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Super Smash Bros. Director Sakurai Says "Fairness" Is Overrated

In a new design-focused video, Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai says that designing characters to be "fair" will produce a boring game.

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Super Smash Bros. players are well-known for their strong opinions on character balance, and it seems that Masahiro Sakurai is no different. In a recent video on game design, Sakurai says that trying to make everything "fair" will produce a less interesting game. Or, as he puts it: "Average and mediocre are the same thing."

In the video, Sakurai explains that having characters with different sets of strengths and weaknesses gives the game a sense of "push-and-pull." He cites an example of a Mario vs. Mario mirror match--while it resolves these "balance issues," it also creates a static experience. He also calls the internet an "echo chamber of sorts," stating that players tend to believe community opinions of relative strength, even when they aren't necessarily true.

To support his arguments, Sakurai revealed some interesting data regarding the relative win rates of each character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online matches. He reports that the highest win rate of a character in the game is 51.43%, while the lowest is 47.18%, a difference of around 4%. The director is clearly happy with this data, concluding it as follows: "any fighter has a shot at winning a match." So, the next time your hardcore Smash friend makes fun of you for picking a low-tier like Little Mac, try sending them this video.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest entry in the series, first came out in 2018 and received regular DLC updates until late 2021. While the future of the series is unknown, Sakurai said in a video released earlier this year that he's working on another project, which may indicate that Smash 6 is in development in some form or fashion. Sakurai did say he was going to step away from the series after Ultimate, but indicated last year that he "can't imagine [a Smash game] without me." So, if there is another Smash game, it's almost certain that Sakurai will be involved.

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