Sakurai talks about reasons for doing two versions of the new Super Smash Bros., thoughts on DLC, music selection and direction for the new game

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • June 27, 2013 at 10:12 a.m. PDT
Sakurai talks about reasons for doing two versions of the new Super Smash Bros., thoughts on DLC, music selection and direction for the new game In an interview with French website Puissance Nintendo, Sakurai talks on a variety of subjects regarding the new Super Smash Bros. game. Thanks to a kind user over at NeoGAF, we have a translation of the interview which will follow below. Here's a snippet to get you started.

Puissance Nintendo: At E3 2011 Satoru Iwata surprised everyone by announcing that the next Smash Bros. game would come out on 3DS and Wii U. What will be the major differences between the two versions? Can we expect a few surprises, regarding for example connectivity?

Sakurai: While the development of Kid Icarus Uprising was coming to an end Satoru Iwata came to ask me to develop the next SSB and asked me if it should be developed on 3DS or Wii U. We arrived to the point where the series couldn't really evolve anymore and we wondered if going handheld was the solution. In the past we raised the number of characters and stages but it wasn't enough.

Around this time we could have chose to develop only a 3DS version, but we realized that there were several limitations. I'm talking about playing a game like SSB on a small screen. So even if it is complicated to develop two versions of the game at the same time, we decided to adapt the Smash Bros experience to the characteristics of both platforms.

If on the one hand the characters are the same on Wii U and 3DS, the stages will be on the other hand completely different. The 3DS stages are based on games released on handheld consoles while the Wii U stages will be based on games released on home video game console.

Hit the jump to hear what Sakurai has to say

PN: How did you organize the development of two versions of the same game? Is there a "lead platform" or are both platforms developed simultaneously, with a dedicated team for each versions?

Sakurai: The team is the same for both versions of the game, which are developed side by side. There's no "lead platform".

PN: In the E3 2013 Developer Direct you mentions the fact that characters on 3DS are circled in black in lines in order to distinguish them a small screen. What kind of technical limitations did you have face on 3DS? Did you have to reduce the number of items or special effects on screen?

Sakurai: We had to take several factors into considerations to produce a satisfying experience for both platforms.

On the 3DS version for instance, we had to look at characters' bodies proportion on home consoles and adapt them on 3DS to make the characters look more recognizable on a small screen. Same thing for the hands' deformation.

All of this serves to make the 3DS game a pleasant experience.

While Sakurai didn't have much to say regarding the connectivity between the two games as of yet, he did share some of his thoughts on DLC, something people seem to have assumed that he dislikes.

PN: Considering there are two versions of the game, players are expecting a form of connectivity between the two. Can you give us some examples of connectivity features? Monster Hunter Ultimate 3 allows save data transfer between its two versions, can we expect similar features in SSB?

Sakurai: The save data of the two games are completely separate, but there will be some degree of interaction, as it will be possible to transfer data relatives to the characters from one version to the other.

PN: In all your games, and especially in Kid Icarus Uprising and Smash Bros, the amount of game content is very important, with sometimes hundreds of hours of game. Why do you always put so much content in your games? Is it because you are not really fond of DLCs and instead prefer to have access to a complete game right away?

Sakurai: Oh it's not that I dislike DLCs, it's just that I don't really have time to think about it. I'm too busy working on the game and put as much content as I can. The goal is to give a full and interesting game to players.

I'm not opposed to DLCs on principle. I really liked the Fallout 3 DLCs for example.

Music is something that has been very celebrated in the Super Smash Bros. series, with Brawl carrying around 300 tracks from various popular Nintendo games, many of them re-recorded specifically for the game. Sakurai explains why he values the musical composers so much, and goes on to explain his detailed development process.

PN: Music always had an important role in SSB games, with great number of tunes, remixes and composers, why do you think that is?

