Sakurai’s Famitsu Column Vol. 498: Letters from the Readers #44


Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please paraphrase and link to this translation. For additional information, please read this postThis translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect the opinions of Masahiro Sakurai.

For Famitsu scans, please check out Japanese Nintendoor follow Bri Bri on Twitter.

Note: I changed “Shoulder Bash” to “Shoulder Ram” in order to match the Why Does Wario Fart? (Link to moveset breakdown)

(The reader asks Sakurai why Wario’s Shoulder Ram was changed to a punch in Smash for Wii U/3DS)

You have a good eye! In summary, [I changed it] because I wanted to make Wario stronger. As I was making Smash for Wii U/3DS, I wanted to improve Wario, but his Shoulder Ram was a body blow; essentially, the attack was a moving hurtbox and was easy to mess up. There was no reach, and it was a difficult attack to use without Wario stepping off the edge. Since Smash attacks—especially Side Smashes—often decide matches, I changed the move in order to make Wario stronger.

If I only included things true to the original source material, then there would also be times when things wouldn’t mesh well. I always reflect on things that went well and things I want to improve with every Smash, but I think it’s most important to prioritize a game’s enjoyability!  

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  1. “Because I wanted to make Wario better”? Then just make the friggin’ attack better. It’s his most iconic move! It would be like saying: “Link’s Bow and Bomb and Boomerangs are too bad, so instead of buffing them, I’ll just remove his most iconic tools”.

    And he says “If I only included things true to the source material, then there would be times when things wouldn’t mesh well”. How the heck is that? Wario’s Shoulder Bash, Ground Pound, Ground Slam, Pile Driver – everything is PERFECT for Smash – they’re friggin’ fighting moves for god’s sake! And “only from the source material”? Well, it’s not like there’s anything iconc from Wario Land there to begin with…

    “…but I think it’s most important to prioritize the game’s enjoability!” Well, I thought the point with Smash Bros was to have fighters from Nintendo fight each other, like they play in their respective games. In Smash, Wario doesn’t play like he does in his platformers. If you want the game to be enjoyable, maybe actually try to make Wario play like he does in his games, like you’ve done with the rest of the cast… sorry, but this excuse from Sakurai doesn’t make ANY sense. And it hurts me as a Wario main and long-time favorite video game character.

  2. And to think, this entire time I thought it was changed because that move reflected his appearance in the Wario Land series, while most of his other moves were based on the WarioWare series. Very interesting to see his thought process behind it.

  3. What lies. He’s telling us he had to reanimate the entire move instead of tweak it to fix the problems with it? What a diva.

    Wario could have quickly snapped back into the spot he was before. Like Sonic’s up Smash but a forward version.

    Wario’s Up Smash is so dull too. It’s just another headbutt! Sakurai could have been so creative with this character but he chose not to. Whoever has played SkullGirls & know the move where Peacock tries to kick a football & falls, that should be Wario’s up smash, without the football of course.

    His moveset is just so uninspiring. I freaking love Wario’s games, but he’s been royally screwed in Smash Bros, & it’s obvious that Sakurai never cared for him or played any of his games. We should have gotten 2 full-fledged Wario characters before we got Pittoo or 6 FE characters.

    1. It’s interesting that you feel this way, as part of the appeal of including Wario in Smash was that Sakurai wanted to include someone with an unorthodox and exaggerated moveset. I personally feel as though Wario’s moveset does capture this, and is pretty interesting and amusing. How his head grows massively for his up smash in particular for barely over one frame is an example of this.

      Personally, I think having Wario snap back into place after using his Shoulder Ram would’ve looked really unpolished.

      I’ll always be down for more Wario Land-inspired moves in Wario’s moveset, but how he appears in Smash currently does not feel like some sort of injustice. He’s not 1-to-1 “Wario Land Wario” or even “WarioWare Wario”. He simply feels and behaves like “Wario”.

    2. Having Wario snap back to the spot would look weird. If you do a shoulder ram, you have forward momentum, so it doesn’t make sense for him to “snap back.”

  4. Why would he lie to create more work for himself? It’s clear that he wasn’t happy with the move so he changed it. And if he didn’t care for Wario then why change anything at all? It’s funny that you accuse Sakurai of not playing any Wario games when he personally made a commercial for WarioWare DIY. I’m surprised you haven’t seen it, considering you “freaking love” Wario’s games.

    1. I consider myself a fan of Wario too, but I have never seen this commercial. I’m glad that I have now, since in such a short time, I managed to get a lot of insight into Sakurai’s mind as a developer. I personally never got a chance to play WarioWare DIY, but this makes me want to hunt down a copy and give it a shot.

    2. There is a difference between WarioWare, and Wario Land. It’s obvious he doesn’t care for Wario Land, due to removing the one defining move and color palette that referenced the first game. As a Wario fan myself, I want more of Wario Land and less of WarioWare. That series is doing more harm than good.

  5. This seems in line with what I thought as to why his shoulder ram got changed – his entire body IS the hitbox AND the hurtbox. They likely decided that he shouldn’t have an armored smash this go around for balance purposes, and it makes sense to me they’d make his forward smash something where the hitbox can be extended away from his hurtbox. It’s still goofy and wonky like the Wario we all love.

    Otherwise, pretty much everything ever would trade or beat out his shoulder ram. What good is a Wario whose shoulder ram gets beat out by everything ever? It would be very sad to see. I don’t think he needs an armored smash attack like he had in Brawl, considering everything else he has going for him (amazing survivability, excellent aerial maneuverability, etc).

    Aesthetically, I’m not sure how they could’ve conveyed that while keeping the shoulder ram unless they did something silly like have his entire attacking forearm grow huge to represent the big hitbox separate from his hurtbox… but he’d still be throwing a lot of his hurtbox in there with his forward movement and you’d still see quite a lot of trading and/or him being beat out.

    I don’t recall the ‘stepping off the edge’ thing being a thing, but I haven’t played Brawl in a while.

    I’m not sure where one could re-introduce his shoulder bash in his moveset. Him pratfalling clumsily everywhere is very in-character for himself, so not his dash attack. I’d be all for it as his forward throw, complete with the classic ‘enemy bashed’ sound from his very first playable outing, maybe.

    Just one thing to keep in mind, overall – the very first thing Wario ever did when we saw him in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins? He slammed the ground with his butt. Representing this in his down and forward throws is fine by me, so perhaps it wouldn’t be a good call to replace his forward throw based on that alone.

    Wario is amazing fun, and WarioWare itself represents a genuine high point in Nintendo’s time – the first game effectively perfected the minigame compilation genre in one fell stroke and has been a springboard for interesting/fun ideas, and his Smash moveset is some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s too bad that practical design concerns in regards to hitboxes vs. hurtboxes got in the way of the shoulder bash’s return, but it is what it is.

    Thanks for translating and posting this! I’ve always been curious myself.

  6. In Brawl his f-smash didn’t slip you off the edge and the lounge forward did give you range it could have been fixed giving it some armor, besides Bowser’s and Little Mac’s f-smashes moves you forward too, or another way could have been to make his shoulder bash a dash attack, as there are already similar attacks like Falcon’s.

    I don’t really understand his portrayal as a wacky and random character in Smash, his strong abilities and antihero defines him more, he feels uninspired except for his specials. Hopefully he gets more justice in a new installment.

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