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Masahiro Sakurai reveals what the reasoning and approach behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's final balance patch was

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • December 2, 2021 at 1:01 p.m. PST • Comments: 7

The world saw the final DLC character and major content update for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate drop back in October when Kingdom Hearts' own Sora was released and officially closed out Fighters Pass vol. 2. Just yesterday, fans were handed the conclusion of another aspect of the game, this time with the final Smash Bros. Ultimate balance patch.

It is a natural inclination for players to wonder why the developers made the changes that they did, but often times the intent is not something we have the luxury of learning. In a surprise turn of events, however, Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai actually took to Twitter to not only confirm that this is indeed the last balance update for the game, but to share the central focus for the balance changes made.

"With this, the balance adjustments for this game have come to an end," wrote Sakurai in Japanese on Twitter (with translation courtesy of our very own Nicholas "MajinTenshinhan" Taylor.) "Thank you for your hard work to everyone involved with the game's balancing."

What Sakurai said next gives us insight into what the team looked at in order to make the decisions that they did for character alterations. Apparently, top player representation and online character usage factored in here.

"We looked at top players' used characters as well as the average online usage, and believe that the implemented changes will be largely reflective of what players have been wishing for."

Over the last few years, the Smash Bros. development team has been very tightlipped on the why of balance changes. Unlike other fighting game companies that will oftentimes provide a brief explanation or a full live stream to cover why they made the decisions that they did, Nintendo and the Smash team have earned a reputation for not sharing this information so much so that Sakurai has become the center of a meme that sees the creator randomly choosing who gets buffs and nerfs via throwing darts.

To close the book on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though, Sakurai came through one last time with these key details about the final balance patch.

While fans expected the 13.0.1 update to be a small patch with mere bug fixes, the reality was actually 24 different fighters seeing significant changes. Contenders like Wario, Cloud, Ryu, Inkling, and Steve from Minecraft were hit with balance tweaks, and naturally, the latest DLC character, Sora, also saw alterations made to him.

One of the only other times we can remember Sakurai sharing insight on the approach to balance changes was back when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was first released. In one of his Famitsu columns back in January 2019, Sakurai divulged some of the statistics of online win rates and usage, and noted that these were taken into account for character adjustments.

"Please keep enjoying this game which features a huge jumble of main characters (ish?) from a wide variety of different titles battling it out!" concluded Sakurai in his tweet.

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