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It was big news when Mashahiro Sakurai announced that he was finally resting after Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Well, sort of — instead of a full retirement, Sakurai decided to start a YouTube channel that talked all about the behind-the-scenes aspects of creating games. The latest video, however, stirred up a bit of discourse.

In the video, titled “Super Smash Bros. Brawl [Game Concepts],” Sakurai went over the history of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and what made him decide to create the Wii fighter. But he also made some statements that were seen as a bit controversial about competitive smash that left the esports scene in an uproar all over social media.

The Reason Brawl Exists

Before Sakurai was approached about creating a brand-new Smash for the Wii, Nintendo was looking into putting a Melee port onto the Wii. But Sakurai wanted to create an entirely new game that had more focus on online play and a bigger single-player mode.

Unlike the GameCube, the Wii was created with online capabilities built in. This was something that Sakurai wanted to utilize in Brawl, even though he wasn’t a huge fan of Smash being played online.

“I don’t think online play and Smash Bros. are a good fit for each other,” he said.

This immediately created tension in the Smash community, who already feel constantly attacked by Nintendo. The competitive Smash scene has long been considered grassroots due to its lack of support from developers. This has left Smash esports to financially struggle compared to other big games, creating a lot of hatred for Nintendo.

So to hear Sakurai say that Smash Bros shouldn’t be online struck a nerve. Melee God Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma tweeted a screenshot of the moment Sakurai discussed his disdain for online play, saying that the image “hurt his soul.” Of course, this caused other people in the Smash community to react negatively to the sentiment as well.

A lot of competitive players condemned Nintendo for not putting any effort into supporting online play, noting that third-party programs like Slippi have made it very easy to play Smash online, even older games like Melee. Others noted that other fighting games “figured it out” but Nintendo cares so little about the competitive scene that net code will never be addressed.

Said one Smash player: “Sakurai is coping so hard, they never gave online Smash an actual honest effort.”

But this screenshot was taken a bit out of context.

Sakurai Admits Brawl Is For Casual Competition with Friends

In the very next moment, Sakurai explained that online play and Smash Bros “aren’t a good fit” because he wanted people to play the game with friends and family in person. He wanted people to become “champions among their friends” not strangers online.

“Being subjected to online competition can cause people to lose confidence, which isn’t great,” Sakurai continued.

Sakurai even claimed that playing Smash too much and too seriously can cause injury. He mentioned pro players getting tendonitis.

It’s clear that Sakurai is not a huge fan of people taking Smash very seriously. Nintendo’s continued struggle to subdue the competitive side of Smash has been met with consistent backlash from pro players and esports fans alike.

Despite the instant negative backlash from Sakurai’s admission, others noted that Subspace Emissary is still their favorite single-player mode of any Smash game. The casualness of Brawl has created a lot of meaningful memories for players who felt accomplished beating the campaign.