The Next Smash Bros. Will Balance Casual And Hardcore, Creators Say

Illustration for article titled The Next emSmash Bros./em Will Balance Casual And Hardcore, Creators Say

If Super Smash Bros. Melee was for hardcore players, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl was for casual players, the next Smash Bros. game will fall somewhere in between, creator Masahiro Sakurai says.

This time around, Sakurai is going for the best of both worlds.

This morning, Sakurai and I had a long chat about all sorts of Smash-related topics, like third-party characters and tripping. I'll have a longer story up in the coming days about everything we spoke about, but for now I wanted to share a few words on the vision of the next game in Nintendo's massively popular mascot fighting series.

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I had asked Sakurai what sort of weaknesses he thought were in the last game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I asked what he wanted to fix for this new one.

"I would consider the changes that we're making this time around not as fixes, but that we're changing the direction," he said through a translator. "And so the vision for the overall balance of the game in Smash Bros Melee, it was sort of more focused towards more hardcore players. Then when it came around to making Brawl, this was a game that was targeting a Wii audience where there were a lot of beginner players, so it sort of leaned a little bit more in that direction.

"So now, for this time around, we're sort of aiming for something that is in between those as far as the speed of the game. Because I don't really think this time we're in a situation where we're trying to accommodate that many new players."

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Super Smash Bros. Goldilocks. Look out for more from my conversation with Sakurai in the next few days.

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DISCUSSION

I remember I was at a convention once with a game of Smash Bros. Brawl in the game room. It was mostly casual players... there was no one who constantly won or anything. We were playing with items on, all the stages, etc. It was a ton of fun. The mad scramble everyone went into when the Smash Ball appeared was probably the craziest part of the game, and it was kind of hilarious when someone finally got it and realized that, for one, they didn't actually know how to activate it, and for two, didn't really know what their character did. The game had actually gathered a bit of a crowd, all waiting to play, or just enjoying the show.

Gradually, though, a group of more hardcore players started to integrate themselves into the game. They weren't rude or anything... they asked if anyone minded if they turned off all the items, and no one wanted to be rude and honestly were maybe a bit curious about what the game was like without them, so everyone agreed. They were also very picky about which levels to play... they didn't go so far as to insist that every match be on Final Destination, but they definitely preferred the stages where nothing much happened. Gradually the crowd died down... there wasn't the clapping or cheers from the audience, there wasn't a long queue of eager players waiting to get in on the action. It was just a small group of hardcore players gathered, watching the screen with almost surgical precision and playing a breakneck game as best they could, pausing only occasionally to complain that the convention had Brawl but not Melee.

For them it was a richer, more involved experience, but the game just felt shut down for everyone else.