Sakurai: I think it's a matter of respect. I have a lot of respect for all these characters and for how all these games affected people while playing them. I believe that music played an important role in these games and so to please the fans of these games and original series we have to recreate the same music so that it corresponds to their desires and expectations.

PN: In the past you said you want to work with the original composers. In your eyes why is it so important to work with them?

S: I've never really said that only some specific composer can work with some songs and not others. Instead I talk with the people who composed the original tracks of a game, like the composer for instance, and ask them how they want to contribute to the project. Usually we find an agreement and they compose special versions of their songs for SSB games.

PN: You take an active part in your games' playtesting, every nook and crannies: details, changes etc... You even playtest the multiplayer yourself. Why do you do that? Is it the only way for you to be sure that a game stays on the right path?

S: It's hard for me to find an easy answer to a question like this one about the nature of my work. I can explain it this way: developing a game is way harder than it looks like from the outside.

That's why I think the Director has to involve himself a lot and care about even the smallest details of his game, each gameplay elements. It's hard for me to conceive developing a game any other way.

Below, you'll find Sakurai's thoughts on implementing online in a better fashion for the new game, how the new game will cater to casual and competitive fans respectively, as well as how grueling the development of a game like this can be, or rather, how grueling you can make it by not delegating.

PN: In Famitsu magazine a few months ago you said regretted not being able to patch SSBB on Wii, especially the online mode. This is not case anymore on Wii U and 3DS where it is possible to modify a game after its release. What aspects of the new SSB game will be scrutinized in prevision of possible patches?

S: It's hard to tell right now but of course we always try to keep the best balance. Nevertheless I do not know yet if it will be easy to patch the games once they are released. For example, if you have a person playing a patched version of the game playing against a person without the patch problems may occur. We will have to do a lot of research about this.

That said I think patches are very important to keep the game balanced once it's out. As you already know players are very interested in knowing whether a character is considered strong or weak on the Internet.

And sometimes you have to see if those perceptions are correct or if people are just following the popular opinion. We really want each character to have their special abilities, with statistics balancing their strong points.

We want to put forward specific each characters' specific abilities but at the same time players have to ask themselves if they accept the Internet reputation of a character. It's something we have to take into account when we will create patches.

PN: With each new game in the series you added more stages, more characters, but Brawl felt less polished than its predecessors. For the new Smash are you going to change your approach by including less content but making sure the game is more polished? S: Until now I always considered that I was responsible for each and every aspects of every characters, the balance of the game, to the point where I created each different attacks separately for every characters. I'll share this work with other people this time around, to make sure a good balance can be found for this game.

In the past I was often overwhelmed and I'm trying to avoid that now. Of course working on a game like this one takes a huge amount of time, especially since we have to work on two different versions. Polishing and finding the right balance will take a lot of time. Of course I fully assume my role as a Director of those two games and test every aspects of them, but I also try to delegate some tasks. I try to focus on the things only I can take care of.

PN: Will the new SSB game players looking for a casual experience or the players looking for a competitive experience? Is this something you pay a lot of attention to when making the game?

S: If you consider that Melee is perfect for fighting game experts who are only interested in competitiveness and that Brawl is more suited for newcomers trying to discover the series... then maybe we have to find the middle ground for the new Smash Bros game?

I'm not talking about changing the game system, but rather to take into consideration the level of each players. Mario Kart is often described as the most accessible game for players of all levels. This series has several gameplay mechanics reducing the gap between the players.

But Smash Bros is a radically different series compared to Mario Kart, it has to find its own mechanics to offer a similar level of accessibility, offering a neutral ground for new players and experimented players alike. Nonetheless it is still a game requiring some experience to master it, we just want to make sure everyone's having fun with it.

And finally, keep on reading to hear some explanations on what the story mode will entail this time around, possible customization of characters, Mega Man's inclusion and various other tidbits.

PN: There was a big focus on Story with Brawl, notably with SSE, the very first "story mode" of the series. Is there anything similar with the new SSB?

