyone



Xcape_DuCkMAN_X said:

This has nothing to do with online, but please get rid of the random slip n trip feature. That s%#t was not cute.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I went into this article expecting talk about the horrible lag that makes Brawl pretty much unplayable online...I really don't see why the game needs design changes to keep the matches interesting. Prioritize here, people!



MagicEmperor said:

Super Smash Bros.'s online play can only be improved from this point, let's be honest. But I'm not sure I know what these 'defensive tactics' are. I only play with my friends, and they're fair and sporty. But the crippling lag just ruins our plays.



WingedSnagret said:

It seems like Brawl was made just before Nintendo starting getting a good feel for simultaneous online play, since Mario Kart Wii, which came out not too long after Brawl, had perfectly fine internet connection. That's my opinion anyway.



klautrec said:

If it is lag free, It will already be improved! good luck to master sakurai. Smash bros U/3DS is gonna be great. I still find hard to believe we are getting 2 versions of the best modern fighting game of all time!



AlexSora89 said:

All my Brawl online playtime consisted of beating up Sandbag.

So, given how SSB is one of my favourite Nintendo franchises and given the next one will finally become available in portable form, I'm twice as ecstatic. Dammit, I want this game to come out already... or at least a 3DS port of Melee!



BadKitty said:

If you're playing with LordJumpLag there will always be a problem, and lag. >:3



Tertis said:

Great. That means that there will be countless people putting unnecessary rules on each match. I don't want to fight every match on Final Destination using 'balanced' characters with no items.



SCAR said:

Brawl's online was only good to an extent. I'm gonna say that Brawl's online was ok, but ONLY(and I'm stressing this ALOT) if you had the friend codes input for a more dedicated connection between players and everyone had fast/optimized internet.
I had some fun fights in Brawl online that were mainly lag free, but only if every condition to play was ideal, and even still there was lag.
All in all, Brawl's online was horrible and very inaccessible. I usually had tons of people locally to play with, so I hardly tried it anyway.



drumsandperc92 said:

all super smash games are always a blast with local multiplayer, one of the best games to break out with your buddies.
although i still think Melee overall was the better game, brawl had some amazing features, and some of the revisions were good. i actually really loved how it handled, although obviously the not-so-classic 'tripping' was an issue for me as it was so many others. also, i LOVED the subspace emissary mode...if they expand on that in the next smash game i think it would epic. Hell, if they just tighten up some of the controls and make the levels a little bit more interesting and challenging as far as platforming goes, the emissary mode could be it's own game! so i hope they take that a step further in the next game.
My issue online was actually i think simply with the Wii's online functionality, not the game itself.
Waiting for an online match was atrocious, and once the match started the lag was aweful.
Furthermore, the infamous friends codes were an enormous obstacle of course, and the lack of voice abilities to chat while you were fighting your friends made it all just that much dumber.
why play online? just wait till that friend can come over lol.
But I'm hopeful that with the new Nintendo Network and superior capabilities of Wii U's online infrastructure the next Smash will be online in full force.



SheldonRandoms said:

@drumsandperc92 But the tripping saved me so many times, they should have it where you can turn it on and off, that would please many people.

With online, i'll take DLC characters and stages and other menus like that, but I don't want the online to lag, where all I see is a frozen screen, it's because of lags, then my skills are like "don't feel like it today"



shinpichu said:

Or it could mean that there will be better filtering/matchmaking, meaning you'd be more easily play with people that want to play with the same rules as you.


That dumba** meme is outdated and everyone knows it.



Senate_Guard said:

I think I only completed one online match since I bought the game 4 years ago. Its a terribly flawed experience, and I'm suprised people managed to get consistant online play.



Dpishere said:

I have played some fighting games online and the overly defensive tactics people use has caused me to play fighting games exclusively offline since then.



Gridatttack said:

I hope there would be a way to minimize lag, and allow users to play nicely with low internet speed.



SCAR said:

I just hate it when someones lagging and they're beating you at a game, then they say 'you suck' or 'noob'. There has been countless times when lag on the opponent's side is just so ludicrous that they aren't even on screen until your dead or in last place. Totally not fair, and it ruins the game. There can be good online experiences, but those are far and few between on alot of 1 on 1 games(Tekken Tag 2 on Wii U is basically unplayable, because on top of there not being many people to play online, no one has good internet. It's not me), and 50/50 on 4+ titles..



