Sakurai: Some game stories 'honestly irksome'

Kirby and Smash Bros. designer Masahiro Sakurai not pleased with certain game stories; wrote Kid Icarus: Uprising entirely himself.


Industry veteran Masahiro Sakurai has penned a Famitsu column (translated by Polygon) in which the Kirby and Smash Bros. designer voiced his discontent for certain game stories.

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"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," Sakurai 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," he added

As an example, Sakurai said it is "dreadful" that some role-playing games abandon certain characters for the sake of story.

"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," he said. "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."

Sakurai further explained that sometimes it is necessary for a game to create story-focused obstacles for players, but balancing these is key, he said. The developer added that he had a tough time with this in Kid Icarus: Uprising, so he decided to write the entire script himself.

"I did it so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game's advantages," Sakurai said. "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."

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