S: Actually we are not planning to include a similar story mode this time around. As you already know SSB has a great number of different characters who all had their own cutscenes in Story mode. These were supposed to be rewards for players finishing this mode with every characters.

I think this is fun for players but at the same time all these cutscenes ended up on the internet. Players watched them online, which didn't correspond to our intent when we made them in the first place. That's why we won't do the same this time.

Nevertheless we will still present the new characters with intro cutscenes, as we already did with the Villager, Mega Man and Wii Fit Trainer. We have several collaboration to make these cutscenes at the moment.

PN: In the weeks preceding the release of Kid Icarus Uprising you released several animated cutscenes to the players, are you going to do the same with Smash?

S: As you've seen with WFT, which we revealed earlier this week, I like revealing characters with cutscenes before the game is released. But they have a cost so I can't promise.

PN: During the development of Brawl you were very open with the fans through the Dojo, where you revealed many a lot of information on the game. Are you going to do the same or are you going to keep some surprises for the release of the game? Many players felt like they knew everything about Brawl before it was even released...

S: We won't share as much info this time around. You'll have information on characters and pictures through the official website but not always detailed info like it was the case in the past.

PN:What level of customization will be present in the game? In the past players had access to a great many options, notably regarding items. Are you going to implement new ones, such as being able to switch off damages caused by stage hazards?

S:You will still be able to control the apparition of items, but you won't be able to turn off stage hazards. If we did that, you'd find yourself with PSASB!

PN: Will the new SSB have players created content, with a stage or character editor?

S: I'm sorry I can't talk about this for the moment

PN: Let's talk a bit about the new characters, Mega Man looks "normal" for the series, but the Villager and WFT who are pretty surprising choices, not so much. Why did you choose to include them in the game? Do you want to appeal to those games' players?

S: The first thing I want to say about those characters is that they're pretty fun to play with, and that I understand that people think that Mega Man is perfectly suite for the series.

But when we decide to include characters in the series we ask ourselves: "What can this character do that existing ones cannot?" and so I've spent a lot of time thinking about what Villager and WFT could do. I've realized that they were many interesting things to be done with these two characters.

PN: You receive a lot of requests for new characters, from fans and even developers. Do you take those requests into account or would you rather keep your vision of how the game should be pure, keeping the sought-after balance intact?

S: Actually I do take into account fans requests. But the phase where I gather this information is already over and we're currently adding content to the game. We always strive to put as much content as we can in our program.

PN: In conclusion, can you tell us what you prefer when developing SSB games? Something you love to take care of. What is the most complicated aspect?

S: I think it's by making the game system itself, by trying to create a neutral ground for players of different levels that I have the most fun. I want to make an interesting gameplay, making sure players never get bored requires a lot of efforts. As for what is the most complicated aspect of development... I'd say everything else!

Did the interview with Sakurai give you any new insight into the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game? Did it make you more or less excited, or are you indifferent? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Puissance Nintendo.

Massive thanks to Kurtofan over at NeoGAF for the translation.


gusedandrade said on June 27, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.


NyuBomber said on June 27, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

Excellent interview and insights. I'm especially pleased that he's open to patching for bugs and balance(with a mind for reality of what's good or bad about a character VS. player perception of the character's strength's and weaknesses).

Also pleased with the Fallout DLC call-out.

aceinu said on June 27, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.


TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.

Please give this game an amazing netcode and patches if needed showing the game love after its release.

knuxpyro56 said on June 27, 2013 at 10:37 a.m.

hopefully Smash 4 has a much improved online multiplayer compared to Brawls lagfest.

BumblebeeCody said on June 27, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.

Hal Laboratory confirmed for making Fallout 4! I really don't want updates in this game unless a character is completely broken.

SmokeRulz said on June 27, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.

