One More Step : Why SSB4 Should be an E-Sport
Dear Nintendo & Sora,
First of all, we’d all like to thank you for the amazing Invitational tournament, and your outstanding support for the Smash community. It means the world to us to have your support, and makes us very excited for the future. SSB4 is looking to be a beautiful and fun game, and we can’t wait to play it.
As enormous fans of the Super Smash Bros. games, we would like to do our part to share what we think would make SSB4 the best game it can be. Naturally, “best” is a relative term, and we understand that our ideal game isn’t necessarily the best for everyone. However, we think there is a huge potential for SSB4 to be a competitive E-Sport, which would be amazing for everyone!
Smash Bros. is a party game at heart, so why make it into a sport? The short answer is: so more people can enjoy it! Sports are amazing things that can be enjoyed in many different ways. They can be enjoyed as a casual party game with friends, or a fierce competition on the world stage you prepare for years to compete in. Look at beach volleyball. While it’s an Olympic Sport, it’s also commonly enjoyed among friends on a trip to the beach. Not only does a sport allow for many styles of play, but it allows people to enjoy it by watching!
If the invitational tournament is any indication, people will love to watch Smash competitions! Those who don’t want to play can still enjoy watching a sport, and even taste success and failure by cheering on their favorite athletes. Seeing it played by amazingly skilled athletes can inspire people to give the game a try, or to try and improve at it. Watching sports is a fantastic group activity as well, one that everyone can enjoy. Finally, watching and playing sports can bring people together, and form life-long friendships. This is something the Smash community knows well.
SSB4 is already very close to being a fantastic sport! A huge fanbase who would love to watch the game already exists. Many skilled players, like those invited to the tournament, are eager to play the game and show their skill. There are already so many options for how you play the game, and the idea of “For Fun” and “For Glory” as separate ways of play are well established. It’s beautiful, action packed, and exciting to watch! We implore you to take one more step, and make SSB4 the best E-Sport it can be.
What is this final step? Mainly, we want SSB4 to be an offensive game. Not only would this make the game much more enjoyable to watch, but it would also make the game more fun for everyone to play. If offensive action is rewarded, players are much more likely to engage in exciting battles with each other. If defensive action is rewarded, players become afraid to attack, and not much will happen. Action is fun to watch, and fun to be a part of. Chasing a defensive player around a stage is frustrating and not fun for any player, competitive or not.
Offensive play should have an edge over defensive play, as doing so will result in more interesting games – both for those watching and those participating. There are many ways of promoting offensive play, and I’m sure you can come up with creative methods we haven’t even considered. We do have some suggestions, however.
First, have more movement options. Having more ways of moving quickly, and more options for what you do immediately after moving, allows the player to more easily be offensive. If there is only one bridge the enemy can cross to attack, it is easy to defend. However, if there are 5 or 6 paths down which the enemy can approach, perhaps it would be wiser to attack first, rather than reacting to their movement. What we’ve named L-cancelling and Wavedashing in Super Smash Bros. Melee are fantastic examples of mechanics that open up options for the aggressor. While we are fond of those, there are of course other ways of adding options and allowing movement that feels powerful.
Second, having combos. Combos are an exciting and very satisfying reward for successful offense. They are amazing to watch, and make you feel very skilled and powerful if you pull them off. Melee had not only a great potential for comboing, but a great counter-tactic in being able to influence where you fly when hit with an attack. Even when you set up a combo, if your opponent out-wits you, you won’t be able to carry it out. This creates the opportunity for a very powerful reward, but also allows the player being attacked to deny that reward by playing well, even after a mistake. Thus both players are in a position of power and influence and no one is waiting to be able to do something, even when being comboed. Not only does it encourage offense and give the players more power, but it makes the game very exciting to watch, since you never know if the combo will be successfully completed or not.
We have many more suggestions, which of course we would be happy to provide. However, the talented minds behind this game are more than capable of making SSB4 into an amazing E-Sport if they think about rewarding offense and promoting exciting matches. Thank you for taking the time to listen to your fans, and for creating the games we love so much. We hope to continue playing your games for many more years to come.
For those interested in E-Sports and Smash Bros., I highly recommend watching some matches from the MLG Anaheim 2014 or CEO 2014 tournaments on youtube.
Written by TLHM, Lead Programmer for Serenity Forge.