Smash Bros Creator Says Stories In Games Are ‘Honestly Irksome To Me’

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Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of Kid Icarus: Uprising and the Super Smash Bros series has taken to his Famitsu column to discuss video game narrative. Sakurai says that the majority of video game stories don’t actually match up with the gameplay, which actually makes gamers annoyed, rather than moved by the tale being told. He says he just wants to enjoy a game and thinks he is just intolerant of anything that block that enjoyment. Here’s what he had to say.

“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 wrote. “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.”

“For example,” he continued, “let’s talk about how, in RPGs and things, a character that you spent the game raising dies or leaves your party for the sake of the story. From a gamer standpoint, that’s dreadful; it’s totally unreasonable. In games where you’re fighting against enemies, you’re playing from the perspective of the hero, and you’re being asked to basically win every time. If players wind up in a predicament because of what the story calls for, that’s like penalizing them even though they made no mistake. As gameplay, it’s lacking.”

“[In Kid Icarus] I did it so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game’s advantages,” he explained. “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. Especially with a game like Kid Icarus, which features air battles where the gameplay, dialogue, and music needed to fully mesh with each other, it was vital that the story and game were one and the same and could easily be fine-tuned.”

A game’s story absolutely needs to match the content and the gameplay. 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.”


35 thoughts on “Smash Bros Creator Says Stories In Games Are ‘Honestly Irksome To Me’”

    1. He’s talking about better ways of telling the story. Instead of making these huge cinematic scenes between gameplay, somehow move it into the gameplay. Similarly to how Kid Icarus or Batman: Arkham City did. Make it more seamless and make it more your own than just another ‘movie like game’.

  1. If games were more like Kid Icarus Uprising, playing while the story progresses then the games would be alot better so I agree with him.
    I buy games to play not watch a movie.

  2. I agree. But if it’s something like Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 the story itself just completely makes it a wonderful experience.

  3. The story in most Nintendo games tend to be utter shit drivel, except for a choice few games which put emphasis on story. Kid Icarus’s story and voice-work were dire. Nintendo

    1. Seems legit, you’re obvious here to troll.
      Here’s a tip, it ain’t working, and nobody cares.
      Don’t say ” oh well obviously it did if you’re replying”. No. You didn’t get a reaction out of me, i just rolled by eyes and thought id bring you down a peg by making you see what a sad sack of shit you are.

  4. To an extent i agree on all he says, but the point about RPG’s and characters dying is something i feel makes a game more interesting, and uses gameplay and story telling together, like in Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7, and other non RPG games like The Walking Dead, although it is bullshit if you spend time upgrading that character, just to have them die, a problem FF7 and a probem Chrono Trigger DEFINITELY had.

    1. Eh, I really didn’t much for Aries. I perferred Tifa (obivious reasons). Haven’t played CT yet, but I’ll get it once Virtual Console comes to the Wii U.

      1. Yeah, but for people that did, it would’ve been pretty bullshit, but as a story it build it so much better, but in terms of gameplay, it’s kinda shitty xD

        Yeah, Chrono Trigger is great though, no spoilers but yeah

    2. I disagree, I feel if a party character dies if the game DOESN’T get tougher instantly then I’m disappointed. I should feel the hit of losing a teammate in more than just the narrative. It’s not enough just to feel the loss in a cutscene. I need to feel it in battle as well.

  5. If you want to have a huge ‘mature’ story in your game, the better way to do it is to go the Half Life route.

    No cut-scenes, just characters talking to each other in-game when they meet up to progress the story.

    We don’t need any more MGS4 type situations.

    1. +1

      I love Metal Gear, but 4 was just fucking boring…
      When you skip every cutscene and codec, the game is about 4 hours long, i think the Arsenal Gear level is literally one room, thats it, then the boss. Although…the microwave room was genius.

  6. No disrespect to Assassin’s Creed III, but it comes to mind. For example, I’ve heard people complain about how boring the first few hours is, due to the endless cut scenes. And with some games unfortunately, the cut scenes act more like fillers.

  7. At first I thought he was going to say that games do not need story. Good thing he clarified it as ”a good story is a plus, but must not get in the way of the gameplay”.
    Paper Mario Sticker Star utterly ommited the story aspect that is next to essential in a RPG and look how that turned out…

  8. He did Kid Icarus B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.L.Y so if he does something similar with Super Smash Bros. 4 That would be epic!!!! I am so pumperd for the game. I am expecting a kick-ass storyline now as well. With great character dialogue like in K.I :D

  9. Everything he said is true 1000%. Especially what he said about RPG’s. That’s what happened in Mass Effect 3 exactly. But I think that RPG’s can tell a story in a way no other medium can, when it works and is done well. No other medium can make you have such an active role and be the agent of the story and experience the ideas and characters and feel connected to characters and worlds like an RPG can in video games.

  10. Poor you, is this a good time to think about what you are actually after with your shawl? Do you want the kttniing challenge? Do you want something to keep your shoulders warm, in which case what about some of the beautiful capes/boleros?In the mean time I think your idea of a pin and having a look for a new pattern should be persued.

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