Developer Masahiuro Sakurai knows that Super Smash Bros. Brawl wasn’t fun online. But he wants to change that for the next Smash Bros. game, which was announced not that long ago for the Wii U.
Specifically, Sakurai is referring to the prevalence of defending online — players locked in a stalemate until someone goes on the offensive. Moreover, players were avoiding using items, essentially playing Super Smash Bros. more so to win than to actually have fun.
Sakurai addressed this problem in his most recent Famitsu column, saying that he’d like to try some different things with the Wii U version of Smash Bros. His column was a response to a fan letter outlining how the online component of Smash Bros. is no longer fun.
“The other day, I had my first run at Smash Bros. Brawl online play. What I found was that nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive. There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them ‘This isn’t how you do Smash Bros.‘! As the producer, what do you think of fights like this?”
Sakurai’s response does not include any specifics, but the Wii U’s improved online infrastructure should at least improve the matchmaking and the general ease of taking Smash Bros. online. Additionally, there should be some new features available to Project Sora that the Wii couldn’t offer.
Read Sakurai’s response below:
“The idea of Brawl’s ‘carefree brawling’ motto was to get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked. I’d like people to take some freer approaches with their gameplay, but the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun. That’s why I’ll probably be thinking of a way to deal with that in the next game. We’ve learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released, after all, so a lot more is possible.”
Although Smash Bros. releases practically once a decade (exaggeration), the franchise still has a voracious fan following. But apparently the magic of playing the game with 3 friends on the couch doesn’t quite equate to the online space.
How exactly Sakurai and the team at Project Sora will improve online multiplayer, without fundamentally altering the make-up of the game, is unclear, but just the fact that Sakurai is discussing multiplayer is encouraging.
Sony‘s version of Smash Bros., PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, took a different approach to gameplay, one that may have been better suited to an online atmosphere. We’re not saying Smash Bros. should copy All-Stars, but maybe they could “borrow” some of SuperBot Entertainment‘s general ideas, minus the lack of health bar and using only “supers” to get points.
How do you think Sakurai should improve Smash Bros. Wii U for online play? Do you think that Smash Bros. isn’t built for competitive multiplayer?