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Sakurai: New Super Smash Bros. To Strike A Balance Between Hardcore And Casual

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Tripping is out, for one

Some people like to place themselves in one of two camps when it comes to the Super Smash Bros. series: either siding with the faster-paced, more technical Melee or favoring the wilder yet easier to access Brawl. The rest of us just shrug and start chucking home run bats at each other no matter which version we’re playing, but that’s neither here nor there.

In an interview with Kotaku, series director Masahiro Sakurai explained, through a translator, the reasoning behind how Melee and Brawl were tweaked, and how he intends for the next games for the Wii U and 3DS to strike a balance between their two most recent predecessors:

And so the vision for the overall balance of the game in Smash Bros Melee, it was sort of more focused towards more hardcore players. Then when it came around to making Brawl, this was a game that was targeting a Wii audience where there were a lot of beginner players, so it sort of leaned a little bit more in that direction.

So now, for this time around, we're sort of aiming for something that is in between those as far as the speed of the game. Because I don't really think this time we're in a situation where we're trying to accommodate that many new players.

Once such nuance that will be addressed is the removal of “tripping,” or the small chance in Brawl that your character will fall flat on his or her face if you make a sudden dash or smash to the side. Sakurai said this vocally unpopular addition “will not return.”

And really, would the Wii Fit Trainer, monochromatic vision of control and grace, ever be caught tripping over her own two feet? We think not.

How do you think the new Smash Bros. titles should be fine-tuned for play? Sound off in the comments below.


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User Comments (84)



Void said:

I don't own Melee myself, so it's hard to say if I like it better than Brawl. I can't really say if "For Wii U"/"For 3DS" is good or not until I play it.
And good line for the picture.



ACK said:

Interesting. I have full faith in Sakurai. Notice in the Nintendo direct where he talks of wanting to smash during all his lunch breaks. What Smash Bros. fan doesn't know and envy the feeling?

As for tripping, the outrage was so overblown... It was merely there to balance the game against hardcore players to make it slightly less beneficial to constantly dash. Also, the gist of Smash Bros. is akin to a sport where the goal is to adapt to unpredictable circumstances to create success out of chaos. Tripping was a very minute component to contribute a level of unpredictability. Maybe it was too clever (in that it mimicked occasionally fumbling athletic performance), but it was hardly much of a nuisance.



Funny_Moblin said:

Great article. I want them to lean more towards Melee. Though when you said "nuance", didn't you mean "nuisance"?



Burning_Spear said:

In other words it's going to be very easy but there are going to be a few star coins and secret exits that are damn difficult to find.



digga said:

i would like a few more combos for each character and i hope they keep the ultimate special moves,, loved them in brawl



KidNo0b said:

I can already hear a chorus of hardcore Smash players sing the "No tripping" tune.

Anyway, I can't wait for this for wii u!



WingedSnagret said:

There, now everyone can stop going on about the tripping thing.

Seriously I don't see what all the fuss was about. I can see the problems with it in terms of tournaments, but I never found tripping that big of a deal otherwise.



Stark_Nebula said:

I'm a Melee and Project M type person, so this is great to hear. I've never really cared for strict tourneys and whatnot, but this is exactly where I want to see Super Smash Bros. go. It doesn't have to be ultra-hardcore, it just needs to keep up the pace and not be a flight simulator like Brawl.



DerpSandwich said:

I guess I'm not really a "hardcore" gamer, so I never noticed the difference between Melee and Brawl. I just like Brawl more because it had more content and whatnot. All the little pro details elude me.

I do hope they balance the game better though. It's ridiculous that any character can be so good that they have to be banned from use in tourneys. They either need to test more or release balance updates after the game is released.



Spartacus3765 said:

Maybe not so much a "fine tune", but I wonder if it's at all possible for them to implement 5 players now...Think about it, Nintendo Land has many games with 5 possible players.



CapeSmash said:

Am I'm the only one here who thinks Brawl is better than Melee? I didn't know there was a difference in speed between the 2 games until people where saying "Brawl suckz. cuz it not dat fast paced.". Melee is so overrated. -_-



RestlessPoon said:

@SockoMario I liked Brawl better on the whole, because of the immense amount of content and character and stage selection. I didn't like the floatiness too much, but that was easy to overlook.



idork99 said:

"And so the vision for the overall balance of the game in Smash Bros Melee, it was sort of more focused towards more hardcore players. Then when it came around to making Brawl, this was a game that was targeting a Wii audience where there were a lot of beginner players, so it sort of leaned a little bit more in that direction.
So now, for this time around, we're sort of aiming for something that is in between those as far as the speed of the game. Because I don't really think this time we're in a situation where we're trying to accommodate that many new players."

