It wasn't so long ago that Masahiro Sakurai was musing on his future with Super Smash Bros. and prompting fans to worry, sounding rather worn down and contemplating stepping away from the franchise. It seems that the last few months and a switch up in development - to focusing on DLC - has lightened Sakurai-san's mood, however.
A full translation of Sakurai-san's latest Famitsu article - hat tip to Masked Man and PushDustin - makes interesting reading, especially for the generally upbeat tone. The topic is DLC for Super Smash Bros., but also in the wider industry, with the series creator typically forthright in his views. In the following excerpt he characterises some DLC trends, before explaining the focus on the Smash Bros. content being genuine post-launch extras, developed only after the full game was completed.
These days, the "DLC scam" has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product. I completely understand how aggravated players must feel. After all, a game should be 100% at the time of release, and I would be livid if it were split up and sold in pieces.
Why, then, do you think so many titles provide premium DLC on or shortly following a game's release? It's because that's the easiest way to make money.
After all, if you wait too long after a game's release to distribute additional content, players will already move on to the next title. Even long tail titles–that is, ones that perform consistently well over an extended period of time – make more money the earlier they come out.
The same goes for Sm4sh. We could have easily reserved a few characters on the current roster and later sold them as premium DLC. A considerable amount of work went into development, and the game would have already featured a ton of content. Plus, if you were looking to make a profit, DLC would be the way to go. Development is more costly than ever, yet the price of games has remained the same, so more income would help offset that imbalance.
However, the DLC we are releasing for Sm4sh is authentic, developed only after we finished working on the main game. Of course, said content will come to you at a premium as compensation for the work put into developing additional content post-production. Nintendo has the final say on the price, but given the number of man-hours spent on the creation of this DLC, I'd say it's a great deal.
Sakurai-san goes on to explain that the development team is now smaller, but highlights his excitement to be working on the extra content. It seems that the tighter group and limited focus on specific DLC extras has improved the game creator's general mood around the project.
Moreover, we decided to release other characters as well because part of the fun of Smash is the anticipation: "Which character will join the fray next!?" If we keep distributing content, we can maintain that excitement, and I think that's a really great thing.
Our team may have shrunk in size, but I'm still just as excited as ever to be pouring my heart and soul into my work every day. Given the different types of content we're producing, it wouldn't be surprising for the planning of one item to coincide with the development, balancing, and finalization of several others. We also have version updates, online features, and additional modes to worry about. It can be quite overwhelming, but it's all about making players happy.
Fighters take an incredible amount of work to develop, so I don't think we'll be able to produce that many. Part of me would also love to finish up the project and finally enjoy some rest and relaxation. That said, we've already begun development, so I would like to provide as much additional fun and excitement as possible from here on out. We'll continue working for a little while longer, so please stay tuned!
Though Sakurai-san is clearly still relishing having a break soon, this is certainly a positive outlook, suggesting he's happy not only to be producing this content but also with the way it's being distributed and shared.
Let us know what you think of these comments from Sakurai-san around DLC for Super Smash Bros.
Thanks to Joseph for the heads up.
That Dragon Ball orange background has me thinking Goku confirmed.
I love this man.
I'm sure his mood will be lightened further when after the fan vote he gets to work on Shantae. #ShantaeforSmash
Welp, if he's happy, then that's good. Though I have to wonder how long is not much longer. That ballot doesn't end until October...
It is so incredibly refreshing to hear Sakurai speaking in such positive manner. When he talks so much about how hard this series is on him I get kind of discouraged on his behalf. But this sounds like he's actually enjoying working on the DLC work (probably because of the relaxed work environment).
That was actually pretty nice to read. As much as his actions aggravate me sometimes, I've been really worried about him. It's good to see him happy for once.
Off topic but what happened to that "big game that could turn the wii u around " famitsu were promising to be revealed this month?
I picked up on him saying "additional modes" - new modes coming to Smash? I'd love to see a return of the individual target smash levels that were in Melee. Obviously tournament mode, both online and local. If I think hard enough im sure I can come up with an original idea too but it's midnight where I am so I won't. But I agree, it's nice to see someone take so much passion into their work and it breathes through every facet of the game. Sakurai should be an inspiration to all developers.
@McoobabWATP I'm wondering that also
It's not yet the end of the month...
Good to hear that he's happy about it. Good luck, Sakurai. Never stop being awesome.
Ten years from now, remember how the Wii U was a commercial failure and the industry agreed Nintendo should wash it's hands of the thing, but Nintendo still made the effort to get a great core of games on the thing including new IP like W101 and Splatoon, delivered good bonus content and charge a sensible price for the MK8 DLC, brought Bayonetta 2 and a new Starfox to the platform, delayed Zelda because it needed to be better even though they could of sold tons at Christmas, and asked it's fans who should be in Smash, and then built it from scratch.
