The Super Smash Brothers community is a volatile one, with criticisms leveled against the director, Masahiro Sakurai, being exceedingly common. Among these criticisms, a frequent one is to claim that Sakurai hates a certain character/series/whatever because it’s not included in the game or has received some form of treatment that fans abhor.
I don’t get it.
It would be very unprofessional for a director such as Sakurai to hate a series that he has to incorporate into a crossover such as Smash. And whether people like it or not, the decisions made that have angered the fanbase(mainly the hardcore one) are done for a reason. Hatred is not one of those reasons. But I’ll go into the decisions that people really seem to despise.
Ridley is one of these infamous decisions. For two games now has the space dragon hailing from Metroid been relegated to a boss character. And fans hate that. It’s understandable to a degree, people want to play as this character in an official game. But a creative vision currently doesn’t allow for that due to Ridley’s size, so to compensate, the character is made the most elaborate of the three stage bosses in Smash Wii U, if with some creative liberties taken, and some fans treat this as an act of the devil, with the final words usually culminating in “Sakurai hates Ridley/Metroid”. Come on, really? Making a decision you don’t agree with doesn’t count as hating the subject for which the decision was made to the average person. I know that at least a few people out there are still livid at the decision after over a year of the game’s release and won’t tolerate mentions of it or even selecting Pyrosphere as a whole(really?), but come on, it’s not the end of the world. Opinions can change, isn’t that how Villager, Pac-Man and Miis got in? And just because Metroid got little content in general, does that mean Sakurai hates the series? Come on. It was on hiatus ever since Other M, there really wasn’t much to draw from except the Prime series(which I will admit irks me when more than half of it’s content from Brawl was removed), which hadn’t seen an entry since 2008’s Corruption at the time.
While we’re on the subject of low-content franchises, Donkey Kong, a series that, like Metroid, has a low amount of content in comparison to some of the other represented franchises and had a widely requested character: King K. Rool. A juggernaut of DLC speculation, discussion regarding the character became increasingly tense when the Mii costume for the character was revealed in July 2015 and the character was a no-show in the final Smash presentation from last December. Reactions were widely negative, but wouldn’t you know it, the ‘Sakurai hates’ comment was applied once again to seemingly “justify” any anger towards Sakurai. Again, why? The K. Rool fanbase has been lauded for having an extensive and welcoming support campaign spanning years and was rewarded in a way for it. If Sakurai truly hated King K. Rool, would he have acknowledged the support with a costume? Consider as well that other supposed Fighter Ballot frontrunners(I say supposed because the hardcore speculation community is WAY focused on their own theories to the point of making out only specific characters as reasonable predictions to most onlookers) like Isaac from Golden Sun got diddly squat in this iteration, so the costume should in theory feel even better. But it isn’t. Sigh. I say that getting attention is the next best thing if you can’t get a character in(the K. Rool campaign got the attention of Retro Studios to boot), so I feel by the time of the next Smash the King will have a better chance.
The last and currently most notable of the ‘Sakurai hates’ scapegoats is Wolf from Star Fox. The semi-clone from Brawl turned sacred cow for DLC, many were assured that he was a sure shoo-in at some point or another and despised anyone who claimed otherwise. And now that he’s officially out(only a shock to those who failed to consider the possibility of him simply not making it), people say that Sakurai hates Wolf and villains in general. Just…ugh. Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate Wolf. I would have been happy for his fans if he made it back. But a good chunk of said fans turned into a hive mind that only saw one possibility: Wolf making it. Now, if you’re one of those who wanted him back but acknowledged he possibly couldn’t make it, kudos to you. It’s the ones who saw no other outcome and then blame Sakurai of anti-villain/Wolf bias or whatever that irk me.
Just as a quickie, like Wolf, I hate none of these characters, and I support the former two. It’s just the attitude the fanbase can take that angers me.
Of course, these are the more prominent examples of the ‘Sakurai hates’ excuse. There are just as silly claims with other topics as well. A ridiculous one I saw some time ago was “Sakurai has a bias against spears because no Bandanna Dee or spear-wielding Fire Emblem characters are in Smash.”
What. No spears just means that there hasn’t been a good idea in the director’s eyes for one, now we’re going to think Sakurai hates a weapon type of all things? What’s next, Sakurai hates the competitive crowd for not putting Battlefield-esque stages as an option in For Glory? Hates the completionists because some challenges are quite time-consuming? This excuse is applied to everything now and it’s driving me bananas.
Criticism is fine. Nothing is immune to it. I’ll probably get some criticism for my brutally honest opinion. But there’s blind salt fueled criticism and then there’s looking at things as objectively as possible, understanding the reasoning for why some things happen, of which hatred or at best dislike is a preposterous reason to include among these.