It’s been a long time since eccentric game designer Masuhiro Sakurai discussed his first project for Nintendo Wii U, the much-anticipated Super Smash Bros 4. The designer has stayed silent since last summer when he revealed that the game was actually being developed by a crack team of Namco creators responsible for both the Tekken and Tales series, but he offered up a hint about how online play will work in the brawler when it releases.
A reader of Japan’s Famitsu magazine contacted Sakurai to find out how online play in Super Smash Bros 4 would differ from the online fights in Super Smash Bros Brawl on Wii. The reader’s complaint was that when encountering random players online, they would typically engage in a standoff to see who would make the first move. “Nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive.”
Sakurai responded in his column that he recognizes the problem. “I’d like people to take some freer approaches with their gameplay, but the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun,” said Sakurai, “That’s why I’ll probably be thinking of a way to deal with that in the next game. We’ve learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released, after all, so a lot more is possible.”
The designer even said that he would have liked to patch Brawl, but fixing online multiplayer on Nintendo’s technologically archaic Wii platform wasn’t possible. “I suppose the face that we’ve still got no-fee online battles available in a game that was released five years ago is another cause of the problem. It would have been nice if we could have revised the game rules as appropriate, but with the system we had, that wasn’t possible.”
The online play in Super Smash Bros 4 will have another first for the series: Console versus handheld fights. The game is in development for both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, allowing players on both devices to take each other on. As for when the game will actually be out, Sakurai and Nintendo remain mum. Nintendo said during a recent Nintendo Direct presentation that it would show screenshots of the game at E3 2013, which is not encouraging in regards to a speedy release.