Super Smash Bros. Creator Sakurai’s Opinion on Online Multiplayer for Games

The creator of Super Smash Bros., Masahiro Sakurai, recently made a shocking statement, indicating that online play does not blend well with the fighting game series. The inclusion of online play in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the strongest yet for the franchise, however, the subject of online play has been a polarizing one, with some believing that the series should remain a strictly in-person competitive experience.

In 1999, the first Super Smash Bros. title was launched exclusively on Nintendo 64. At that time, playing video games online was becoming increasingly popular on computer systems, yet console gaming was yet to provide the option of wired internet connection for years. As a result, Super Smash Bros. was only playable as a local multiplayer game for up to four people. Super Smash Bros. Melee for Nintendo GameCube lacked support for online play, but this was finally introduced with Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008.

During the past 10 years of Super Smash Bros.’s success as an offline multiplayer game, an opinion has been shaped by the community as to how the game ought to be played. This appears to be shared by the creator of the franchise, Masahiro Sakurai, as he recently expressed in a “Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games” YouTube show. He made it clear he didn’t think that online play and the game go hand in hand.

Super Smash Bros. devotees may be taken aback by Sakurai’s opinion. He remarks that one of the best elements of the game is that “champions among friends” can be crowned. On the other hand, he believes that playing online can lead to a lack of assurance. It appears that Sakurai considers offline play to be beneficial for both the game and the individual.

In reference to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai acknowledges that online play can be less than perfect, which he attributes to lag in the game’s network. He also alludes to the fact that this is partly due to the restrictions of the Nintendo Switch hardware and multiplayer server technology, but maintains that if it is his job to do it, he will do it, regardless of his personal opinion.

It’s possible that if Sakurai had stuck to his original game development philosophies, Super Smash Bros. may not have included online multiplayer. There is a portion of the fan base who may have preferred that. However, the addition of online play has made it much easier for a larger and more diverse crowd to enjoy the game’s multiplayer features. The next installment of Super Smash Bros., whenever it arrives, could very likely feature even more comprehensive online support.

Switch users can now pick up a copy of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.