Smash Bros. Director Talks Fan Criticism Using George Lucas as Example

“It’s like building a house, but people focus on a single painting that’s hung up on a wall in one room, and fixate on it, and keep listing off their complaints of that painting.”

That’s a quote from Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai, who talked more about fan feedback in his latest Famitsu column. In the piece, translated by SourceGaming, Sakurai says his situation is not all that different from the one that Star Wars creator George Lucas finds himself in today.

In a Vanity Fair story last month, Lucas talked about the challenges he faced making the Star Wars movies. “You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized. It’s not much fun. You can’t experiment,” he said.

The fact that Lucas feels this way after pouring so much hard work into the Star Wars franchise is “incredibly sad and frustrating,” Sakurai said. But Sakurai explained that he understands how Lucas must be feeling.

“You could say my body is filled with these feelings. Making something, and completing it is a huge undertaking, and there are a lot of places where fans can’t see,” Sakurai said. “It’s like building a house, but people focus on a single painting that’s hung up on a wall in one room, and fixate on it, and keep listing off their complaints of that painting. These situations are very common.”

The veteran developer said a familiar, recent example would be the recent introduction of Cloud as a playable character in the new Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. People “strongly criticized” this character, claiming Nintendo should focus more on characters from Nintendo franchises. But Sakurai points out that numerous Nintendo characters have been added to the game.

“Looking at the big picture, I am on the receiving end of countless amounts of truly trivial statements,” he said.

It’s okay–and important–to think differently, Sakurai went on to say. But there are downsides, too.

“When people yell loudly, it also invites mob mentality and conformity,” he explained. “It’s easy for negative opinions to be amplified, while positive opinions are quieted. People don’t understand the circumstances and state of affairs behind development, and it’s not allowed for creators to make excuses. There are even people who feel emotionally battered and quit working.”

Sakurai’s full column is a great read and well worth your time if you’re interested in learning more. Head to SourceGaming to read the full thing.

Lucas sold the Star Wars rights to Disney in 2012 and had no official involvement in the production of the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Sakurai has talked about the possibility of never working on Smash Bros. again, but he hasn’t said anything truly definitive on the subject.

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