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Sakurai believes players should understand why a game is fun in the first three minutes

In a new video as part of his game development series, Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai, explained that he believes when developing a game the player should understand why it is fun within the first three minutes, this seems to have provoked a lot of discussion online. While this makes sense for certain games like 2D or 3D platforms, some others which are trying to tell a cinematic story tend to start out a little slow before delving deep into action or feature lengthy cut scenes so players become engrossed in the game’s story. You can watch his video down below. Personally I aways enjoy getting straight into games and controlling the character rather than having to sit through a lengthy cutscene, but it really depends on the game. You can watch his new video here.

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8 thoughts on “Sakurai believes players should understand why a game is fun in the first three minutes”

  1. Idk this is sorta true to a certain extent games like Splatoon and smash takes time to learn 3 mins of gameplay can always make or break it for you anyway, same could also be said for Mario kart

  2. I feel like this is kinda entering into Miyamoto’s territory of stories being completely irrelevant to the game making process. Yes it’s irrelevant to sone genres, and some genres benefit better by having the controls introduced to you masterfully immediately, but some games just can’t do that. I feel like Ace Attorney kinda did this with the very first case of the series, but I only had the very slightest idea of what I was getting into.

  3. You definitely want the player to be controlling the character as soon as possible. Do they need to understand all the controls immediately? No. Bayonetta was an excellent example that was used in the video.

    Another good one I can think of is Dark Souls. You can move immediately and perform all actions but you learn each control step-by-step as you walk past soapstone messages. This is way better than say… tutorials that have you watch an explanation, ask you to press a certain button (or button combo) and you are pretty much frozen until you press the correct thing.

    It also helps if this stuff is introduced organically. I think Celeste was a good example of that in how it introduced the player to the dash mechanic.

    I can also see how this principle applies to the “end” of games. I’d say that’s why Sakurai always has some sort of player interaction or minigame during the credits rolls.

    Basically, try to minimize the moments the player has to idle/wait.

  4. I absolutely hate games with long intros and tutorials the whole time I’m just screaming in my head JUST LET ME PLAY THE DAMN GAME!!

  5. Completely agree. I don’t really see the appeal of sitting through a length cutscene before playing the game. If I wanted to watch a movie, I’d do just that. Notice that even God of War 2018 put you right in the playing, unlike the previous ones.

    If a game can’t get its point across at the first five minutes, then you have a mess in your hands. Nothing is worse than that.

  6. As a general rule, I agree with Sakurai for sure. Of course like most rules, there are exceptions, but i think when most players start a game thet want to be playing and enjoying it ASAP. Prolonged cinematic and story elements can be earned once players are invested in the gameplay of the game.

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