Smash Bros. creator irked by game stories

Stories in games have a nasty habit of getting in the way of play, according to Kid Icarus: Uprising and Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai. Sakurai outlined a mini-manifesto on gaming narratives in the most recent issue of Famitsu (translated by Polygon.)

"As a player, as someone who's been playing games for a long time, the stories that get told in video games are honestly irksome to me pretty often," he said. "For example, games that take forever to get through the intro and won't let you start playing, or games that go through the trouble of being fully voiced and wind up having their tempo all messed up as a result. I just want to enjoy the game and I think I'm just intolerant of aspects that block that enjoyment. I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already."

Sakurai wrote the entire script of Uprising himself. The personality of every character and boss was informed by its role in interacting with players, he said, a focus which would have been difficult to delegate across multiple people.

Sakurai said games that flip the equation and emphasize story to the detriment of play--say, by killing off a character players have invested significant time in, no matter what the player does--suffer.

"A game's story absolutely needs to match the content and the gameplay," he said. "In an ideal world, we could take advantage of this to provide new story developments that you'll never be able to see in other media."


  • Rub3z - February 16, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    "Sakurai no like too much story. Sakurai want play game. Sakurai hate ludonarrative dissonance." Yayyyy, ludonarrative dissonance!!! Seriously, y'all should look up what the term "ludonarrative dissonance" means, it's probably one of the greatest things I've recently learned about. I think every gamer worth his salt should be familiar with it.
  • RonnyLive19881 - February 15, 2013 9:17 p.m.

    I completely agree, one of the main reason I can't get through the Mass Effect games. Same goes for most American RPG's Lol
  • GANKUTSU-O-TAKU - February 14, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    I'm sure Sakurai would shoot himself if he had to play MGS4 while not being allowed to skip the cutscenes...
  • gadjo - February 15, 2013 2:39 a.m.

    Hell, I start to get an itchy trigger finger when I try to play MGS games (my friend likes them, and makes me try them), all I can think is "Yes, all of this exposition is fine, but stop going off on an anti-war rant in the middle of my espionage briefing. Would you idiots just shut up?" Seriously, this has got the be THE game that would benefit the most from a dedicated "Shut the hell up and get to your point!" button.
  • 7-D - February 14, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    I just replayed Vanquish and set the interface and language track to Japanese (which I don't understand) and it was actually better. Not sure if that say's more about my lack of interest in stories (or traditional 'plot style' storytelling) in certain games or Vanquish.
  • ultimatepunchrod - February 14, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Different strokes for different folks. I like stories in games (even bad ones). For me, they help push the game along in a more meaningful way than if it had no story at all. If the story is bad enough, I'll get to the point of skipping cutscenes, but for the most part, I enjoy just about any game story to a certain degree. That's not to say I don't like games with no story though. Lots of NES and Genesis games I grew up playing had no real story to speak of, and they were still awesome.
  • slimjim441 - February 14, 2013 12:12 a.m.

    'I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already.' He must have hated MGS4... ' killing off a character players have invested significant time in, no matter what the player does--suffer.' He must have hated FF VII... Also, to the commenters below, quit bitching about Other M. It wasn't that bad. It was by no means the best in the series, but contrarily to popular belief, it was actually playable and even *gasp* enjoyable. Not to point the finger at anyone here, but I've dealt with enough people who discounted it for shit without ever having played/beaten the damn game because people like G4 said it was shit, therefore: shit. I think I remember GR giving it a 7 or so, which, on a real 1-10 scale, not the popular- 10 = great, 9 = good, 1-8 = garbage, the real 1-10 scale, Other M was pretty much a 7. It was good, not outstanding. It had it's cheesy Sarah Conner narration moments, but if we can get past those for a Terminator movie, we can do it for a Metroid game.
  • shawksta - February 14, 2013 4:02 a.m.

    I only said he probably didnt like Other M just because of the Unskippable Cutscenes and the revenlance of them, i liked the game.
  • Anderjak - February 13, 2013 8:29 p.m.

    Didn't he write the story to Other M, which had unskippable cutscenes and frequently cut the pacing of the game to cram a poorly written and conceived story in the player's face and attempted to make the narrative the primary feature of a Metroid game, which had, up til then, been almost a pure-gameplay experience even with the Prime games? I mean, he's got some points here, but even with Team Ninja's involvement, his script was responsible for a lot of issues that he's complaining about right there.
  • adjory-thomas - February 13, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    He did not. Other M was written by Yoshio Sakamoto, one of the original creators of Metroid. Masahiro Sakurai has nothing to do with the Metroid franchise.
  • brickman409 - February 13, 2013 9:30 p.m.

    No, Yoshio Sakamoto wrote the story for other M
  • shawksta - February 14, 2013 4 a.m.

    WHAT, he makes Kirby, Kid Icarus Uprising and Smash Bros, you couldnt be anymore wrong.
  • TyeTheCzar - February 14, 2013 6:09 p.m.

    After reading his interview, I think maybe Nintendo should hand Metroid's reigns over to Sakurai. Other options would be Joakim "Konjak" Sandberg(Noitu Love 2, Iconoclasts) or Platinum Games(Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising). Konjak because of this video: and his track record for great 2D action games. Platinum because they know how to make excellent 3D action games with strong, likable heroines and a decent story(provided they bring back the MadWorld writers).
  • shawksta - February 13, 2013 4:44 p.m.

    I understand what Sakurai means but he has to realize its more on the point on where games would suffer if it wasnt for the story while others whose focus is the gameplay can already suffice if done right. Take Mario Galaxy 2 for example, it lost its background story from the original and barely has any type of story, but thats because the gameplay itself holds tight because of how innovative and always new each mission is. RPG's on the other hand are basically more of the same with upgrades along the way gameplay wise, to which, it needs a story to drive players to keep going, the same goes with simple gameplay games like Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick. Sakurai seems like the type that cares more on gameplay and i applaud him very much for his implementation of Kid Icarus Uprising, the fact that he wrote it himself despite what he just said is still amazing. It just depends on what exactly the strive is and at times Story is a pretty neat addtion, but who knows, he probably just doesnt like it when he cant skip cutscenes, $500 he didnt like Metroid Other M if this is the case XD
  • shawksta - February 13, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    Interesting to know.
  • ZuzuPachulia - February 13, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    In a game like Smash Bros, its all about the gameplay and nothing bout the story. For different genres, however, I do enjoy a good story.

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