This is why I think Nintendo is a great company and the Wii U is a wonderful console.
I smiled when I saw this. I'm glad that Sakurai is doing good now and relaxing. I was worried about him for a long time, and it just make me completely happy to see him doing fine.
Good to hear this! Hopefully your arm gets better by July/August!
Nintendo please, learn from this with all of your games. THIS MAN does how a game should be made, but maybe he did almost a bit too much work at times, but give it all you got for every game and put in as much as possible, and then when you want to give more content release it as cheap DLC. Daddy sakurai, i do look up to you ^_^
@MrGawain Everyone This guy gets it and I tip my hat to you sir for a well said post
Glad some of the team get a break, and I hope that Sakurai and especially everyone else gets the rest they deserve. I also hope they feel very enlightened and magical after this, that way they can eat sundaes, every day.
He's definitely in the right here. Happy to see he's not as stressed out as before. Know that we're all rooting for you, Sakurai!
@BLPs I think he should take a vacatipon before chrismas since he isn't a robot and when he breaks he can't continue but at this rate he is gunna work himself to death but then again there is no real replacements for some nintendo tops.
Awesome to hear he's still going at it and that he's happy. I hope him and his team get a well deserved rest afterwards.
I did wished the game would have a character creation tool (no, not Miis, lol), for those advanced people who can work with models and/or programming. Same goes for Stages.
Well....I'm glad he's a bit happier, at least. Hopefully not having to manage as large a team, as well as only having to focus on DLC exclusively won't stress him out as much...
At the very least I hope he gets weekends off now.
Sakurai really is for the gamers. Thanks for taking one for the team!
I hope an offline Tournament bracket mode is in the cards. I really miss that when I host Smash parties...
I don't know about others but I am a little scared for the smash DLC... first we get essentially useless costumes that are for fighters you can't take online... they are really only good for yourself and when playing local. Secondly... if you look at the DLC page, you see that Lucas doesn't have a price set which tells me that some fighters will cost different than others.... which means... how much will Lucas cost? Will he cost more? The DLC for smash was already pretty steep... and now we are left with the possibility of even more expensive DLC...
As long as he doesn't work too hard. He really needs to take a break after he's done with this DLC.
I actually was worried for the guy. DLC as a whole is - and should have been back in Brawl, as I said elsewhere - a perfect fit for Smash, but I also know Sakurai is pretty much fed up with all the work he's done so far. So I'm glad he's doing fine instead.
Why hello there, fellow Etika fan.
I love this guy. Such dedication. Such positiveness .
He has an inspiring work ethic and seems like a generally amiable fellow. I've seen worse role-models.
Sakurai's a pretty cool guy.
Yeah, that's all I'm gonna say.
Sakurai! Stahp! Take a vacation before you screw up your other wrist!
@BLPs We knew the Mario Kart 8 DLC #2 price well before the end of last year. Sure they were pack together but still. The fact that they don't have a set price for Character in general concerns me. They may find a character was more popular or wanted more and then... boom and extra 2 or 3 dollars. Think of the game Earthbound. It came out more because Nintendo knew it would be more popular. Their exact reason was:
“As for EarthBound, Nintendo sets prices in the Nintendo eShop and Virtual Console on a game-by-game basis. Different games will be offered at different prices.”
... and yet, I believe that is the only $10 SNES game on the VC. This is why I am worried that more popular characters will just temped Nintendo with "greed" and boom, it will be:
"“As for "X Fighter", Nintendo sets prices in Smash on a fighter-by-fighter basis. Different fighters will be offered at different prices.”
Yeah, I got a feeling something similar is going to happen. I am just waiting for that. I was right about the DLC coming for Smash though so many denied it and called me out on it... I guess it'll only be a couple of months before we see if I am right about this.
I'm liking some of the new content they're doing so far, but a part of me still wants the team to take a break. Then again, I guess it's sort of a hard thing to do if you love what you do.
"These days, the "DLC scam" has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product."
Wooooooo, shoots fired!! Huehuehuehue
@Hy8ogen yesss cough cough ubisoft, cough cough COD....the list is endless
Can we have DPad option for movement now on the pro-controller?
@ikki5 While you could interpret it that way, I think it's more that will be some kind of bundle pack like with Mario Kart 8. Of course we knew a fair amount of contents for the MK8 DLC back in August when the preorders went live (all 6 characters, Blue Falcon, Mute City, Excitebike Arena, Wario's Gold Mine, Animal Crossing, Wild Woods and a few vehicles) but also there was the pack bonus of Shy Guy and Yoshi colours.
