You’ve got to read Sakurai’s take on serious Smash play.

Smash 4 producer Masahiro Sakurai announced he would be taking “an extended vacation” in a recent edition of his long-running Famitsu column, according to translators at Source Gaming. Please read the whole translation there, while I have linked two paragraphs, there’s plenty more in the original post that you should read.

At long last, the development on Smash for has ended!! To all of the staff who were involved in this project, thank you for all your hard work. To all who supported and followed the game and its development, thank you so very much. Personally, I’m happy I can finally take an extended vacation.

Going through the entire post, however, I ran across a larger theme for the article, which could be summed up as Sakurai’s reluctance to deviate from the tent pole elements of Super Smash Bros as a franchise. This next passage gave me the weirdest realization about casually accessible games becoming serious esports by its player-base’s sheer will:

What [the relatively high average playtime] means is that the game can wear you out pretty quickly every time you play. If you turn on items and visit a bunch of different stages while playing with a group, things will unfold differently every time, so there aren’t a lot of problems. However, there are a lot of people who enjoy serious matches, and in order to win, they’ll narrow down the number of fighters that can be used, and that diminishes some of the breadth of the game.

This sets up Sakurai’s explanation for how he has approached designing the game from the original releases to the most recent batch of DLC characters—including a certain witch—which is to say, he can’t be held responsible for what tournament organizers and theory crafters do to restrict the ruleset to make Smash 4 a fair game in the competitive scene.

There are other tidbits in there not just about stereotypical players of the greater competitive scene but more aspects of Smash 4 that have been even mildly controversial. Important Sakurai points to be on the lookout for include:

  • His insinuation that players who play only one game mode are not fans of the game
  • An assertion that including new fighters in the game is a serious branding issue
  • His claim that post-launch DLC fighters are intended to be more powerful by design
  • And more!

If I come back to Source Gaming repeatedly in the future, I’ll definitely be contributing to Source Gaming’s Patreon. If you read news from them on the regular, you should probably start pitching in, even if it’s just a little bit. The alternative is display advertisements… which ends up not really being an alternative at all.