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Sakurai on how Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS came to be, not opposed to DLC, patching, why Villager/Trainer are in, more

Posted on June 25, 2013 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, News, Podcast Stories, Wii U

Puissance Nintendo posted its interview with Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, which was conducted at E3 2013. Sakurai talked about how the Wii U and 3DS versions came to be, DLC, patching, why the Villager and Wii Fit Trainer made it in, and more. Sakurai’s comments can be found below.

Sakurai on how the new Smash Bros. came to be and differences between the two versions…

While the development of Kid Icarus: Uprising was at its end, Satoru Iwata came me propose to develop the new Smash Bros game, and asked me if he should be on 3DS or Wii U. We were arrived at a point where the series could not evolve too, and we wondered if the passage on handheld console was the solution. In the past, we have increased the number of characters and arenas, but this was not enough.

At that time, we could have chosen to develop a 3DS version only, but we realized the presence of several limitations. I am referring to the fact of playing a game like Super Smash Bros.. on a small screen. Thus, even if it is not easy to develop two versions simultaneously, we chose to adapt the game experience to the specifications of each platform.

Even though the characters will be the same in the version Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, the arena will be completely different. In the 3DS version, they are based on games released on portable consoles, while Wii U, arenas are based on articles on home console games.

Sakurai on whether or not the developers are the same for both versions and if there’s a lead platform…

The team is the same for both versions, which are being developed in parallel. There’s no “lead platform” strictly speaking.

Sakurai on technical limitations in handling the 3DS for Smash Bros…

There are several aspects to which we had to reflect in order to offer a pleasant experience on both platforms.

Take the Nintendo 3DS version for example, we thought about the proportions of the body of the characters, and we have adapted all over its home console equivalent, in order to make a little more easily recognizable characters on a small screen. It is same for the deformation of the hands.

This purpose is to make the experience of comfortable play on 3DS.

Sakurai on Smash Bros. connectivity between Wii U and 3DS…

Data backup of the two versions will be completely separate, but there is a certain degree of interaction, since it will be possible to transfer data on the various characters from one version to the other.

Sakurai on DLC…

Oh, it is not as if I did not like the DLC, it is just that I do not really have the time to think. I’m too busy to work on the game and to include a maximum of content. The goal is to propose a complete and interesting gaming experience for players.

In principle, I am not opposed to the DLC. I loved those proposed for the game Fallout 3, for example.

Sakurai on why music has been so important to Smash Bros…

I think it is a matter of respect. I have great respect for all these characters, and the experience that people have been playing these games. I believe that music plays an important role in this experience, and so in order to please fans of these games and original series, we need to recreate the same music to match their memories and their expectations.

Sakurai on the importance of involving the artists/composers working at his side…

I never really decided that one specific person was appropriate for a given situation. But in general, what I do is that I talk with people who have composed the original music for a game, like the composer, for example, and I ask them how they would like to contribute to the project. In general, we find an agreement, and they come to compose the special versions of their music for Super Smash Bros. games.

Sakurai on why he gets so personally involved in play-testing his games…

I am afraid that the answer to a question like this is so essential to the nature of my work, sometimes I have much trouble finding a suitable response. I can explain it this way: develop a game is much harder than it looks at first glance, seen from the outside.

This is why I believe that the Director should enormously engaging and interested even in the smallest details of a game, each element of gameplay. This is why it would be very difficult for me to develop a game in a different way.

Sakurai on patches for the new Smash Bros games…

It is difficult to say at present, but rather obviously, we always try to keep the best balance. Nevertheless, I do not yet know if it will be really easy to patch these games once they will be released. For example: you have a person with a patched version of the game, and another with a non-patched version. If these two people play together, do they meet no problems? We will have to do extensive research about it.

That said, I think the patches are an important tool to maintain the balance of a game, once this last released. As you surely already know, the reputation of some characters, who are considered weak or powerful, is something to which players are very interested on the internet.

And sometimes, you have to ask if these perceptions are correct, or if people simply to join a popular opinion and to follow the movement. We really want to make our characters each have their specificities, with statistics that compensate their strengths.

We want to highlight these individual characteristics, but at the same time, players must also be asked whether they accept the reputation of a character on the internet. This is something that we will also have to take into account when creating patches.

