The creator of the Super Smash Bros. series of video games, Masahiro Sakurai, has said that the latest installment in the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was designed and optimized not just with the game’s esports scene in mind, but with the rest of its casual player base as well.
In an interview with Nintendo Everything, Sakurai said that while he is receptive to Smash Bros. being a part of the esports community, he also thinks that “it is not the only good way for people to enjoy the game.”
Smash Bros. is one of the oldest esports titles that is still being played today, with the first entry in the series, the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, released way back in 1999.
Since then, the series has been a mainstay in the fighting game esports scene. Some of the older installments of the series such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, released in 2001, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, released in 2008, are still part of competitive circuits even to this day.
However many expect that, with the release of Smash Ultimate earlier this month, even the dedicated fanbases of the older games will eventually migrate to the latest entry in the series.
While Smash’s dedicated esports community has played a big part in keeping the series relevant throughout the years, he insists that they are just a part of a greater whole that he, as the game’s creator, must first accommodate.
“I did my best to implement stages and items to that end. I’m of the opinion that there’s no limit to how you should play; I didn’t focus on only improving certain areas of the game,” said Sakurai.
The ‘esports’ way of playing Smash has long been largely different from how the game is normally played. One of the biggest differences is that items are not used in Smash Bros. esports. Even so, Sakurai knows he cannot forego one for the other.
“I really want people who like esports to be satisfied with the game, but I want beginners to feel the same way as well,” he added.
It may be that Sakurai already got what he wanted, as Smash Ultimate has been, well, a smash-hit. The game has received critical acclaim and a whopping 93 rating on the review aggregator platform Metacritic. It has also been the fastest-selling game in the series, with 5 million copies sold worldwide in just three days after its release.
The game’s mainstream success is most likely going to carry over onto the esports side of things as well, with Smash Ultimate projected to be one of the esports titles to make a breakthrough in 2019 due to it being one of the most-anticipated games of this year.
All this goes back to what the game’s creator said about his approach to designing his creation, with Smash Ultimate having been optimized not just for esports, but for everyone. The former came from the latter at first, after all.
“In the end my only hope is that the game reaches all kinds of people,” added Sakurai.