I almost want to call BS on this. My guess for not making it more Melee-like has to do with the 3DS hardware. They probably had to find a balance speed in which both games' (3DS and Wii U) controls handle the same.



d-devo said:

I have loved SSB since N64 but Melee is the best in my opinion. Brawl is very fun but I'm not a big fan of the smash balls, the tripping was a pain, and it felt slower. On Melee I would take on 3 computers on 9 and boy was it hard but a rush.



PKpunky said:

Brawl was flawed here and there. No balancing in characters... Metaknight was even banned for tourneys! Anyway, this sounds like a good direction. I hope they expand on the stamina percent mode. It would be nice to extend how much damage each player can have. One on one with 999% anyone? I think that would be as close as a traditional fighter mode it could be.



Capt_N said:

I'd personally prefer the Melee style, rather than the slow floaty of Brawl. Maybe a wise balance would be an inclusion of a before-battle option to toggle the prefered gameplay style to as it was in Melee, or if preferred, as it was in Brawl.

I also picked up him saying that he doesn't feel that there are many new players, this time around, although it could be a translation error. W/ said statement, he is either referring to the WU, &/or 3ds audience, or the perceived lack of audience, predominantly non-traditional, w/ the WU.

Edit: I do want a ton of content in the next Smash, but not @ the expense of the gameplay.



PKpunky said:

On another note, they also need to adjust the Smash Ball. I don't like how it's just a random power up and not to mention a one hit kill. At least make it blockable or make it brake your shield.

A meter would be great to use to build up your final smash. It could be based on how much damage you've given or taken that determines when you get the final smash attack.



scrubbyscum999 said:

Thankfully tripping was gone, I hate that about Brawl. Make a more balanced cast. I haven't played Melee forever so I can't say, but make the game a bit faster.



3Daniel said:

I agree that brawl was better but then again ive only had the trip occur twice in the many years ive played it and neither time did it hinder the match. I was going to lose or win regardless.



3Daniel said:

Iwata gave an interesting comment to ign and not sure if they made an error or if it was a mistranslation but he indicated smash 3ds is a 2013 release. So will the two versions release seperately?



flummerfelt said:

I grew up with Melee, so that's the one ill always prefer. Ill never forget having all the guys over after school and playing for hours, what a phenomenal game. I also really enjoy the stages in Melee more, by far. Except for poke floats, what an evil level...



GearsOfWarU said:

Sakurai as soon as you are finished with the Awesome Super Smash Bros. 4 .... Please Get to Work on a all New Kid Icarus U ( I want that more than anything, Its been 25+ years without a proper console sequal ) Make My Dreams Come True... Simply Put Blow My Mind : ) Can't wait to play as Pit & Mega Man in new Smash



smashbrolink said:

It would be great if they readjusted the Final Smashes so that they worked off of a meter or some special conditions.

Such as, kill a player who's damage is over 200% to gain a Final Smash, or do 200% total damage to a single player, or reach 300% damage without dying.
Something like that.



sinalefa said:


I think your comment belongs in a Mario game, not in Smash Brothers.

I never owned Melee so I was pretty happy with Brawl. I found tripping annoying but not a game breaker.

I hope each version has exclusive content to encourage us to get both. So far the pics for the Wii U trainer only say Wii U, which leads me to believe she only shows in the home version. Here is hoping for Dillon to make it to the 3DS version. That push would do a lot for his IP.



DrDingus said:

Let's not forget the custom stage builder. That is EASILY my favorite part of brawl. I'm really hoping they beef it up big time in the next one. It really needs more variation visually and in terms of obstacles. Really just more freedom in general would be great.



3Daniel said:

@sinalefa sort of disappointed that more of the mainstays from the smash series aren't being given movesets that reflect their portable adventures. hopefully they'll open the roster to sakurai, Dillon and mallo. 1 of the 3 would suffice to recognize the strides Nintendo made with the eShop.



