Sakurai discusses the importance of character balance in Super Smash Bros.
Within this week’s Famitsu, Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai has discussed the importance of balancing the characters within the incoming Wii U and 3DS iterations.
“Now that Sunday’s day off is past, I’m currently working on the character adjustment for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U,” Sakurai explains.
“At the moment, Bowser is very strong. He’s really strong. Fans of Smash Bros. probably never saw him as too much of a strong character, but this time, his ability to knock others out is very strong!”
Bowser’s strength apparently sees him able to send his opponents flying through the air, especially on the receiving end of his Smash, special or air attacks. Sakurai feels that this feels great to perform, and that feeling has been the core of developing the game. Although it is important that players don’t come to believe that certain characters are overpowered, which has seen Sakurai and the development team spend a lot of time adjusting these stronger attacks.
“Doing things like simply ‘lowering the performance’ can make games lose its fun,” he continues. “Additionally, making a strong attack weaker can take away from the ‘good feeling.’ By making adjustments that get rid of all advantages and disadvantages, it can turn a game into a mediocre one without any challenge.”
This is something that he has discovered playing other games, comparing it to the depth necessary when crafting an RPG. Whilst there is much to take into consideration, simply choosing to make enemies either stronger or weaker doesn’t address any underlying problems. Not that he can address everything, saying how it is difficult to balance everything when the game varies between four-player free-for-all matches to one-on-ones.
“Rather than directly weakening an attack’s advantageous parts, we’re putting effort into keeping them strong, while adding other weaknesses to them,” Sakurai discusses. “Like giving the attacks punishable openings, or weakening the character’s mobility or recovery rate. We’re making comprehensive adjustments to characters, even for parts that might seem completely irrelevant.
“The game balance of Super Smash Bros. Brawl started six years before its release, and it most likely goes back even further during its time of development, and it’s never been reformed even through the updates afterwards. We’re at a stage where we’d like to release the new title as soon as possible, and offer something more enjoyable than ever.”