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“Smash is Special – Part 1” Sakurai’s Famitsu Column Vol. 557

Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs, link to this translation, and credit Source Gaming. The following is a selection from Famitsu. This translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect the opinions of Masahiro Sakurai. If you enjoyed this article, I would strongly encourage you to support Sakurai by buying his books

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NOTE: We decided to revamp one of the paragraphs.

NEW: We had a choice between completely overhauling the game systems and feel, or working off of what we had established in the last game. We ended up going with the latter. If we went with the former, we might have ended up with only a third of the fighters we have now. Had we gone down that route, surely some fans would have complained and said, “I preferred the way it was last time.” We’ll have to face that decision again someday, but I decided that now was not that time.

OLD:First, I was faced with a decision: create a completely new game system, or build off of pre-existing ones. I went with the latter; had I not, we might have ended up with only a third of the fighters we have now. Some people might still end up preferring an earlier title, but I decided to put that thought aside for later and focus on the more important tasks at hand.

We felt the new version better reflected what Sakurai actually said. Thank you.


Smash is Special – Part 1, Vol. 557

Originally published in Famitsu on June 21, 2018

 

On June 13th, we unveiled a ton of information about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I often doubt myself while working on the game, questioning whether we can really release it within the year. The first proposal was completed in December 2015, back while we were still working on DLC for the previous title. It wasn’t until later that I assembled a team and began development on this new title in earnest.

Many of you are likely already aware, but the concept for this entry is total inclusion: “Everyone is here!”

Every single fighter that has ever appeared in the series is back and better than ever, ready for you to take into the fray. Talk about a deal!

Being able to include every fighter is a real luxury, and–knowing that opportunity doesn’t knock twice–I seized the moment and twisted some arms to make this dream a reality. Thankfully, the folks at Nintendo agreed to help, despite the risks involved.

I’ll delve deeper into that topic in Part 2 of this article. This time, I’d like to discuss the overall concept of the project, as well as a few of its key elements.

We had a choice between completely overhauling the game systems and feel, or working off of what we had established in the last game. We ended up going with the latter. If we went with the former, we might have ended up with only a third of the fighters we have now. Had we gone down that route, surely some fans would have complained and said, “I preferred the way it was last time.” We’ll have to face that decision again someday, but I decided that now was not that time.

That said, I still increased the overall speed of the game, but only by an amount that wouldn’t be alienating to people unfamiliar with Smash. After all, we haven’t seen a huge influx of brand-new gamers like we did when the Wii was released, and the on-screen movement is much easier to follow on the Switch than it is on the Nintendo 3DS.

For example, the knockback speed has been increased. Even when launched a short distance, a character will fly off very quickly then suddenly slow down. Reducing the time while incapacitated has helped improve the flow of gameplay. I wanted to include this change in previous entries, but I gave up because it was so easy to lose track of your position, especially on the 3DS. I’ve also increased fighters’ initial jump speed, reduced aerial landing lag, and made a slew of other changes that will accelerate gameplay without making the game itself too “hardcore.”

Zelda’s new design is based on “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


I’ve also increased the amount of damage dealt in one-on-one matches
because there are fewer opportunities to strike your opponent in comparison with free-for-alls. I think this should help improve the pace of two-player matches.

I’ve decided to limit the number of fighters initially available to the original Nintendo 64 roster. This will keep the process of unlocking new challengers fun and exciting, but I suppose it’s a bit of a hassle in comparison with other fighting games that allow all players to fight under the same conditions from the get-go.

Personally speaking, I find that, when I pick up a fighting game, I often put it down before I get around to playing all of the different characters. The more characters there are, the more that go untouched, and the less strategic things become, so it’s hard to say that simply adding more characters is a flawless idea. However, Smash is a character-based fighting game, and there are plenty of players out there eagerly awaiting the opportunity to play as their favorite character. I wrestled with this problem quite a bit while deciding whether to include everyone.

