Sakurai: Balance patches for new Smash are something we’d like to be able to do - discusses single-player experience, online and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • July 4, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. PDT
Sakurai: Balance patches for new Smash are something we’d like to be able to do - discusses single-player experience, online and more In an interview with IGN, Super Smash Bros. producer, Masahiro Sakurai, has spoken in detail about where the game is in its development process right now, and elaborated on several aspects of the title, such as the reason for there being one version for the 3DS and one for the Wii U. We'll start you off with a quote regarding that very question right here.

Back when I was working on Kid Icarus Uprising, I was already getting a feel for the 3DS performance and the features in that hardware. Mr. Iwata came to me and asked which platform I would want to put the next Smash Bros. on. Looking at those two platforms and seeing their individual styles and uniquenesses – I saw with the 3DS that it would be good for one flavor of the game, but there was also the other end, getting the grand scale what was possible with the Wii U. So with that in mind, we decided to go ahead and put the game on two platforms.

Hit the jump to hear the rest of what Sakurai had to say.

Elaborating on the uniqueness of the 3DS version, Sakurai explained some of what intrigued him about it.

What’s unique about the 3DS is that you have your own screen. There are things we can do that are unique to having a personalized experience for yourself. Also, having your own data that you can carry around in your own personal device creates a lot of neat opportunities. That’s something we want to take advantage of – without going into too much detail.

When prompted about balancing characters and the process for that, Sakurai said that they aren't at that stage in development right now. He also explained his thoughts on patching games, if they might need it.

We’re not at a stage in development where we’re going through those fine sorts of adjustments. When we get towards the end of development, we will have what we call monitor playtests, where we watch people play the games. We perform thorough analysis based on those observations. There have been cases in the past, admittedly, where we didn’t gather sufficient data for certain characters, and that resulted in certain game imbalances. Patches are something we’d definitely like to be able to do, if possible.

It was also noted, as has been in earlier interviews as well, that the games are intended to feature some level of customization, though it wasn't quite clear to what degree.

We’re planning for a level of customization to some degree and in some form. It’s not completely decided at this point. But it’s very important to point out that we do this in a careful way that doesn’t affect the strength and balance of the characters. One thing we’d like to do is to be able to customize the direction of attacks. But not give characters a stronger jump or a stronger or weaker attack. You can consider customizations like that possible.

On the subject of single-player, when compared to the single-player campaign The Subspace Emissary from the series' previous entry, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sakurai explained that they will be doing something different, as he felt that the rewards for playing the mode were insufficient.

At the very least, we’re thinking of maybe not implementing that sort of single-player experience like Subspace Emissary, where you play through to a conclusion and you’re rewarded with something like a movie. We found that if you wanted to see those movies, you could just go to the internet. That sort of thing loses its appeal as a reward for the player. I can’t say concretely, but we’re thinking about removing that sort of element and coming up with a way to provide a more rewarding single-player experience in which players will be rewarded in different ways.

Speaking on the subject of online, Sakurai noted that the online capabilities available on current Nintendo consoles are much better than what they have been in the past, and that this will be reflected in the new game. He also explained his thought process regarding the online play from a game design standpoint.

We don’t want to have a type of situation where you have a ranking pyramid, and only the people at the very top can enjoy it. I think there are other unique ways to be able to implement a system where people can get satisfaction out of performing at a skill level relative to their peer group.

When asked about the differences between perception of the series' previous games, Melee and Brawl, with one being a lot more competitive and the other seemingly more fitted to casual play, Sakurai explained that it was a natural fit for the games to end up like that, and how this will affect the new Super Smash Bros. game.

Quite simply Melee was something that was targeted more towards hardcore, advanced players. With Wii, on a platform where you were getting experiences like Wii Fit and there was an audience that tilted slightly more towards beginning players, we slowed down the gameplay. This time around, we don’t see a situation where we’ll be encountering as many beginning players, and so as far as the speed and the feel of the game, I think you could say confidently that we’re targeting something right in between those two versions.

What do you think about this new approach? Clearly, the game will be different from both of its predecessor and try to find a sweet harmony between them. Is this what you want, or are you afraid of change? Let us know in the comments.

Source: IGN.


MALDA_IS_BACK said on July 4, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.

Link is getting to look more like a chick in each game he reminds me the character from Drawn together.

THK said on July 4, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.

Why are you covering non fighting games? #Kappa

But seriously though, I can understand what he's getting at. He doesn't want the game to become so competitive that it alienates others, after all, you want your game to sell. But even if the game sucks, I'm pretty sure the scene for it will be huge anyway. Brawl is ass but it has a massive following anyway, so there's that.

Kinimaster said on July 4, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

I just hope the new Smash is more like Melee TBH.

DJScrubble said on July 4, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

I like what I read and I can't wait to play. Going to be sooooooo hype.

#3 it will be more like Melee. It's suppose to be Brawl x Melee type of game play. No retarded tripping, or anything like that. This is going to be like the SSFIV of Smash.

Tensa said on July 4, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.