Haxonberik said:

I could never play a single online match on Brawl, my NAT wouldnt let me. It was weird since I could play Pokemon BR and MK Wii just fine.



MAN1AC said:

Addressing the lag should be their first priority. If they aren't going to, then all this other stuff is irrelevant



Emaan said:

I'm far more concerned about lag issues, which were a major problem in Brawl. Didn't ever notice much in Mario Kart Wii though. Hopefully the Wii U sequel really improves on this like we would expect.



Alphack3r said:

Just prevent Temple or Final Destination from being played more than a couple times in a row and I'll be just fine. (Especially FD >:/ I think it has worse balance than Temple xD)



Awesoman said:

Brawl's online system was about as impersonal as you could get. At no point did I even feel like I was playing online...well except for the lag.



allav866 said:

I can imagine many ways how SSB4's online multiplayer can be better than Brawl's:
1. Lag-free, and responsive controls
2. Communities much like MK7's, where the community leader creates rules for the matches (as far as Time/Stock/Coin, Stock Time Limit, Team/Free-for-All, and what categories of items are allowed)
3. Video-chat between friends via GamePad Camera or just use voice chat.
4. Allow the use of Stage Builder stages
5. Trophy/Sticker distribution much like Kid Icarus: Uprising's Idol/Weapon/Power distribution (Random item will randomly appear after a match and be given to a random player)
6. No random tripping. (Sorry, but I think if people say it enough times, Sakurai will get the message.)



Ian_Daemon said:

I spectated thousands of matches online. I love that feature. You learn so much (i.e. what works, what doesn't).



Peppy_Hare said:

What? You mean it was turtling that killed the online play? No. It was the MASSIVE lag that killed it.



AugustusOxy said:

I'd rather see more work put into making the game impossible to play at tournaments. That any form of tourney play would cause our wii-u to break. I hate how hyper competitivism essentially ruins these games.



Solatorobo said:

I couldn't even get into a match in Brawl, let alone a non laggy one.

But Uprising had great online, so I'm not worried.



Aerona said:

I'm expecting the online to be glorious... I hope I'm not disappointed again.



DarkKirby said:

As a fan and of the Smash Bros. series and a follower of the FGC (fighting game community) there are some serious problems with this topic.

Brawl was unfortunately used as Nintendo's 1st test with online play, and it was a colossal failure. The number 1 issue with the game online was serious lag which you would probably never have to deal with because the matchmaking was terrible and you would never be able to find anyone to actually play with in the first place.

Brawl was NOT ruined by people using overly defensive tactics. That's like saying a goalie is ruining a game of soccer for blocking every ball because "it's boring when the games always end 0-0". The point of the game is TO WIN. One of the issues with Brawl IS infinite air dodging with no penalty, but that is the fault of the DEVELOPER, not the player for using the tools they were given.

Another one of the MAJOR problems with Brawl were mechanics SPECIFICALLY designed to discourage playing the game competitively like no "no items" online, CPU takeover on disconnectors, and tripping (oh god tripping). This is another example of Sakurai enforcing his "vision" of "carefree (casual) brawling" of at the expense of the players who love the game the most and would want to take the game seriously. I remind you, a game playable competitively DOES NOT mean it cannot be played casually, and with ladder matchmaking you will most likely be paired with someone at your level. Not every person who plays LoL and Starcraft 2 do it because they plan to be esports champions and win big checks, but the games are not designed to be unfair on purpose so playing the game competitively would be difficult. Not every game has to be Mario Party where you live on the roll of the dice.

"Get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked"? I hope he's joking. Brawl DID THE OPPOSITE by enforcing casual mechanics like not letting people play without items online and have no ladder. And there is nothing wrong with defensive play, as I said, the point is to win, although there could be a problem if the entire game in general is too slow and everyone has too many defensive options (as Brawl does).

With Namco working on the game as well I hope they take into consideration the competitive community and have the game possible to be fun competitively and not make it a party game. Namco recently just donated $5000 toward the prize money of the fan hosted Tekken tournament.