RR529 said:

I'm in the camp that doesn't really notice the gameplay differences between Melee & Brawl, and thinks it's all a bunch of bikering over nothing of importance

The only thing, & I mean the ONLY thing that matters in the end, is that they're both really well made games where Nintendo icons can beat the crud out of each other (with Brawl only being better on the basis that there's simply more of that to go around).

As long as SSB4 is a fun game where Nintendo characters fight in wacky fasion, it's going to be just as good as Melee or Brawl, regardless of the miniscule elements people with too much time on their hands will bicker about



Varia01 said:

The only Smash Bros. I have played is Brawl. It was like really fun, though I do need to learn how to control myself when other players attack me, don't stop, and does not let me attack. That's annoying, but other than that, the game is amazing on gameplay, graphics, and Music (Yeah!). I am very excited about SSB U. Hype!



ACK said:

Speaking of handheld titles, who do they choose from Uprising? There are several good choices...

Also would Chrom/Lucina (hopefully the latter) be in the 3DS version only? I have a little trouble believing they will differentiate the characters among version. Cool idea, but that's a lot more work than creating unique stages (some of which will simply be more appropriate for the handheld format). Not to mention the inevitable disappointment when one of your faves doesn't cross over to the other version...

Altered move sets would be cool too, but it's a lot to ask in terms of balancing and design.



NintyMan said:

No more tripping was a done deal, but still good to hear. I don't really care about the game physics, but I think they won't be too different from Brawl's.



AugustusOxy said:

Honestly I say we stop tailoring fighting games to tourney players in general. I think the whole 'gaming for profit' thing is okay in theory, but the problem is they don't shut that mentality off when they aren't playing for money. I've beaten tourney players at their own game, then turned it around and turned on items and still beat them.

The tripping didn't bother me and the cry babying that it happened annoyed the hell out of me. Worst of all; they act as though games are suppose to be this inherit fair thing, but that attitude is naive. So much in gaming, sports, and the like is chance based and is part of the excitement. I'm quite tired of the mentality that we have to strike some ideal balance in gaming, particularly when fighters are anything but balanced.



turtleman619 said:

I like brawl better. There was a bunch of content and I hope they include that in the 3ds version of the game. Except I hope it's more fast pace this time. And I wish they could make it so you could fight with your mii character.



Klunk23 said:

@ACK Sakurai said in the developer Direct that the games would have the same roster of characters, but stages would differ. 3ds would have stages that were inspired by handheld games, like how the 3ds version has a fire awakening stage (Arena Ferox). and the wii u version will have console game stages like Skyword sword. I believe they will share some stages though.



Capt_N said:

Tripping didn't bother me, or cause me to lose either, save but a few times. I also loved Brawl, but I just preferred Melee's less-floaty-ness.

Edit: I kinda wanted a WU before, but now I'm really starting to want one, Also, good for Nintendo including another female character. & my personal favorite: Mega Man!



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@DrDingus Unfortunately, people also abused the builder so they could just unlock pretty much everything (like the music for example).

Pretty much sandbags only, a conveyor belt and one wall.



SirQuincealot said:

i played melee so much that when i played brawl it was so much slower, i did enjoy the variety of characters, and sonic kinda helped me deal with the slow down (hope he makes a return) im sure whatever nintendo does will be great, cant wait to play as megaman



Emaan said:

I still wonder how tripping ever came about to be a "feature" in Brawl. Oh well, it's a thing of the past now.



ACK said:

@Klunk23: Oops, my post lacked clarity. I'm aware that each version will have different stages, which makes a lot of sense to me because some will be more appropriate for the smaller screen size. I was referring to the unlikelihood that the two versions will have different characters or move sets. My bad.



TwilightV said:

Getting rid of tripping is fine, but I kinda hope the banana peel and icy environments return.



WaveGhoul said:

I want Meele's awesome Air Dashing & contrallable air dashing back which lets you dash in the air in any direction, while actually maintaining a longer/pause animation in mid air....Where as in Brawl, you have zero control, you do a tiny little dinky dash animation and you just sink to the bloody ground. It's by far and wide the biggest dissapointment in that game.



Moonhillwat said:

Tripping happens so rarely in Brawl that I don't understand how it can get so much hate. Just recover as quickly as possible. Bam.



mikeyman64 said:

I adapt fairly well. I like playing Brawl tournaments whenever they pop up. However whenever I do go back to playing Melee I always instantly like it better.

