News: Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai said that his desire to implement “ad lib” in Smash Bros. led to the creation of an important aspect in the series.
The only fighting game I like is Super Smash Bros. mainly because the controls are easy. Unlike seemingly every other fighting game in existence, you don’t have to memorize and press long, convoluted series of buttons (e.g., press quarter-circle, X, Y, Y, A, LB, L2, B, circle, square, RT, R1, banana sign to do this move!).
Trying to pull off combos in a fighting game is just too hard and complex for my little brain to handle, and speaking to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in an “Ask Iwata” interview earlier this year, Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai expressed that he too has difficulties with fighting games. But more importantly, Sakurai explained how Smash Bros. is different than other fighters due to the “ad lib” element of the character damage system.
After remarking how Smash Bros. was the “antithesis to 2D fighting games,” Sakurai said:
When you hear fighting games, you can’t help but think of having to execute fancy combos.
Recently, I played a new fighting game that had a combo practice mode, but now matter how much I practiced, I could only do about 5 of the 16 available. Really, I was like, ‘I can’t play today’s fighters!’ I’m also not as young as I used to be.
But I had sensed that for a long time, so instead of asking players to pull off specific combos that require instant elaborate manipulation, I wondered how I could bring out an element of ad lib.
Fighting games seem to be about making specific combos, but I wondered how we could draw out that element of ad lib that I liked so much and thought it would be fun to have the reactions change every time. The result was putting in cumulative damage.
The percentage-based cumulative damage system makes Smash Bros. different than other fighting games since you’re not dwindling an opponent’s health bar; instead, you have to knock your opponent off stage, which gets easier the more times you land a hit. According to Sakurai, having this damage system changes the way players deal with a situation, and no doubt items, power-ups and environmental hazards play a big part as well.
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