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Smash Bros. Melee was "too difficult"

Nintendo picks apart its classic fighter.

Nintendo's classic GameCube scrapper Super Smash Bros. Melee was "too difficult", according to the game's creator, and any future title in the series will not be aimed at the same hardcore crowd.

Masahiro Sakurai told Famitsu (translated by 1Up), "I had created Smash Bros. to be my response to how hardcore-exclusive the fighting game genre had become over the years. But why did I target it so squarely toward people well-versed in videogames, then?

"That's why I tried to aim for more of a happy medium with Brawl's play balance," he explained of the excellent 2008 Wii follow-up.

"There are three Smash Bros. games out now," he continued, "but even if I ever had a chance at another one, I doubt we'll ever see one that's as geared toward hardcore gamers as Melee was.

"Melee fans who played deep into the game without any problems might have trouble understanding this, but Melee was just too difficult."

"If we want new people from this generation of gamers to come in, then we need it accessible, simple, and playable by anyone. You can't let yourself get preoccupied with nothing but gameplay and balance details.

"That's where the core of the Smash Bros. concept lies, not on doggedly keeping the game the way it was before," he concluded.

While he might have overdone it with the difficulty curve, Sakurai went on to explain that he's still a big fan of his 2001 masterpiece.

"Melee is the sharpest game in the series. It's pretty speedy all around and asks a lot of your coordination skills. Fans of the first Smash Bros. got into it quickly, and it just felt really good to play."

Sakurai also revealed a little about the effect the game's intense development period had on him.

"On a personal level, Melee had an extremely grueling development cycle. Some of my other games did, too, but Melee sticks out far ahead of the pack in my mind.

"I worked on that game for 13 months straight, after all, without a single Sunday or holiday off that whole time. During parts of it, I was living a really destructive lifestyle - I'd work for over 40 hours in a row, then go back home to sleep for four."

Next up from Sakurai is Kid Icarus: Uprising for the 3DS, due some time next year.

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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Super Smash Bros. Melee

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.