Sakurai on DLC: “It’s All About Making Players Happy”

sakurai-477

Hey there! Masked Man here, bringing you a full translation of Based Sakurai’s latest article in this month’s Famitsu. He talks about DLC in Sm4sh, offering a little insight into how it came to be and what he and the team intend for the future. Enjoy!

Note: In the original article, red is used for emphasis. It was changed to blue to improve readability on the blog.


Famitsu, Vol. 477
“The Creator’s Hands Are Alive and Well!”

In the Users’ Eye section of this magazine, “Sm4sh for 3DS” was the top scoring game of 2014 with an average of 9.58! Personally, I’ve never seen such high marks before, and I would like to thank you for your incredible support.

As I have mentioned in this column, Smash is made up of the incredible hard work and sacrifice of myself and others. I, too, acknowledge, that developing the Smash games is the best way to satisfy the most players worldwide.

And that is precisely why we decided not only to distribute Mewtwo, but to also reintroduce Lucas, the protagonist of Mother 3, as a playable character. In other words, we plan to release premium DLC (downloadable content) for Sm4sh.

These days, the “DLC scam” has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product. I completely understand how aggravated players must feel. After all, a game should be 100% done at the time of release, and I would be livid if it were split up and sold in pieces.

Why, then, do you think so many titles provide premium DLC on or shortly following a game’s release? It’s because that’s the easiest way to make money.

After all, if you wait too long after a game’s release to distribute additional content, players will already move on to the next title. Even long tail titles–that is, ones that perform consistently well over an extended period of time–make more money the earlier they come out.

The same goes for Sm4sh. We could have easily reserved a few characters on the current roster and later sold them as premium DLC. A considerable amount of work went into development, and the game would have already featured a ton of content. Plus, if you were looking to make a profit, DLC would be the way to go. Development is more costly than ever, yet the price of games has remained the same, so more income would help offset that imbalance.

However, the DLC we are releasing for Sm4sh is authentic, developed only after we finished working on the main game. Of course, said content will come to you at a premium as compensation for the work put into developing additional content post-production. Nintendo has the final say on the price, but given the number of man-hours spent on the creation of this DLC, I’d say it’s a great deal.

We originally decided to create Mewtwo on the premise that we would distribute him as a special thanks to users who bought both versions of Sm4sh, but we realized a flaw in our logic. For example, in a family with several children, each child might have their own 3DS but share the same Wii U. If we were to only distribute Mewtwo to those who purchased both versions of the game, only one of the children could play with this new character on his or her 3DS. Thus, we decided to offer Mewtwo as premium content for other users as well.

Moreover, we decided to release other characters as well because part of the fun of Smash is the anticipation: “Which character will join the fray next!?” If we keep distributing content, we can maintain that excitement, and I think that’s a really great thing.

Our team may have shrunk in size, but I’m still just as excited as ever to be pouring my heart and soul into my work every day. Given the different types of content we’re producing, it wouldn’t be surprising for the planning of one item to coincide with the development, balancing, and finalization of several others. We also have version updates, online features, and additional mode(s)[TN1] to worry about. It can be quite overwhelming, but it’s all about making players happy.

Fighters take an incredible amount of work to develop, so I don’t think we’ll be able to produce that many. Part of me would also love to finish up the project and finally enjoy some rest and relaxation. That said, we’ve already begun development, so I would like to provide as much additional fun and excitement as possible from here on out. We’ll continue working for a little while longer, so please stay tuned!

BOTTOM TEXT:

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
On the morning of April 2nd, 2015, we announced our plans to release premium downloadable content for Sm4sh. We will be accepting suggestions for future fighters via the Super Smash Bros. official home page until October 3rd, 2015.

Lucas
The once-timid protagonist of Mother 3 first joined the fray in “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Wii, and now returns braver than ever in Sm4sh! Like Ness, Lucas commands a wide array of PSI abilities like PK Fire and PK Thunder. His trusty friend Rope Snake also returns to lend a hand–er, tail–in a pinch!

JP Text:
本誌のユーザーズアイで「スマブラfor 3DS」が2014年におけるトップスコアをとったとのこと。なんと、平均点は9.58点!!そんな数字、個人的には見たことがないですよ。おおくの支持をいただき、ありがとうございます。

「スマブラ」はとんでもない苦労をしてつくられていることは、このコラムでもお伝えしている通りです。私も、世界中でもっとも多くのお客さんを喜ばせるには、「スマブラ」を作ることがいちばんの手法であると自覚しています。

そんな折。「スマブラ for」の追加ファイターとしてミュウツーを配信するとともに「MOTHER3」の主人公”リュカ”を配信すると発表しました。つまりDLC(ダウンロードコンテンツ)を制作、追加販売するということです。

”DLC商法”なんて言葉が蔓延していますね。後からお金を払わなければならない収まりの悪さ。そのお客さんの気持ちはよーくわかるのですよ。本来は全部揃って100%のものを、切り売りされたらまらないですからね。

