Why hasn’t Super Smash Brothers Brawl's online feature seen the same success that Super Street Fighter 4, BlazBlue, or other popular fighting games have seen in the online world? Is it because of the friend code system? Is it because online play introduces some severe lag into the equation? NOPE! According to Brawl's producer, Masahiro Sakurai, online matches aren’t fun because of one thing and one thing only: pro gamers.
This information comes by way of Sakurai’s column in Famitsu, via Polygon. Sakurai was asked, “The other day, I had my first run at Smash Bros. Brawl online play. What I found was that nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive. There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them, 'This isn't how you do Smash Bros.'! As the producer, what do you think of fights like this?”
He said, “The idea of Brawl's 'carefree brawling' motto was to get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked. 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. 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.
I suppose the fact 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.”
What do you think?