Typical Eventhubs commenters can bite me. I'm happy Sakurai is opening up so much about the game. And I'm glad Eventhubs is posting about it! Easy source of Smash Bros news for me. :) Trailers and character announcements will come in due time.

knuxpyro56 said on June 27, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.

imagine seeing Doc Louis give Little Mac his letter that he was invited and hearing the amazing Punch Out theme.

KIDGoggles said on June 27, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.

1. This game is showing all signs of being amazing, instant classic on launch.

2. He seems to be well-attuned to everything that made Melee stupid, and everything that made Brawl bad, as well as keeping track of all the things that made both games great. I typically don't have opinions about games before they drop, but everything that I can see points to this game being phenomenal.

3. Im super happy that he seems to come to a happy medium between Capcom's drop one marvel update, fix 2 things and never touch the game again, and NRS's remake the game every 2 weeks based off of whoever whines the most policy. The game will probably need a patch week 2 to fix some dumb glitches. At 3 months to balance the top 3 and bottom 3. and then like one patch for some really minor tweaks every 6 months or so.

KIDGoggles said on June 27, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.

p.s. I respect the hell out of the unbiased love that Smash is getting on this site.

ADMARA said on June 27, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

Smash bros is that game where no matter how many articles are posted, I'll always read them and to know that they are doing as much as they can to satisfy everyone makes me more excited for the game.

I feel the character announcements are going to be more hype than the brawl ones were.

LK said on June 27, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

Sakurai = Based God

roarmonster said on June 27, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.


I love this game as a party game, I think everyone who has a sense of fun does

Too bad it will never be a fighter, even Sakura said so


Gurpwnder said on June 27, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.

Let's hope that Sakurai and team let the game flesh out before any kneejerk patches are made. Judging by the interview, I'd say he's got the right idea though.

I just wonder who he'd listen to for patch ideas.

poignant_potency said on June 27, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.

I'm really glad to hear that they're making an effort to set the 3DS version apart from the home console version. Different stages and the unique art style gives way more incentive to smash and dash ;P

On another note I can't wait to hear all the new music(see what I did there), brawls real shining point was the soundtrack so I'm sure the composers and sound team are gonna give us something amazing. Overall this is probably my most anticipated game besides SMTIV nintendo's got me on a string this generation...

kirbykirbykirby said on June 27, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.

Smash bros is the only "party" game i actually can have fun playing by myself. So much content.

Ermapume said on June 27, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

The truly important thing isn't whether Smash is a fighter but the passion and competitive edge the Smash community brings along with it's top and casual players is truly important because that ensures longevity in a well crafted game with a good philosophy. At his point nobody is hungup about the label of the game but the content and experiences it will bring.

TrueGamingGuru said on June 27, 2013 at 11:44 a.m.

@13 If people (like what your saying) are always going to think SSB isn't a fighter game over some top headline news which part of Majin made the top text misleading, it proves that most people can't read full details and is only nitpicking which also proves they lack reading skills.

Besides Sakurai didn't actually say SSB is not a fighter game, because of these details (that most people didn't even read):
"As developers, we have to think about all of these circumstances when designing fighting games."

"When I began working on the first Smash Bros., there was a great focus on [highly-technical] fighting games, and that's something we've seen branch off into sort of a niche direction. Now, those types of fighting games have a very high barrier to entry for new players, while Smash was always meant to appeal to lots of people from different gaming communities."

"One of the best ways to look at the fighting game genre is thinking about this pinnacle--this peak--we've built up to where these games have become more of a hobbyist [genre]. I think that trend might be reaching an end."

"I think the idea of the fighting game genre can be somewhat limiting. People have defined in their own minds what constitutes a fighting game, and that can be such a specific set of characteristics that when other people are viewing a game from the outside and they learn it's a fighting game, they may predetermine it's not for them simply because of what they expect from it as a fighting game."