Take racing games, for example. Rather than allow players to use any car from the very beginning, I feel it’s more enjoyable from a gaming perspective to have players earn winnings from races and purchase new models that way. This type of game enables players to develop a strong attachment to the cars they acquire. I’ve included a similar process in Smash by which each unlockable fighter is obtained. Collecting every model in driving games is merely a dream for most players, but rest assured: I won’t be doing anything quite that difficult. I’ve come up with several methods for unlocking fighters, so it should be comparatively simple.

A few other remarks:

Players now select the stage before selecting their characters. This allows them to consider a fighter’s compatibility with the field of battle. If you set the rules so that the loser picks the next stage, this makes for a fairer competition.

All of the stages feature both Omega and Battlefield versions. Their respective size and shape are exactly the same for each stage, so players are free to duke it out to their favorite tunes in the environments they love.

The amount of stages, music, and items included is greater than ever before–but I suppose that goes without saying. All the stages and items have been remade from scratch and vastly improved.

I could go on, but it might be easier for you to simply watch the Smash presentation from E3. See you next time!

30 comments
  1. Hey, thanks for another great translation! Sakurai really pours his heart out on columns particularly pertaining to Smash.

    A quick question – although most people I’ve talked to think the former, does the original text imply the full Original 12, or just the starting Original 8 for the ‘the original Nintendo 64 roster’ (if such a difference is even conveyed in the original text)?

    31ghtb1ts3rvant on June 20 |
    • This is what I most want to know as well. Many of us assumed from the Direct that it would be the starting roster from 64 even though the actual dialogue never indicated that. Personally I’m excited to see this confirmation that we’re going to start out with just the Smash 64 characters and unlock everyone else over time. I think that’s awesome! But I’d love to know if it’ll be the original 8, or if we’ll start with the full 12 at launch.

      Zantok on June 20 |
    • The way it was presented in the video leads me to believe Luigi, Ness, Jigglypuff and Falcon will be the first to be unlocked, all at once.

      Dan on June 20 |
  2. Thanks for the translation! Looking forward to part 2.

    GreatMeat on June 20 |
  3. “Take racing games, for example. Rather than allow players to use any car from the very beginning, I feel it’s more enjoyable from a gaming perspective to have players earn winnings from races and purchase new models that way.”

    I see people wondering whether the translation implies that you have to actually purchase new fighters with earnings or if he just meant it figuratively as a comparison. I don’t have access to the original Japanese text so can’t help answer their question, but it may be worth noting for that particular line for those who are curious. : )

    xkan on June 20 |
    • He says he has come up with “several methods” for unlocking characters, so you probably earn the characters directly by completing various criteria rather than with currency earned through gameplay

  4. This puts so many of his previous statements in context. I remember when he was talking about how you could change the gameplay, but it’s the characters themselves that bring excitement, and now we see here that he decided to focus on the characters. Moving forward I’m expecting the next game to take a different approach, both with lowering the number of characters and changing the gameplay. Great read.

    Link on June 20 |
  5. Question, does this mean that Sakurai’s character roster would have been completed by December of 2015 (assuming he goes with his usual approach of having all characters set in stone early), or would that just be the first proposal, with a little more time beforehand?

    Anime9001 on June 20 |
  6. Maybe Masahiro Sakurai Might be Able to Add One of the Newcomers for Smash.

  7. This is cool, I can’t wait for part 2! One thing I would like to mention however (I don’t want to sound petty about this though, so I apologize for this nitpick), is that in the Direct it was brought up that Zelda has her A Link Between Worlds appearance. However, this article says that she has her A Link to the Past design. Again, I don’t want to be rude, but I think this is because A Link Between Worlds is know as “The Legend of Zelda: Battle of the Gods 2” in Japan, as a sequel to A Link to the Past. Just want to throw that out, thanks for translating this!

    ZYoshiYoshi64 on June 20 |
    • well, her ALBW design was based off her Alttp anyways, so it is technically not wrong whether you say it is based off one or the other. i believe it takes elements from both designs anyways.

