A lot of fans have their own thoughts an opinions, for better and worse, on all the Super Smash Bros. games over the years. As it turns out, so does the game’s director. Masahiro Sakurai did an interview with The Washington Post that ran over the extended holiday weekend, and there are a few very specific comments he made about Super Smash Bros. Melee and the game as an esport that caught the attention of a few people. Throughout the piece, the interview goes over the technicality of the game, which Sakurai eventually comments that Melee was too technical of a 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,” Sakurai said. “And I know there were players who got tendinitis 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.”
But the commentary about the series didn’t stop there, as Sakurai also tackled the idea of the games being popular in the esports community and spawning their own competitions without Nintendo’s help. Apparently, he’s not a fan of it, or at least not a fan of the idea that people have taken the game and turned it into a competition where people play for money.
“The philosophy behind them (esports) doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize money,” Sakurai said. “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.”
Reggie Fils-Aime did comment later in the piece that he’d like to see Super Smash Bros. Ultimate succeed in the tournament space — even though the company has no plans to get involved and host tournaments themselves, which goes in line with what Sakurai said. But ultimately, Sakurai made it clear that he wants the game to be accessible for everyone so that it isn’t just a game to be enjoyed by the super-skilled.
“When you talk about audience, I don’t really think too much about the audience per se,” Sakurai told The Washington Post through a translator ahead of the game’s unveiling at E3. “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.”
Those are some pretty specific thoughts that tend to fly in the face of the game’s current fanbase. It should be noted that Sakurai is not a Nintendo employee, so rather than following the company line, he tends to speak his mind about subjects he’s passionate about — even if he knows they’ll probably anger a few people. We’re sure no one will take any of that out of context, blow it out of proportion, or scream about it on social media.