Fans of Super Smash Bros. Brawl‘s highly entertaining Subspace Emissary single player mode are apparently to blame for the lack of a similar mode in the new Smash Bros. games coming to the Wii U and 3DS. According to game director Masahiro Sakurai, via the Escapist, too many people uploaded videos of Subspace Emissary’s elaborate cutscenes to YouTube.
“Unfortunately, the movie scenes we worked so hard to create were uploaded to the internet,” said Sakurai. “You can only truly wow a player the first time he sees a [cutscene]. I felt if players saw the cutscenes outside of the game, they would no longer serve as rewards for playing the game, so I’ve decided against having them.”
This takes us back to an era where cutscenes served only as rewards for successful play, and not narrative devices meant to help drive a story forward. Perhaps the attitude of treating cutscenes like… well, treats, is partially responsible for this decision. Or, it could be based on Nintendo’s decision to attempt to control rights and revenue for YouTube videos and live streams of their properties, most recently seen in a quickly overturned decision to ban Super Smash Bros. Melee live streaming from EVO2k13.
At least we’re still getting some kind of cutscene treatment, albeit in the form of promotional videos for new characters like Mega Man, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer. These videos “potentially benefit by being spread around,” which I can personally attest to. The second a new Smash cutscene comes out, my social media feeds are generally abuzz with posts, re-blogs, and gifs of these infinitely re-watchable little vignettes. Maybe the game’s cutscenes would have helped serve to promote the game as well, but now, we’ll never know.