発売日や近い時期にDLCがある作品も多いですがばぜだと思いますか?それは、そうすうことがいちばん売れる手段だからです。

ゲーム発売後に時期を置いてから配信する場合、そのあいだにもお客さんはどんどんつぎのゲームに移っているわけです。ロングテール、つまり長き期間をかけて売れるものだって、最初から出ているほうが商機はより長いわけです。

「スマブラfor」だって、製品に入っているいくらのキャラクターを最初に出さず、DLCで販売することはできました。かかったコスト的にも内容的にも十分なものを備えていると思いますし、利潤を求めたらそうするに限る。いまの作品はコストがすごくかかるのに値段が据え置かれているので、メーカーとしても助かります。

しかし、「スマブラ」のDLCは正真正銘、本編開発終了から制作を開始しています。全力を注いでソフトを完成させた後、制作力、運営力を維持するために対価をいただくことになります。価格は任天堂で決められますが、かかったコストの割にはお得だと思います。

ミュウツーはもともと”両機種買った人へのサービス”を前提に制作を決定しました。ただ、これだと問題があります。例えばWii Uは家庭に1台で、3DSは兄弟でそれぞれ持っていることがあります。両機種へのサービスのみだと、Wii Uに1体、3DSに1体しかミュウツーを配れなくなり、兄弟で個別に遊べませんよね。なので、ふつうに購入もできるようにしました。

そして、以降のキャラクターを追加する理由ですが「スマブラ」はやはり何のキャラクターが参戦するのか、その思いを馳せるのが楽しいゲームなのですよね。配信があることで、その楽しみを持ち続けていられるのは、とてもよいことだと思います。

チームは縮小しているものの、わたしもテンションを落とさず、日々力を注いでいます。各コンテンツの完成時期の違いから、新しい企画と、制作や調整とマスターアップが同時にやってきます。パッチやオンライン系、追加モードもあるのでたいへんですが、これも世界のお客さんが喜ぶため。

ファイターの制作は非常に手がかかるので、そんなに多くは量産出来ないと思います。わたしも、ポロジュクトを終えてスッキリしたいと思いますし。しかし、一度取り組むと決めた以上、なるべく多くの楽しみを提供していきたいと思います。今後しばらく、がんばりますのでご期待ください!

大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズfor Nintendo 3DS/WiiU」のDLCに関する発表
去る4月2日早朝、任天堂による新作紹介放送、Nintendo Direct 2015.4.2にて世界同時に発表された。新たに追加参戦してほしいファイターについては、「スマブラ」公式サイトのて2015年10月3日まで募集している。

リュカ
ちょっびり気弱な「MOTHER3」の主人公。シリーズの前作にあたえう「大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズX」で新登場した。PKファイヤーやPKサンダーといった、PSI(超能力)とヒモヘビを駆使してたくましく戦う。

Famitsu Vol. 477

TN1 – Japanese doesn’t have singular or plurality, so 追加モード could mean one mode, or many.

Masked Man

The Smash and Mother series make me very happy. POtEntial!
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65 comments

  1. That’s pretty great to hear from Sakurai. I do agree that DLC is a great way to get players to be excited for the game again. And actually, I think Nintendo’s DLC tends to be underpriced (this is especially the case for Mario Kart 8).

    Here’s a little prediction on my part: from Mewtwo onwards, there will be a new fighter every 1.5~2 months, and development will continue until late 2015 or even early 2016 if the October cutoff is indicative of anything. We could end up with anywhere between 6~10 DLC fighters and, hopefully, stages and other stuff. Actually, I do want additional stages and modes more than characters.

    Also, two tiny typos found:
    去る4月2日早朝、任天堂によ [ろ] 新作紹介放 [送送]、Nintendo Direct 2015.4.2にて世界同時に発表された。

    1. お疲れ様です! Thanks again for pointing out any mistakes that you find. By the way, did you get my e-mail?

      1. I didn’t know you sent me an email until I saw this. I don’t check it often.

        I’ve replied there.

  2. I think the most interesting thing Sakurai mentions here is when he talks about different DLC elements influencing each other, because that can’t just be about the new characters. We know about Miiverse, and the extra stages from the 3DS update, but it’s nice to get a confirmation (well, “confirmation”) that it’s going to be broader than just characters.

    I’m not sure I’m quite as confident we’re getting so many DLC characters as nocturnal is, but it’s increasingly clear that he’s been taking a much longer plan than must of us had originally assumed. Even though it’s not a pure competition, the ballot implies Nintendo’s testing which characters to look at now, so there’s likely time planned for characters who haven’t been decided on.

    As for the Nintendo’s prices…while they’re high, it’s also good content – Mario Kart 8 basically increased the number of courses by 50% (and they’re good courses), and it wasn’t like it was desperately wanting for more of them.

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