Sakurai Won't Tailor Super Smash Bros Ultimate To eSports Players
In gaming, there are a lot of unofficial "levels" that gamers fall into. For example, if you play games occasionally, and likely only play them to have a little fun, you're often called a "casual gamer". In contrast, "hardcore gamers" are those who are defined by the games they play, the companies they support, and the knowledge of the industry that they have. In terms of fighting games, there are typically two tiers. Those who play for fun, and those who play so they can enter tournaments and win money. Many wondered whether Super Smash Bros Ultimate would be a bit more tailored to the esports community than the previous two entries, we know now that the answer is "no".
This comes from the creator of the franchise himself, Masahiro Sakurai, who noted to the Washington Post that though Super Smash Bros is a revered fighting game, and is used in numerous esports tournaments, they're not going to make the game a certain way just to accommodate those players.
Why is that? Well, according to Sakurai, it doesn't line up with Nintendo's views on what games are: “It comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be.”
Nintendo has always been a company that has put the fun and happiness gamers can have with titles over wanting to make the "next big thing", in fact, they do it naturally and sometimes unintentionally without having to sacrifice who they are as a company. This also reflects the history of Smash Bros as a franchise, as originally, Smash Bros was another game entirely, and Sakurai, along with the late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, decided to change it up and put Nintendo characters in the game instead. The title was meant to only release in Japan, as they didn't think people would like it, but when sales skyrocketed, they knew they had to release it to the world, and the rest is history.
And while Melee is the game most esports players, and many casual players, feel is the best Smash Bros game because of its technical prowess and game speed, Sakurai sees things a little differently. He's seen stories and tales of gamers hurting themselves while training for such events. He also thinks that many are leaving Melee for the other Smash Bros games because of the esports aspect of it.
Sakurai even calls out games like Street Fighter (of which he is a big fan of) for their complex control scheme. Noting that Smash Bros was designed so that anyone could play and press a simple button or two-button combination in order to do a special attack. There wasn't a need to do a complex set of commands.
None of this is to say that Super Smash Bros Ultimate won't be a big esports title, it likely will be in many ways. But when it comes right down to it, that's a bonus for the game, not a focus.