"You can talk about a fighting game or an action game or a racing game, but as soon as you define your game specifically in those terms, you start limiting your creative range because you're thinking of the limitations of that genre. Perhaps the best thing we can do now is start with a concept rather than a genre. If we can do that, perhaps we can grow the whole idea a little bit."

SSB is a fighter game in its own right, I would simply call it Platform Fighter. Sakurai goes beyond the limit and he is creative for his own version of fighter. The fighter genre doesn't really do anything creative or go beyond the tradition to make the genre unique.

Reiji said on June 27, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.

Story mode won't be the same formula as it was in Brawl. Oh well. I mostly played multiplayer almost all the time anyways.

suicidali said on June 27, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

"Actually we are not planning to include a similar story mode this time around. As you already know SSB has a great number of different characters who all had their own cutscenes in Story mode. These were supposed to be rewards for players finishing this mode with every characters.

I think this is fun for players but at the same time all these cutscenes ended up on the internet. Players watched them online, which didn't correspond to our intent when we made them in the first place. That's why we won't do the same this time."

This is why we can't have nice things.

GoodMan said on June 27, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.


You got bodied by #18

Ermapume said on June 27, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.

That username suits you.

DJScrubble said on June 27, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.

@19, you didn't miss much

MugenLord said on June 27, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

@18 and 4 I have so much respect for the both of you.

I would love to see how Sakurai and the team handle its online. Mario Kart Wii online was flawless never experienced and real issues with it. This game will be played until the next gen Nintendo Console comes rolling in so it would be nice to see what they could do with patches or even DLC.

hazelnut1112 said on June 27, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

I love that little jab Sakurai gave to Playstation All Stars. My god, I am really looking forward to this more and more.

TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

@18 So many people just read the article title and nothing else glad you read the whole thing then let it soak in. If I was Sakurai another reason I distance myself from labeling Smash Bros a fighting game is the FGC complains more than any other community in my opinion. Smash Bros is more of a hybrid fighting game and it doesn't need to be a traditional fighting game we have plenty of those.

Developers have tried to do there own versions of Smash Bros but have found out its not easy if you don't have the right gameplay aspects. @18 Its most likely true this very might well be the only Smash Bros game for Wii U based on history but maybe things will change depending on Wii U sales. So many fighting game developers do updates for there games and even though the Smash community would most likely be against it I wouldn't mind an updated version.

You know maybe a year and a half maybe two years after the initial release. Still if that doesn't happen DLC and patches could go a long way to extend the games life. I really wish Nintendo did give the Wii U more memory then it initially got. Whatever the case im glad that Sakurai is open to the idea of DLC/patches and now we just got to get him to open up about the netcode.

I really do hope his team his helping out with it because games like TTT2 had amazing netcodes. So I have my fingers crossed that the games netcode has been worked on since the beginning of development.

TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.

The last last one was mean for @24 not 18 sorry and wheres the Reddchief comment?

BumblebeeCody said on June 27, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.

@TheTHCGamer #26 and anyone else
I always considered Smash as a non-traditional fighter or as TrueGamingGuru put, a 'Platform-fighter'. Similar to: Power Stone, Sony All-stars, Viewtiful Joe Red Hot Rumble, Battle Stadium D.O.N and a few others. Whether people like it or not, this is a genre of fighting games that differs from the norm. Similar to First Person Shooter and Third Person Shooter. The small differences can change the way games play from each other. Smash sure as hell isn't a JRPG or Racing game, so it must be a (non-traditional)fighter.

Also, I never really had problems with Smash Bros online. There'd be the odd time I'd come across someone who made a mod stage with no danger zones which was annoying but the netcode was fine(to me).

TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.

@28 Random matches were atrocious this is coming from someone who played on a wired connection and bought the actual lan adapter from Nintendo. Sometimes you just want to jump online without the hassle of trying to get all your friends ready to play. As far as Smash you would have to be a damn fool if you didn't know that the inspiration for Smash Bros is nintendos version of a fighting game.

