Sakurai, Ichimura discuss Smash Bros., Kirby, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Dragon Quest, attracting new gamers and more

Posted under 3DS, General Nintendo, News
August 25, 2010 by (@NE_Brian)

The latest issue of Famitsu featured a discussion between Smash Bros. and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai and Dragon Quest series producer Ryutaro Ichimura. The two had a lot to say, and covered various games/series such as Smash Bros., Kirby, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Dragon Quest. Additionally, the two talked more broadly about gaming and conversed about such points as attracting new gamers. You can check out what the two had to say below.

“A lot of people around the world have interacted with Smash Bros., and a lot of Japanese people have interacted with Dragon Quest. In that aspect, they’re both games that’re easy to approach and easy to play with.” – Ichimura

“Kirby’s Dream Land was the first game I ever made, but I had no intention of making it a mainstream game. I really narrowed down the audience to beginners only. That’s because, at the time, no matter how much fun the Super Mario Bros. games were, they were still too tough for normal people and kids. I could feel people drifting away from games, and it bothered me. In the midst of making Kirby, a lot of the team started wondering if we were maybe making it too simple. But I think it was necessary for us to consider people who hadn’t played a game before, and I think doing that earned us fans that wouldn’t have been around otherwise. That’s the same creative approach I take with Smash Bros. It hasn’t changed at all today.” – Sakurai

“I grew up playing the Dragon Quest games ever since I was a grade schooler, and they served as a gateway to this great new realm of gameplay called RPGs to me. I’ve gone from playing them to making them, but I can’t afford to let myself forget about what it’s like as a player. I need to make a game that anyone young or old can pick up and unwittingly get addicted to.” – Ichimura

“The thing I always have the most difficulty with in DQ is the hero character, who never speaks and never gives his own opinions. If the hero shows his own emotions, that runs the risk of alienating the player.” – Ichimura

“We generally don’t have the characters talk in Smash Bros. either. That can makes things interesting sometimes, or maybe boring sometimes… With Brawl, we had game modes that played out with the story, and they wound up being like these silent films where we had to keep each character’s personality but couldn’t have them talk. It’d be easier to have them talk, but that’s unfair to the characters in the game who can’t talk, so we decided to keep all of them silent instead.” – Sakurai

“I don’t think there are many games today that really attract new people. That’s why I think games need to be simplified a bit. Kid Icarus might be called a FPS or a third-person shooter, but if you took someone who didn’t know games and gave him the latest FPS and a controller with ten buttons and two analog sticks and told him to start playing, he’d never be able to. That’s why Kid Icarus is really easy to control. It gives people who gave up on the genre a chance to take a step back into that world. Even though I’m a pretty hardcore gamer, I think that’s very important.” – Sakurai

“That’s something you can do because you’ve delved so deeply into the genre and are so familiar with essence of what makes it fun. You’re able to lower your sights precisely because you have a heavy gaming habit. I really understand that, but as a producer, I suppose my approach is different. The way I see it, the main issue before us to figure out how to make games proliferate in the realm of entertainment. One way to do that is position the game front and center, then prepare a bunch of alternate entryways that aren’t games, like manga or anime or merchandise. Having all these entryways results in a single piece of entertainment, and as a producer, I feel it’s my job to link all that together.” – Ichimura

“I suppose our root motivation is the same. Kids and normal people can’t create games, so that’s why we’re here to make them instead. We need to keep ourselves aware of that going into the future.” – Sakurai

Thanks to Robert for the tip!


  • Meh

    “no matter how much fun the Super Mario Bros. games were, they were still too tough for normal people and kids.”

    Stopped reading there. I definitely was playing and beating the original Super Mario Bros. when I was like 4, as were several people I know.

    • Ryan

      You shouldn’t have stopped reading there. It was a very enticing piece in my opinion. And sure, you and some people you knew could get through Super Mario Bros. without any trouble at a young age, but I know literally hundreds of people that struggle to get through that game! You can’t honestly say that without a lot of dedication and skill, anyone could beat world 7-4

      I suggest you give this article a second chance.

    • Extreme-Brah

      I agree Meh. Well guess I won’t be getting Kid Icarus Uprising…
      I hope all 3DS games aren’t like this =(

      Getting real sick of Nintendo doing this player friendly sh!t.
      But they don’t care. it’s always about the money with them.
      Now that I think about it skyward sword is going to be player friendly… =_=’

      • Ponkotsu

        Accessible controls do not make games too easy. And most gamers don’t find punishingly difficult games fun. It’s not that difficult to piece together.

        New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s the product of this kind of philosophy too, and it’s hardly a cakewalk.

        You can’t really blame them for wanting a large number of people to enjoy themselves over pushing painfully difficult experiences out the door that most players will find completely alienating. People do game for fun, after all – typically not because they feel they’ve got something to prove.

        Just some things to think about. :)

  • bob

    i love to hear what sakurai says

  • Chopperdude

    “we had game modes that played out with the story”

    You only had one game mode that played out with story and that was SSE which sadly was a failure in the end.

  • phantomexe

    That kind of scares me there. I hope the game not going be to easy ><

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