I’ve read some interviews with him in the past, and he is too damn concerned about beginners. From one perspective, you can assume that he’s all about the money by going for the lowest common denominator.
On a surface level, I always thought Melee to be fine for anyone. I remember my friends and neighbors would play this game and we loved it and no one had a truly difficult time learning it. The best thing about Melee, even though I never played competitively, was that you were able to go deeper into the game and enjoy yourself a different game. Your favorite Nintendo characters, easy to learn basic controls, and the option to play a more technical game? This is a perfect package for everyone. Hell, some friends of mine will say that Melee was the better game because it was a faster, more exciting game than Brawl.
And I absolutely disagree with him not being preoccupied with gameplay and balance details. If you don’t try to perfect those, then you’ve got yourself the typical licensed game. I could always goes back to Melee, but before I finally quit Brawl, it was a chore to just turn on the Wii to play it, and I’d only play it for a few CPU matches then quit.
IMO, Sakurai did an amazing job with Melee, but he went against his creed of accessibility on some things and he didn’t really try to break players in beyond the How to Play video. I think part of the reason he doesn’t want to do another Melee is because of the time and precision put into it. If I were him, I wouldn’t do more Smash Bros. games period. It would obviously be not in me to do something like that again. I’d give the helm to someone who’d be more than willing to put the time into that (and probably make a better game).