Smash Bros. Director Reveals All Fighters Have About The Same Win Rate

Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

If you’ve spent any time online looking up information about Nintnedo’s long-running fighting game franchise Super Smash Bros., you’ve likely seen some tier lists claiming certain characters are overpowered or terrible. But a new video from the creator of the series reveals that’s not the case, as most characters in the game all have about the same win rate.

In a May 21 YouTube video, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai talked about game balance. In the video, Sakurai says that game design is about “push and pull” and that he advises developers and designers to avoid making everything feel or play the same. Instead, characters should be unique, and their weaknesses should balance their strengths. Of course, this means that some characters might seem more powerful, with extremely useful abilities or devastating moves. But Sakurai had data to prove that, overall, SSB Ultimate’s roster of over 80 unique characters is extremely balanced.

“For Smash Bros. Ultimate, we have data regarding win rates in online battles,” said Sakurai. “This is actual data gathered from around the world, so it’s safe to say this is impartial global data, without any bias.”

While he couldn’t share “real specifics” about the data, he was free to provide some reference points.

Out of all the fighters in the game, Sakurai says the highest win rate any character possesses is 51.43%. Meanwhile, the lowest win rate is 47.18%. (He was unable to reveal who these characters are.) What this means is that the win rates of all the fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate land within a very narrow range of about five percent.

“This tells us that any fighter has a shot at winning a match,” explained Sakurai. “In fact, it would be difficult to make them much closer.”

The director and creator of Smash did add that “win rates aren’t everything” and further explained that the “true metric” is how each fighter feels and plays. But still, this is interesting data.

And as for all those online tier lists claiming certain characters are broken or too powerful, Sakurai had this to say:

“The internet can tend to be an echo chamber of sorts, so if people start saying something is strong or weak, that assessment will gain momentum and make people think it’s truer than it is.”


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