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Sakurai discusses why Smash Bros. Brawl online isn't exactly thrilling any longer

Have you tried playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl online lately? If not, it's probably too late to bother with it much. There are players around, sure, but the "pros" tend to favor a strategy that's less than conducive to, well, having fun.

Here's how one guy, who wrote in to Brawl producer Masahiro Sakurai, put it: "The other day, I had my first run at Smash Bros. Brawl online play. What I found was that nobody ever went on the attack; it was like everyone was taking the approach of waiting for the other guy to take the offensive. There were no items, either. I wanted to shout at them 'This isn't how you do Smash Bros.'! As the producer, what do you think of fights like this?"

Sakurai — who's still recovering from a repetitive-strain injury to his arm that's keeping him from playing video games for the time being — took time out in his Famitsu column this week to respond. "The idea of Brawl's 'carefree brawling' motto was to get rid of as many restraints as possible and allow people to choose whatever play approach they liked," he wrote. "I'd like people to take some freer approaches with their gameplay, but the sort of battle style you describe in your letter is not interesting or fun. That's why I'll probably be thinking of a way to deal with that in the next game. We've learned a lot about net play since Brawl was released, after all, so a lot more is possible."

The director of games like Brawl and Kid Icarus: Uprising also admitted that his own team was more than a little at fault for this. "Of course," he said, "I suppose the fact that we've still got no-fee online battles available in a game that was released five years ago is another cause of the problem. It would have been nice if we could have revised the game rules as appropriate, but with the system we had, that wasn't possible."

It seems safe to say that the next Smash Bros., whenever it comes out, will have some more thought put into online play to keep the pros from taking all the fun out of it.

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