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.

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