This is the Brawl Grand Finals of the last yearly international Smash tournament. FYI, most of the Smash community consider Melee to be superior mechanically to Brawl and more fun to play and watch.



AJWolfTill said:

THIS JUST IN! SSB4 will feature HD graphics!!!
I'm just teasing Nintendo Life, the article is fine but the heading was a bit of a No Sh*t Sherlock



Chabbox said:


100% Agreed.
SSB4 is my most anticipated game of the Wii U, and as eager I am for it to come out, i really do want them to work on it, and perfect it. Not use time to add in unnecessary features, but to add decent competitive and awesome characters, focus 5% on the map editor of the game, which is actually quite a large proportion, and to simply just listen to the community. By then, i will love them.



MeloMan said:

Nothing brings posters together like a Smash topic

I absolutely abhorred SSBB's online lag... I wanted SO BAD to be able to play people the world over, but that really killed it for me. I had high hopes anyway that the online was going to be vastly improved, but now this puts even more of my fears to rest.



Oscarsome said:

The worst part about Smash Bros Brawl online: random matches were nearly impossible to set up (and wasn't there a lame two minute rule?). In order to play online I had to join forums and find people with my skill level and then play against them. It was an unnecessary extra step. I hope they fix this!



WaxxyOne said:

Wait, people actually played that game online? I ventured into the lobby several times but was never able to get a match started.



Ian_Daemon said:

SSBB is truly an impressive package. When you consider that they included all the modes, the music, the challenges, and the "masterpieces"... it's a staggering amount of content now-a-days.



Gameday said:

The lag , the tripping , the time finding a match/waiting & the 2min limit for random brawls... Fix that we good !



terdese said:

Brawls online was atrocious. I like Nintendo but when it comes to online they just don't seem to know how to deliver. That game was a flagship title for the wii and it seems like they just put in online to have it. Mario strikers charged online worked well enough... But for brawl they got lazy. I'll believe it when I see it. I mean come on I bought that game launch day and it still took forever to find a match, even weeks after. Forget defensive players, the lag made it unplayable! Even the WiiU is starting to show Nintendo's lack of online concern. I truly believe Nintendoland should have had online play. Where are the leader boards, most the 5 player games would have benefited from it but no... They keep sticking with the same ole story... We want people to play together BS. Welcome to the present Nintendo. If you want to be a contender this generation you need to get with the times. I'm fine with the graphical limitations but online is almost a deal breaker. At least miiverse was a start.



Prof3ssorMGW said:

I like how "overly defensive tactics" was considered boring. It's not the fault of good players who expose the game for what it is, if the game favors playing defensively, that's what the good players will do. I also like how there was no mention of how boring taunt parties populated online matches whatsoever in there. This is just Sakurai babying a whiny casual player.

People want to have fun, but they also want to win. I'm not going to play in a way that limits me just so my opponent doesn't think I'm playing in a dull manner. It's also good to note that the people who complain about "overly defensive tactics" are usually the bad players who don't know how to use their character, don't know characters match-ups, what works & what doesn't etc.



Alextriad said:

Melee was much better balanced for offense and defense. I used to play with some of the best in the world. When Brawl came out, the game was so bad I stopped for the most part.

People will often defend, just simply have moves that can be use as an approach that is safe in most ways.

You also don't need want to make approaches that cuts through defense entirely but simply force the opponent to have less options for the following step. When I played everyone would at least think about the next step after the attack. Also the one air dodge in the air helps supply much better balance for offense and defense. Choosing the direction helps you defend but only having one makes it risky.

players thought twice about camping in MELEE because standing still actually just gave the attacker who is moving more options. Also, in melee you could edge guard where the opponent is off the edge and by pressuring (attacking) from the edge the opponent worried most about making it back. You can almost always come back in brawl and its more about knock outs than keeping the opponent off the edge.

There are so many things if Sakurai cared about competitive play he would talk to the top players of various countries. People follow their leads to win. The competitive scene always dominates online play.



MalikFrost said:

online has to be perfectly made now, they need no online lag, a fun ranking system, developer made tournaments(every 2 hours or so), player made custom tournaments(with/without items,tag team,1v1, etc.) and the option to bring 1 or 2 local friends online make it happen Nintendo I believe in you! they have enough time

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