Sakurai on whether or not the new Smash Bros. will have less content but will be more polished…

Until now, I am always considered myself personally responsible for specificities of each characters, from the balance at all, so I came to create each attack separately, for each display. But it is a task that I have to share with others this time, so if ensure that the right balance is found for this game.

In the past, I have often been exceed, and this is something that I now try to avoid. Of course, working on such a game is really very time consuming as much as we are currently developing two different versions. It will therefore have plenty of time to refine everything, and achieving the required balance. Of course, I always assume my duties as Director for these two games, and I test every aspect of the latter, but I also try to not take care of each task by myself. I just try to focus on things that I am the only one to occupy me.

Sakurai on whether the new Smash Bros. can be considered more “casual” or competitive…

If you consider as ideal Melee for experts from fighting games, who are interested than by the competitive aspect VS Brawl, which is more suited to newcomers seeking to discover the series… then perhaps we should strike a balance with the new Super Smash Bros. game. ?

I does not change the combat system, but rather to take account of the level [of each player]. Mario Kart is often described as the perfect example of the game accessible to players of all levels. The series has its own gameplay mechanics, which reduce the difference in level between the players.

But Smash Bros. is a radically different series from Mario Kart: it must find its own mechanics to provide a similar accessibility level, and thus to propose a neutral playing field to novice players as to the expert players. Nevertheless, it is still a game that requires some experience to master: we simply want to ensure that everyone can have fun with.

Sakura on whether or not the new Smash Bros. will include something similar like the Subspace Emissary…

in fact, we do not expect to include a similar story mode this time. As you already know, Smash Bros. has a large number of different characters, which were entitled to their own cutscenes in the story Mode. These were supposed to be rewards for players finishing this mode with each of the characters.

I think it was something fun for the players, but at the same time, all the cutscenes finally found themselves on the internet. Players watched them online, which was not really sticking with what we had originally planned. It is for this reason that we are not going to do something similar this time.

Nevertheless, we expect well introduce new characters with cinematics of introduction, as we already did for the villagers of Animal Crossing Mega Man or even the coach WiiFit. We have several ongoing collaborations to propose several cutscenes of this kind there.

As you have already seen with the coach WiiFit, that we unveiled earlier this week, I really like the idea of presenting new characters with cinematics, before the release of the game. But have a development cost associated with them, and I therefore can’t make precise promise.

Sakurai on revealing fewer elements before the game’s release compared to Brawl…

This time, we will not share as much info than [for Brawl]. You will have information about the characters via the official website, with images, but we will not always have very detailed info, as in the past.

Sakurai on the level of customization in the game…

You can still manage the appearance of items, but you cannot disable the damage caused by the stages. If we propose such an option, it might as well be PlayStation all-stars!

Sakurai on whether or not players will be able to create their own content such as levels or characters…

I’m sorry, but we cannot talk about this at the moment.

Sakurai on why the Villager and Wii Fit Trainer are being included…

The first thing I want to say about these characters, it is that it is very fun player with them, and I understand why everyone thinks that Mega Man is suitable perfectly to the series.

But when we think about the characters to include in Smash Bros., we ask ourselves the following question: “What that this character can do, but that existing characters cannot be?”. And so, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the villagers of Animal Crossing and the WiiFit coach could do. I then realized that there were many possible interesting things with these two characters.

Sakurai on whether or not he takes into account other people’s requests for characters…

in fact, I would indeed like account requests from fans. But the phase during which I am collecting this kind of information is already complete, and we are currently integrating this content to the game. We always try to incorporate a maximum of content in our program.

Sakurai on his favorite aspect of developing a Smash Bros. game is…

I think that it is thinking about the game itself, system by seeking ways to propose a neutral playground for players of different levels, that I enjoy the most. I want to create a gameplay that is interesting, and make sure that players are never bored requires a lot of efforts. As this is difficult to manage in the development… I would say pretty much everything else!

Need to say that we need to manage a large volume of content, and we must therefore think hard to balance everything: the difficulties are many. That said, even if create a game like Smash Bros. requires a lot of effort, the game really worth the effort, and this is why I always do evidence very seriously in my work.

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