Masahiro Sakurai.jpg

The competitive nature of Super Smash Bros. may not interest everyone who likes the series, and long-time director - Masahiro Sakurai - completely understands this. During an interview with The Washington Post around the time of this year’s E3, Sakurai-san said he didn’t really consider professional players or a potential audience when developing new entries in the Smash line.

I feel like a game, at the end of the day, is about playing the game. But if we focus too much on the top level players - or the audience - then the game skews a little bit too much on the technical side.

Sakurai went into more detail about how Nintendo’s philosophy did not align with competitive gaming and likely never would:

The philosophy behind them doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be.

Acknowledging the simpler design of the Super Smash Bros. series, Sakurai explained how he felt the Smash games are more accessible to audiences in contrast to various other fighting games - like Capcom’s Street Fighter series:

It’s not to say that Street Fighter is failing [by more fully embracing competitive gaming] by any means, but personally, I think any games with command inputs are difficult. The creator side is trying to raise people who do doesn’t beat a game where you press one button to create a special move. I think that’s really easy to pick up for a lot of people.

The speedier tempo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has also allowed Sakurai to avoid inserting more advanced mechanics, particularly favoured by the Super Smash Bros. Melee fan base:

I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it...And I know there were players who got tendinitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much...that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.

What do you make of Sakurai's comments about the competitive side of Smash? What kind of game would you prefer? An ultra-competitive title, or one that's more accessible? Tell us in the comments.