I wouldn't call it the sf4 of smash hopefully its good because Link one of my fav characters ever an zelda is my fav video game series of all time

ShadowGeno said on July 4, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.

Yeah this game's gonna be great! Would prefer if they edged it further towards Melee ... we have enough fighters catering to beginners this gen.

Fireriku546 said on July 4, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.

While I'd like Sakurai to listen to fan demand somewhat, I think he should let the game evolve for a few months if not more before he decides what characters are good and which are bad so that people don't give day 1 feedback when they find that a certain character is probably still very strong (Meta Knight)

Devdan said on July 4, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.

So he doesn't want it to be too 'hardcore', but he wants to do balance patches? For who? Ug, I don't get where this game is headed at all.

Devdan said on July 4, 2013 at 10:55 a.m.


You sniped me. We don't even know for sure that Metaknight is coming back, but if I remember correctly (and I might not), Metaknight wasn't even considered top tier at first. I remember people going on about Diddy Kong and Toon Link, and DeDeDe and Game & Watch to a lesser extent...then again, I don't really know who these people were. With a game like Brawl it's harder to discern who the 'good' players are.

StarWolf27 said on July 4, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.

According to the picture that was drawn along time ago where a bunch of characters were reaching for a smash ball, meta knight was among that group along With marth. This game will be amazing and just want to see lloyd irving from tales of symphonia and better online cause brawl online was trash. Get that netcode right Nintendo

KissofPoison said on July 4, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

As long as Zelda is in I'm happy. She is my main character.

Hopefully they keep Game & Watch though, I love his look in contrast to the rest and hopefully keep with a stage of his look in similar vein to the previous games.

I would totally love if this game could offer patches and even potential DLC. I don't see Nintendo really selling out on the DLC end of things like half assing the main product where DLC would be nuanced.

JoelMaster64 said on July 4, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.

My 2 mains are DK and Yoshi. No fear of character removal on my end.
It's nice to hear something good about the online, and the customization tidbit is VERY intriguing. side tilt for the up attack? I'll take it! (I think that is what Sakurai was talking about. Not Positive.)

GoodMan said on July 4, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.


"He doesn't want the game to become so competitive that it alienates others" - And i'm guessing you're using Melee as an example? If so then your first remark would sort of become inane and hypocritical. Melee was fine because 'it did sell well' and even though it could be played at high levels competitively, it had tools to lessen that ergo items and unbalanced levels, something that other fighting games can't and don't do. Therefore, I don't see the reason in making it more casual friendly considering it's friggin SMASH! You have all these tools and elements to play the game casually.

To add to that, Brawl is actually pretty dead with only a few people still entering tournaments for it. However, Brawl wasn't complete garbage because it gave us awesome mods like Brawl- and Project M. Melee is the Smash that people still play. It's competitive aspect gave it longevity.

kingofthesharks said on July 4, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.

Like Goodman said, alienating casuals with Smash is ridiculous, like saying you alienated casual rhythm lovers with Guitar Hero 3 because you included a hard Dragonforce song at the end.
"I can't get into Melee the barrier to entry and having fun is way too high wahhhh only hardcore maniacs will ever enjoy this game!" - said Nobody ever.
It's a Smash brothers game. The entire series is accessible as hell because at the basic level casuals only care about A)their favorite characters in the cast and B)being able to throw out whatever move with ease. Melee is no different, and only holds a distinction from Brawl/64 because the hole of treasure went a lot deeper for those willing to dig.
Melee was the highest selling game on Gamecube, there was nothing unappealing about it to casuals who owned a GCN. Brawl sold more not because it "catered to casuals" more, but because it was on the mega-hit Wii console. There is NO reason to not include deeper/faster aspects for those who wanna dig. It's Smash. The casuals won't even notice that stuff unless they fight a tourney-goer.

TheTHCGamer said on July 4, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.

It's always good news when a developer considers patching a game if it might be needed because as much I love Brawl it could've used a patch or two. Lots of developers need them to get a game right especially with less fighting games being released in arcades in Asia/Japan. I remember when most if not all fighting games were released in arcades first then refined for the console release.

Regardless you probably wouldn't see a game like Smash Bros in arcades but its a good thing there considering supporting the game after its release. I really doubt well be getting monthly patches like some of you might fear that's more of an NRS thing. Can't wait lets get that release date already and some info on that netcode.

Dedemaru said on July 4, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.

@#14 he's talking about kids and families and such. He wants younger people and less experienced gamers to be able to go online and enjoy the game. I don't agree with it, but I see what he's saying. There are people that didn't keep playing Melee because of a skill barrier. "-said Nobody ever." is a little too far.

Anyway... hype as shift for this, gonna go smack my momma

roarmonster said on July 4, 2013 at 12:54 p.m.


what this guy said. It could also apply to other franchises as well

Jaaj301 said on July 4, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.

You're right, however if you take for example SF4, which is arguably the most competitive fighter right now, a new player will quit the game immediately after getting obliterated online.

With the Wii U being way more online-heavy than the Wii, I can understand if they want to avoid making the skill gap between players get too big, and consequently making the game completely unaccessible to the majority of people who just want to play online.

