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Monday, November 17, 2014

Sakurai Vs. Miyamoto: The Brawl

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The Brawl about Brawl.

Not that you need a reminder, but Super Smash Bros. For Wii U comes out at the end of this week. It's a big deal, especially since KoopaTV will have nothing to write about starting 2015 since half our articles are about Super Smash Bros. and every new development. We'll try to manage.

But let's go back in time a bit. Like, eight and a half years: It's E3 2006 (it was in MAY back then), and Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Solid Snake were just revealed. Shigeru Miyamoto (who wasn't 62 back then — happy birthday?) and Masahiro Sakurai (who was older than he is now) were answering questions about the new and promising Nintendo Wii system and this new game. The transcript is here. They made some forward-looking statements that we can now evaluate for accuracy.

As expected, our favourite developer had different views on quite a bit of issues than one of our least favourites, including controls and a story mode.

Masahiro Sakurai and Shigeru Miyamoto smash it out versus Nintendo developers

Going in order here: Miyamoto wanted everyone to use the Wii and its new controller, which he deemed as "the reset button on play control". (Which, in 2014, you can tell has failed miserably. Hey, at least it lasted longer than Hillary Clinton's "Russian Reset" flop!) Wanting the Wiimote to be the new standard for videogaming is a contradiction to what Miyamoto said several years earlier, which was "Get accustomed to the GameCube controller because, 10 years from now, this controller will be the standard." Masahiro Sakurai tried to maintain that sentiment, though, by telling you not to throw out your GameCube controllers! (And in 2014, we are about to use them once more for the next Super Smash Bros. game.)
Miyamoto was right in 2002, and I guess he went senile 4 years later.

Sakurai actually believed in expanding the base of the Wii by not forcing the motion controllers to the games. ...Yeah, the guy knew what he was talking about long before the Wii had problems. If only they listened to Sakurai...

Sakurai didn't comment on this, but what Miyamoto said here was pretty interesting:
"So I think that people have an idea of what it looks like when you're playing videogames, and there's a stereotype that you're in a darkened room, and there's a young kid, and they're sitting in front of a TV gripping a controller, the light of the TV is kind of reflecting on the child's face, and it's kind of a negative image but it's a serious result of playing videogames and I think with the Wii controller we're trying to erase that image."
Who else in Nintendo said that kind of thing? Former president Hiroshi Yamauchi. Yamauchi acknowledged the issue, and Miyamoto wanted the Wii to eliminate it. Well? The results?

With the Wii U, we're pretty much back to the pre-Wii era, except instead of the TV light reflecting on the kid's face, you now have the Wii U GamePad screen itself reflecting on the kid's face. And I'd know. It's reflected on MY face before! So I guess Miyamoto managed to erase the TV part. ...But... Is that really progress?

Speaking of progress, here is the bit on story mode, in Miyamoto's words:
"This is actually something Mr Sakurai and I have had a difference of opinion on since the very first Smash Bros. game. Mr Sakurai always wanted to have a very deep single-player game, and on the N64 version I just said to him, you know, we've got plenty of very deep single-player games, why don't you hurry up and just focus on multiplayer and don't worry about the single-player."
Sakurai wanted a richer single-player experience in Brawl (Subspace Emissary) than the Adventure Mode in Melee. And it happened that way. (And it didn't happen that way in Super Smash Bros. 4 despite every indication that it would.) Miyamoto is one of those, "Does a fighting game really need a story?" people. (This is the same man who asks if an RPG needs a story. ...And then actually went through with that line of thought and got one of the biggest disappointments of this generation, if not of all time, released.)

No, a fighting game doesn't need a story, but if you're not going to take advantage of one of the only times Nintendo will have a crossover (that is not crappy DLC) and make every fan-fiction writer's dream come true, you're doing a disservice. (My dreams are among those. See Events of Star World.) Sakurai was cognizant of that, while Miyamoto is not even aware of it because he does not think characters matter. Miyamoto does not see the value of making games about characters: He has "toxic gameplay-first philosophies" and puts in characters after.

Miyamoto later states that since Brawl has plenty of development time, they can spend that time making the single-player mode. Is that why Super Smash Bros. 4 does not have one? ...Lack of development time? Sakurai DID seem very concerned about making deadlines this time around. After all, that flimsy "oh the cutscenes are on YouTube" excuse never really did seem legitimate. Smash Tour takes a lot less resources to make than an expanded Subspace Emissary, you know. Even if they have the assets from Smash Run to actually have Nintendo enemies instead of the Subspace army.

Despite what it may seem to many disgruntled folks, between Sakurai and Miyamoto, it is clear which developer has the foresight and the players in mind. Miyamoto is only getting older and older (happy birthday again) and more senile, while Sakurai's Brain Age is a solid 20 with no indications of getting higher. Everything Miyamoto has said he has gone back on or has been wrong about. Can you really trust that man to keep leading Nintendo's design philosophies?

Ludwig is a Sakurai acolyte, and he despises Mr. Miyamoto. His favourite system and controller are the GameCube, and he's been playing games for many years to know what he likes! You can Follow him on Miiverse at NNID PrinceOfKoopas. That NNID is also your ticket to being able to play Super Smash Bros. For Wii U.

Sakurai does not think Miyamoto would be a popular character in a Super Smash Bros. game if he were a character.
Later, Reggie Fils-Aime does battle with Miyamoto on how to launch the Wii.
Afterwards, KoopaTV portrays a philosophical clash between Masahiro Sakurai and Reggie Fils-Aime on who game companies’ competitors are.


  1. I've also heard that Sakurai was all pissed at Miyamoto because he revealed some things about Treasure Tracker and Sakurai said that "Smash Bros is the most important game right now, your game with the annoying Mushroom can wait" and if you've seen the description of the Toad trophy in Smash Bros, the description like, rips Toad apart, it's not very nice XD Sakurai WAS the one who was te director of Smash Bros after all, which supports that rumor I heard. They've been at eachother for a long time now

    1. That's interesting. I haven't heard that.

      Tonight's article will continue this theme, though.

      ...I'm just distracted from writing it because, uh, I lost my 3DS stylus and am looking for it.

  2. ^autocorrect fail... I meant the*

  3. I hope you find your stylus! I hate it when mine gets lost, I'll just keep looking until I find it... The struggle XD

  4. Yay! Now you can get back to writing your article.


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