Just imagine how angry many people would be if they preordered Lucas only to find out there's a MK8 style preorder pack for Smash available directly after the E3 Digital Event (or whatever Nintendo calls it this time) which includes Lucas.
@Senario Every character has strengths and weaknesses in every fighting game. Your characters are only as good as you are at coping with their options and defects.
@ikki5 Costumes are completely optional. Something looks good? Buy it.
Also, it just means that there is no set price on him becsusr they are still developing him.
I can't believe how much power and heart this guy has. I wish Sakurai would take a break like so many people here, but in the end, we all know that this is what he loves to do. And I love how he thinks about DLC. A cool guy in my books.
Could you just say Mr. Sakurai or Sakurai instead of saying sakurai-san the entire time, it sounds like you're mocking japanese suffixes.
@BlackSpy - "Stop right there. Thank you."
Stop? But don't you want to hear about Lucas's Super Saiyan Level 1 hairdo? He kind of looks like Gohan, doesn't he?
I would love a new break the targets and an adventure mode like in Melee!!
@luckybreak How is Call of Duty's DLC a scam? The map packs come out months after the game releases and from everything I've ever heard, the development team develops them post release. As for other DLC content like Camo Packs, Announcers, extra slot packs, and stuff like that none of that is forced on the player. They can pick and choose what they want.
Call of Duty has one of the best examples of DLC in my opinion. Regardless of your personal feelings on the series, each Call of Duty game tends to be packed with content in the core game. Many players(myself included) skip the DLC and our experience never suffers for it. Outside of some new maps and a shiny new gun, people don't have to buy a map pack for Call of Duty to fully enjoy the game.
I know Call of Duty bashing tends to be a popular sport online, but the games in the series tend to be some of the best fully featured titles on the market in terms of the core game.
Now, if you want to see how not to do DLC, look at Capcom who had content finished on the disc and hid it behind a DLC paywall.
You make me feel Sakurai. Why is that?
I'd figure that I should mention that it was me that sent in the news tip. I've been following character speculation for three and a half years (June, 2011 to December, 2014) and just recently came back due to the Smash Ballot announcement. Being someone that really disliked how Nintendo Everything and GoNIntendo left off important part of the Famitsu column, I wanted to send news tip of the full article so that the users would get the full story.
This was a really good article overall. Sakurai mentioning how DLC is for the fans is very encouraging to hear and it shows that they really want to do everything they can to satisfy fans. I'm not saying we should expect 10+ DLC characters, but I don't think it's unreasonable to see say, eight or nine when all is said and done.
@Yorumi Originally Nintendo did not plan to release dlc for Super Smash Bros.The reason it took months to release is because they made it after the game was released.Nintendo saw the fan demand and changed their minds about releasing dlc in Smash Bros.
@Yorumi Chopping up a game before release,while also not reducing the price, to get more money is a scam.This is releasing extra content that they did not even think of after the game has been out for a while.Nintendo did not do that.I don't even know where you got that.
@LavaTwilight I think they should finish e.g Tournaments before doing DLC.
@McoobabWATP It's probably Project Giant Robot/Project Camera or whatever it was called. I'm looking forward to them, just hope they haven't been cancelled or anything.
I appreciate the back-breaking labor Sakurai and his team have done... But he is not alone in gaming history. There have been many fighting games throughout gaming history where there were many fighters with large move pools available, many with more than Smash, both with 2D sprites and 3D models... yet the developers of those titles were not making public comments like "charging $4 for one extra character in addition to the rest of our roster is our fair due".
This has nothing to do with value/balance of extra characters, it is all about the publisher jumping on an opportunity to extract more money because they know for a fact people will jump for the carrot when enticed. This is no different from when other companies charge money for one extra character. Comparing severity with others does not excuse Nintendo either, they are still doing it.
Also, the developers don't get paid more if we buy the DLC locked characters, the publisher's coffers just get further stuffed. The publisher managers still make their own determinations how their employees will be treated and paid, regardless of extra developer work leading to increased income.
@rjejr "That Dragon Ball orange background has me thinking Goku confirmed."
Might as well add Gohan while they're at it?
"Authentic". Guess he found out about the Brawl hacks (which I hope happens in Wii U or 3DS someday)
@MrGawain Hear, hear
Did anyone here, or does anyone know of anyone, that "requested Lucas' " inclusion? As Iwata claimed many fans had. I follow several Nintendo sites and forums and never once saw such a request. Perhaps it came from lots of Japanese players.
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