I don't really know if it's a "fixable" issue though. It would be hard to get the same exact "feel" for a game such as Smash due to the muscle memory required to play it. The reason people who are good at it are because of the way they have trained their hands and minds to play the game with its exact mechanics, so unless you bring back old coding and make sure the controller lag is exactly the same (or have an option to adjust it) there isn't going to be "another melee," if you will.

All that being said, I can't wait for the new game!



jedisquidward said:

I don't think I ever tripped in Brawl, and if I did, it was so rarely and it never really affected my match, I forgot about when I did, if I did.



GamerZack87 said:

Customisable characters that can be upgraded in the 3DS version then brought onto the Wii U would be a good addition.



jedisquidward said:

I think there should be a feature to turn Stage hazards on or off. With that said, I want them to go all out with the stages, making them as creative as possible.



Giygas_95 said:

I know I'm gonna be the only one (and I'm serious when I say this), but I actually liked tripping. Added a bit of "Uh-oh" or "OH DANG IT!" to the fray!



CowLaunch said:

I still think the first entry is the purest version.

If there is to be less characters in these installments (as was vaguely hinted at, but not confirmed) then I hope the roster and gameplay is more balanced, otherwise it'll be the worst of both worlds.

I haven't been disappointed by the series yet though.



Araknie said:

Yes, that would be a good balance, already knowing that it will be harder than Brawl is very good to me.



rjejr said:

Any word on a Subspace Emissary sequel? That was an entire game in itself.



Tornado said:

Why tripping was such a big deal: You couldn't turn it off. Which was ridiculous in a game with lots of options for customization.

Glad to hear the game will be a bit more Melee-like.



erv said:

Man, I loved tripping. It added to the natural goofyness the game had



bassoongoon said:

This sounds like a good idea. Although I think that the Super Smash Bros. series has always done a good job of striking the balance between hardcore and casual.



Blue_Yoshi said:

Well after playing Brawl for years and going back to Melee, it's like too weird there really is a difference.



DarkKirby said:

Brawl had a large amount of blatent anti competitive mechanics that made it terrible. Tripping, is of course, the most infamous anti competitive mechanic ever put into a fighter which sole purpose was to make the game less fair. I didn't know of Melee's more advanced mechanics until years after I stopped playing it but I remember I had more fun with that game simply because it was fast paced.

I hope Sakurai understands that having a game appealing to competitive players doesn't mean excluding casual ones, which seems to be the goal they are going toward, a game where skilled and unskilled players will play together and have fun, which will just never happen. Most games simply solve this issue with a ladder, so people can be matched up against people with similar skill sets. And have OPTIONS to let people play in different ways. There is no reason to force people to play in 1 way or another, especially with a game as popular as Smash!

On the base fighting mechanics, Brawl was WAY too slow, floaty and the defensive options too good with infinite air dodges. I'd made me upset when Sakurai said people were playing Brawl "wrong" when they play it defensively, but that's a DESIGN problem, the game leans toward defensive play with how slow it is and how many defensive options you have. You cannot create a fighting game and expect people to not care about winning and play the game in a way where the goal is not to try your best to win. You want people to play aggressively? Remove infinite air dodge and make the game faster.



Nightstar1623 said:

I have no idea which one I want to get. On one hand, I have the Wii U, all shiny & new, with obviously better graphics & animation. On the other hand, I've got the 3DS, with the same characters as the Wii U, different stages, & the ability to be taken with me for long trips. Which one should I get?!



AceTrainerAndy said:

WAY easier said than done. My fav is Brawl. Please keep in a form of a smaller Link!!!! I loved Young Link!!



UnseatingKDawg said:

@Nightstar1623: Do the obvious choice (which is the one I'm personally picking) - get both!

As for tripping being removed, that's just fantastic! That was a nuisance in Brawl. As for characters, I'd like Sonic to make a return, Shadow the Hedgehog (which I realize is just not reality), Magnus from Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Dixie Kong.



GearsOfWarU said:

rjejr love the Thundarr The Barbarian Pick... one of my favorite childhood cartoons ... Lords of Light ... Demon Dogs : )



Henmii said:

So it will be more hardcore then Brawl! And Brawl was already pretty good, so it's a good sign!

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