No its not your traditional fighting game but as i stated a hybrid that is a great change of pace from your traditional fighter.

MugenLord said on June 27, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.

@29 Thats what I like about smash because of its flexibility. You can customize the game to suit your needs and yes its a non-traditional fighter.

BumblebeeCody said on June 27, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.

OK yeah I forgot about the match making system. Once I got into a game, regardless of how many people were playing it seemed fine. But Nintendo in general are just crap at matchmaking and creating a decent social gaming network. One of their recent games Animal Crossing: New Leaf suffers from all the typical Nintendo matchmaking problems from back then.

roarmonster said on June 27, 2013 at 3:14 p.m.


I got bodied because people don't know what a Kappa is

Superboy said on June 27, 2013 at 3:17 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Superboy said on June 27, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Kijui said on June 27, 2013 at 3:24 p.m.

I remember when X-Play announced that Dedede was in Brawl, he instantly became my main. I really hope that the character customization is included on Wii U to an extent, with being able to make my own color costumes. I liked the story mode, it made me open up to character exploration and manueverability. SSE and Adventure mode were awesome in the fact that it made an attempt at bringing the characters together in a somewhat realistic fashion.

I wonder how they will come to life this time, maybe it'll be from portraits or coffee mugs or something.

DiegoBrando said on June 27, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.

People don't know what Kappa is lol

TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

@31 I was also referring to all the lag I ran into on a regular basis in random matches and it was such an issue that the Nintendo support forums where flooded with topics/posts about the lag. I didn't have a problem with friend matches because the people I usually played against live no more than 20 minutes away from me.

@30 I do love that aspect of Smash and its something I know for a fact I take for granted.

TheTTimeLives said on June 27, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.

I still believe that Melee was the favorite game between that and Brawl, even for casual players. It was faster, not as floaty, you could combo and every attack seemed to hit with a more impactful thud. Not taking into account any advanced techniques here for the hardcore players (like myself.)

However, everytime I read an interview with Sakurai, I respect every opinion he states. Even his jabs at PS Allstars and his love for Street Fighter and Fallout. I think people forget he is a gamer at heart and just wants to see this game be the best thing it can be.

And he's right about balancing more a middle ground player. The lack of turn over from people that buy fighting games to people that can actually play them online proves fighters could learn a thing or two from this.

xShonuffx said on June 27, 2013 at 6:53 p.m.

I love Sakurai's jab at PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal. LOL.

Rising_Jaguar said on June 27, 2013 at 7:49 p.m.

naww, it's abit sad to hear there's no story mode due to the
use of the internet; people uploading the intro's and endings online
rendering the story mode completion useless :(

personally i always avoided the net JUST to watch the intro/endings~
i even did this in sfxtkn with all 50+ characters -_-

TheTHCGamer said on June 27, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.

@40 If you want to avoid spoilers don't click on them and as you stated go dark because sometimes its good to avoid the net when to avoid spoilers. I know I go dark sometimes especially when its a game im really looking forward to that I don't want spoiled. All that being said more I didn't find Brawls story mode that great minus the cut scenes.

At first it was like cool a little platformer action but it was kinda generic just like how most fighting game single player story modes are. Kinda like how some of the past tekken games had some cool stories but the gameplay just got to repetitive. I played through Brawls entire story mode though to unlock all the characters and to watch the cut scenes

I have to unlock everything a fighting game has to offer before I really start playing it because I want to have all my options. In fact with every Smash Bros game I was usually the person who unlocked everything and then brought my memory card over so my friends could save the data. In other words I wont be really playing the vs mode really heavy until I unlock every character.

Script_Zac said on June 28, 2013 at 1:58 a.m.

"If we did that, you'd find yourself with PSASB!"

Shots fired?

lordrockman said on June 28, 2013 at 8:38 a.m.

what is a 100 man arcade battle?

Obanye said on June 28, 2013 at 9:52 a.m.

Party game


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