Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Wasn’t Developed With Competitive Players In Mind

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The Super Smash Bros. series has become one of the most popular on the fighting circuit with games like the Wii U version and the classic Melee being tremendous draws in particular. But that doesn’t seem to be the primary focus for Ultimate.

While speaking with the Washington Post, game director Masahiro Sakurai noted that while he understands the competitive side of the Smash Bros. series, that’s not necessarily its primary focus. “I feel like a game, at the end of the day, is about playing the game. But if we focus too much on the top level players - or the audience - then the game skews a little bit too much on the technical side,” he explained.

While Nintendo does have a competitive side with its Versus league, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to shift gears and work more towards that, according to Sakurai. “The philosophy behind them doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize money...it comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be.”

Furthermore, Sakurai talked about accessibility and how Smash Bros. is much easier for players to grasp than, say, Street Fighter II or other games in that series. “It’s not to say that Street Fighter is failing [by more fully embracing competitive gaming] by any means, but personally, I think any games with command inputs are difficult. The creator side is trying to raise people who do that...it doesn’t beat a game where you press one button to create a special move. I think that’s really easy to pick up for a lot of people,” he said.

Fighting fans are sure to enjoy it anyway, if only for the enriched mechanics that Sakurai and his team have put into the game. “I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it...And I know there were players who got tendonitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much...that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.”

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Regardless of the stance, Ultimate is likely to be a huge draw on the fighting circuit. And we wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo Versus introduced something to go along with that closer to the game’s release.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will release on December 7 for Nintendo Switch.