DJScrubble said on July 4, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

#5 the comparison was merely to point out the middle ground that SFIV is between SFII and SFIII. SFII would be Brawl and Melee would SFIII in this comparison. Wasn't trying to go nut here haha.

xShonuffx said on July 4, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

I think if the netcode is dead on, Nintendo will have a hit for years to come. Sakurai saying choosing a roster is like "Dying" Dude just put your energy and effort into the netcode and no one will care who you put in the game, YOU CAN ADD PEOPLE LATER!!!!!

TheTHCGamer said on July 4, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.

@20 Absolutely agree have a solid netcode is whats going to make this game blow up even bigger then it already is. Id love to get together with my friends like back in the day when we use to play Melee but were adults now we cant just stop what were doing just to play games until the morning.

The game in my opinion is going to be great regardless just like every other Smash Bros game and yes even Brawl. What the main focus needs to be is the netcode in my opinion because we already know the Smash Bros games have what it takes on the gameplay/character front. I guarantee you most if not all of use regardless of the roster have at least 3 mains in every Smash Bros game.

We also have an idea of how the game will play because most fighting game sequels play very similar to the past games before it. Here the most important aspects in my opinion.
1.Make the game as balanced as possible.
2.Refine the gameplay
3.Make sure that Netcode is solid which will have people coming back for years.

The reason you need that netcode to be the best you can be is most people who will be playing online will be on a wireless connection. I already have the Wii lan adapter so I will be hooking it up to my Wii U so I can play on a wired connection but lets face it there are going to be LOTS of people playing with bad wireless connections. Playing online in random matches for Brawl was atrocious.

If Smash Bros Wii U ends up having a great netcode im scared to think how long ill be playing that game especially if Nintendo/Sakurai show the game some love with patches after its release. Im telling you one most fun gaming franchises ive ever played if not thee most fun franchise. I just don't want to be playing this game like the matches are taking place underwater.

Nintendo needs to stop online gaming like its 1995 and make sure its best selling franchise plays its best online. One thing that im hoping will help is TTT2 is one of the best playing fighting games online this gen and some of that staff is working on the game. I look forward to all the Smash Bros news but what im really waiting for is some info on the netcode.

Broshadian said on July 4, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.

What #13 and #14 said

Neoxon said on July 4, 2013 at 5:57 p.m.

- If Kid Icarus: Uprising is any indication, Smash 4's netcode will be just fine. More so with Namco Bandai helping out.

- Brawl wasn't a bad game. Gameplay-wise, sure, Melee was better (still hate the tripping, thank god it's being axed). In features, however, Brawl was leaps & bounds better than Melee.

DK_ALEX_DK said on July 4, 2013 at 10:57 p.m.

Yeah seriously, Brawl was a good game, everyone could play (Depending on who you or your oppenent(s) Choosed "Hint" Batwings "Hint").

KickStartMyHeart said on July 5, 2013 at 1:53 a.m.

I'm wary of patches, they often make lots of things worse than before, and it just messes with the "feel" of the game.

Whatever. SSB4 is still sounding awesome, but I wish we'd get more concrete information. I like Sakurai's insight on certain things, but it feels...abstract? I dunno.

HuG said on July 5, 2013 at 4:19 a.m.

oh i hope they don't remove the single player story mode campaign thing! it was really neat in meele with adventure mode and in brawl with the emissary campaign! i was hoping for something even bigger than before! with more cut-scenes and characters interacting with each other and all that! but meh, it's your game i guess.

i approve the balance patches, hate that only a handful of characters are tornament viable, ppl looked funny at me using mario >3>....i mean HE'S NOT BAD...

D2Or said on July 5, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.

Honestly, seeing villager and Wii Fit Trainer put me off a bit. So I'm hoping more redeeming characters are added. It would be nice to see more Fire Emblem characters added (Eliwood, Hector or even Lyn maybe?) It's a shame Namco isn't adding a mix of their own Nintendo exclusive characters. Why not Lloyd or Emil from Tales of Symphonia? or Kalas from Baiten Kaitos?

Cmon Namco... make it happen

theshredder39 said on July 6, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.

Actually since Namco Bandai is working on the game I wouldn't mind something simklar to Soul Calibur 2's weapon master mode.

Yarott said on July 9, 2013 at 9:47 p.m.

Can we have a classic "Nintendo Hard" mode, aside from the one with "Endless Alloy/Polygon/???? slaughter" tasks? At least a little bit more challenge for the Single Player experience that would stay challenging AND fun to redo for years to come! Giga Bowser (Melee - Event #51) and Tabuu (Brawl - Boss Rush) are good examples, but they are just one speck of the entire game that is challenging and fun to do.

You know, I would like it if Adventure Mode was a lot more meatier than how it was in Brawl, while also simply fusing Event Mode into it! The Classic and All-Stars Modes should stay separate, since they are kind of staples in the entire series. Aside from that, do any of you think they will actually revamp the "Stage Builder" feature? It was kinda lacking in Brawl, even if it was just debuted in said title.


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