Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai has penned a column in this week’s Famitsu, calling on developers to tell better stories, and expressing his dislike for games that either tell weak tales or take ages to cut to the chase.
Translated by Polygon, Sakurai suggested that developers think more about a story’s accessibility and poignancy.
“A game’s story absolutely needs to match the content and the gameplay,” he wrote. “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.”
Story’s often stumble thanks to blockages such as poor design, he added, making games harder to relate to and become absorbed in. “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 continued.
“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.”
These issues and more – such as the culling of key characters to provoke emotion in players – is the reason Sakurai wrote the entire script of Kid Icarus: Uprising on his own. He added, “I did it so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game’s advantages.
“Every character, including the bosses, had their personalities shaped by their roles in the game, or the structure of the game itself. That let me develop the dialogue to firmly match the developments you encounter in the game.
“If I had had someone else write the story, I’d either have to keep explaining things to the writer whenever anything changed in-game, or I’d have to partition it away from the game and lose on that consistency.”
Now, I don’t recall Kid Icarus: Uprising or any of the Smash Bros. titles telling solid stories, but the man may have a point regardless. Let us know what you think below.