Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo's premier franchises and has millions of fans all over the globe - many of whom play the game with incredible skill at a competitive level.
However, for as long as Smash has been popular, there have been critics who attack the game's seemingly chaotic design; to the untrained eye, your typical Smash match can be hard to follow and it's perhaps tempting for those unfamiliar with the game to assume that it has no depth and is simply a case of mashing buttons.
We spoke to Nintendo's Bill Trinen recently about all things Smash - the full interview, which includes input from Nintendo Treehouse localization manager Nate Bihldorff and naturally focuses on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, goes live early tomorrow - and we mentioned that there's an opinion amongst certain members of the gaming community that Smash became popular almost due to a "happy accident"; a stance which insinuates that Nintendo - and series creator Masahiro Sakurai - didn't really know what they were doing, or that the game would become the big competitive draw that it is now.
Trinen was quick to pour cold water over such claims:
The first thing that I would do is rewind a bit and go to the 'happy accident' because that is a myth that I want to dispel. Absolutely dispel. Because the assumption is almost that Nintendo didn't know what it had with Smash Bros. And that actually suggests that Mr. Sakurai didn't know what he was doing. Whereas very, very specifically, he designed the game even back on the Nintendo 64 and especially on the GameCube, very specifically what we were talking about is a game that anyone can pick up and play, but one that has the incredible layer of depth to it. I mean, we used to play Melee every day at lunch and after work for 10 years. Literally. This went on in the Treehouse for years and years and years. Then we just got too busy.
We had families and all that. It was even over all that time, we continued to improve and grow as players because he specifically designed the game with layer upon layer upon layer of depth. It wasn't an accident. The game didn't accidentally become that way. He is a meticulous game designer. Every decision that he makes on the game is a planned decision. So what was the 'happy accident' wasn't that the game was designed that way. The happy accident was that people started to discover it, and that became something that people could then relate to one another through and that they can have fun playing with each other. And that created the bond that gave them the inspiration for the community to build that tournament scene. But I do want to dispel the notion that the game wasn't designed with that in mind, because it very much was.
Where do you stand on this topic? Let us know with a comment, and don't forget to check back for the full interview tomorrow.