      FireSonic on June 23 |
    • Her ALBW design is based on her Alttp design anyways, and the smash ultimate version seems to take elements from both designs here.

      FireSonic on June 23 |
  8. Minor detail: Zelda is actually base on her “A Link Between Worlds” version. That aside, thank you very much for this translation!

    Pablo Velasquez Campos on June 20 |
  9. Just a quick fix. Under the Zelda screenshot it states “Zelda’s new design is based on “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past“

    It was from Link between worlds.

    Ethan Hildebrand on June 20 |
  10. “Zelda’s new design is based on “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past“ ”

    Actually “A Link Between Worlds“, if any. No seriously it’s “A Link Between Worlds“ not “to the Past“.

    Nowonmetube on June 20 |
    • In Japan, “A Link to the Past” is stated as “Kamigami no Triforce / Gods of the Triforce”, while “A Link Between Worlds” is numbered as “Kamigami no Triforce 2 / Gods of the Triforce 2”. Sakurai stated that the design is from “A Link to the Past / Gods of the Triforce”, since he didn’t use “2” before the Japanese title. It’s possible NoA have mistranslated it, or possibly Sakurai meant to be both 1 and 2 since both Zelda uses similar design.

      zoniken on June 21 |
      • Yes that’s what I’m saying. They mistranslated that. But thanks for clearing that up.

        Nowonmetube on July 11 |
  11. “First, I was faced with a decision: create a completely new game system, or build off of pre-existing ones. I went with the latter”
    I dont understand this. In the context of smash this is a completely new game system, isnt it?

    dough on June 20 |
    • It’s obvious he means he built this upon Smash Wii U’s engine.

      MagcargoMan on June 21 |
  12. I find it odd that Sakurai has yet to bring up that Smash Ultimate has a stage hazard toggle, as it’s been a wanted feature for years. He didn’t mention it here or at E3, instead calling attention to the Omega and Battlefield variations. I wonder if there’s a reason for that.

  13. Zelda’s design is based on A Link Between Worlds, not A Link to the Past.

    Andrew Schulte on June 20 |
    • Let me quote some guy, because I said that already:
      “In Japan, “A Link to the Past” is stated as “Kamigami no Triforce / Gods of the Triforce”, while “A Link Between Worlds” is numbered as “Kamigami no Triforce 2 / Gods of the Triforce 2”. Sakurai stated that the design is from “A Link to the Past / Gods of the Triforce”, since he didn’t use “2” before the Japanese title. It’s possible NoA have mistranslated it, or possibly Sakurai meant to be both 1 and 2 since both Zelda uses similar design.”

      zoniken on June 21

      Nowonmetube on July 11 |
  14. I imagine Sakurai just said “Kamigami no Triforce”, which could just refer to either the SNES game or be a shorthand for Link between Worlds, which as others said is called “Kamigami no Triforce 2” in Japan. I don’t think it’s incorrect to translate it as LTTP, even if Nintendo of America chose Link Between Worlds.

    Mayama on June 20 |
  15. I really hope there’s a Story Mode🙏🙏 nd not like Melee that you had to do Classic Mode various times to unlock characters

    Oziel Prado on June 20 |
    • Honestly, as someone who doesn’t have much interest in fighting story modes in general, I hope there is not.

      GreatMeat on June 21 |
    • I’m wondering if Smash Run will return.

      Ar on June 22 |
  16. Are all items and stages returning or not? Wording is confusing. I want to see red shells, barrel cannons, and old pokemon like BEEDRILL return!

    gameboyblue on June 21 |
    • According to the Famitsu report (https://www.famitsu.com/news/201806/13158957.html), he stated that he may not bring the entire stages from the past games, but will bring a lot instead. I do suspect they removed Pyrosphere since Ridley’s now playable. Don’t know about the items though…

      zoniken on June 21 |
      • I don’t know why Pyrosphere should negate Ridley given how the Ridley in Other M was a clone of him.

        MagcargoMan on June 21 |
        • Exactly. Or just do a Spirit Tracks toon link disappearing act.

          gameboyblue on June 27 |