Sakurai wants Smash Bros. to be a game anyone can enjoy. This has been his goal from day one, and continues to be his goal with Smash Bros. Ultimate. In an interview with the Washington Post, Sakurai talked a bit about not catering too much to one particular audience, and why Nintendo is a little reluctant to really get behind the eSports scene with Smash.
“When you talk about audience, I don’t really think too much about the audience per se. I feel like a game, at the end of the day, is about playing the game. But if we focus too much on the top level players — or the audience — then the game skews a little bit too much on the technical side.
The philosophy behind eSports doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize money. It comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be."
A lot of competitive fighters in the eSports scene feature super complex command inputs, and that's not something Sakurai is interested in. He elaborated upon this with the Washington Post.
“It’s not to say that Street Fighter is failing [by more fully embracing competitive gaming] by any means, but personally, I think any games with command inputs are difficult. The creator side is trying to raise people who do that. It doesn’t beat a game where you press one button to create a special move. I think that’s really easy to pick up for a lot of people.”
It's this deep focus on mechanics and button presses that made Melee so popular. Sakurai realizes this, but also sees that the complex nature of the title also drove people away.
"I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it and I know there were players who got tendinitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much . . . that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.”