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Filed under: Masahiro Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Series

News Flash! Smash Bros. Dojo: Battle Stages

Stage translation

This is a translation of the battle stages introduction page from News Flash! Smash Bros. Dojo, Melee’s version of the Smash Bros. Dojo. Thanks to PushDustin and Soma for their help with the translation.


In Smash, the battle stages are one element of many that make the game fun.
We’re taking iconic areas from various games, condensing them and bringing them to life, music included.

# The music this time is, once again, great. So great that it’s almost criminal.
# But we’ll talk about that later…

Isn’t it exciting, just thinking about seeing a part of that game you love being brought to life in a new way?

Princess Peach’s Castle. This time, we’re not fighting above it.

It’s really hard to make the backgrounds in Smash.
I know I was really hard on the background artists, but I had to be insistent that my instructions were followed.

– The characters have to be easy to identify
  Characters tend to be pretty small in Smash, so we can’t make the background colors too pronounced or prominent, or it’ll make the characters hard to see.

– Platforms that can be stood on have saturated colors, parts that can’t be stood on have unsaturated colors
  To the player, the hitbox is of the utmost importance. If something feels even slightly unnatural, we have to fix that. Similarly, the platforms’ thickness is something we pay a lot of attention too as well.

– No visible errors should arise from moving the camera by 80 degrees sideways, 45 degrees up or 20 degrees down
  That’s because there’s a camera mode. Even though not drawing the sides and back is better for reducing processing time.

– Stay faithful to the original, but let things take on their own character
  That might be one of the fundamental rules of Smash. Staying faithful to the original design is good, but it’s hard to follow Smash’s rules and make it so it doesn’t look worse after.

– Don’t draw too much, don’t draw too little
  Because this is a mix of multiple worlds, there are ones that look better with more details, and ones that look better with less.
  Because stages can look so different, it’s hard to make look every character look natural on every stage. We’re not just recreating the original, we also have an overall aesthetic style we apply.

……And so on.

Kongo Jungle. Great waterfalls and a log house.

I think we’re having a lot of trouble here specifically with material from the 3D games.
Even if we focus a lot on that area, Smash is essentially a 2D game, so it doesn’t look clean no matter what we do…

By making the background look unsaturated, perhaps we’re moving away from the highest level of graphical fidelity. But, the lifeblood of a game is the gameplay, so we’re prioritizing that and working our hardest.

Icicle Mountain. This is the Ice Climbers’ stage.
It is, of course, a scrolling stage.

The stage gimmicks are also powered up.
But Mute City really lives up to its name with its over-the-top trickery.

Mute City is set in the midst of the F-ZERO Grand Prix.
Look at the cars flying past each other! Amazing!! They’re actually destructible!

Also, for this time, there are actually sometimes 2 stages from a single world!
How many stages are there in total??
Please look forward to it!


  1. I sure miss the thought that went into Melee’s stages. Not to say that the newer games have worse-looking stages or anything, but I miss the surprise of seeing things like Fountain of Dreams, Onett, and Icicle Mountain in 3D for the first time.

    Though this surprise factor still persists with recent stages like Magicant, Great Cave Offensive, and others, it seems they’re taking a similar approach with the stages as they are with the characters’ appearances: making them fit the artstyles of their respective games rather than “unifying” them with an “overall aesthetic style” as mentioned in the article.

    Anyways, it’s pretty interesting to see what goes into making stages and what rules they apply into making them playable.

    • I think Smash 4 still has an overall unifying aesthetic style, they just let the original breathe a bit more compared to how they did it in Melee. Melee’s aesthetic is something I always find interesting personally, it’s just…kind of weird and hard to describe, I guess. The stand out more than 64’s did but they don’t have the same organic, capsule feel of Brawl/Smash 4/Sakurai’s other games, the characters have their own discernible unique look compared to how Smash 4 took from Brawl, and 64’s look is too polygonal for me to call it any style other than low-poly. Honestly, I think it holds up really well compared to Brawl, maybe that’s just because I haven’t played Brawl with right cables and such but Melee always looks really sharp, with nicely contrasting colors, Brawl (and Project M) look muddied and dull in retrospect.

      Soma on April 18 |
  2. Finally I caught up to the recent to explain with my absence. Actually, I’m in Japan right now for a vacation, and learning how the economy and community is since I might plan to move to Japan sometime next year. So after I get back to Hawaii this Saturday, I’m gonna be busy to do some research and looking for more ways to earn more money. Anyways, lets start commenting.

    I remember how fun the Melee stages were back then. The Fountain of Dreams…I’m not a huge fan on stages that’s too enormous or narrow, but that stage was great as I loved it’s orchestral music. The Gourmet Race for that stage really sounded beautiful as it really matched the stage. I kinda liked the Icicle Mountain too, even when you’re trying to do something with Peach at that stage. (lol) Mute City was fun too as it becomes enjoyable when you’re trying to destroy those roadkilling F-Zero racers. (lol) I also loved Onett along with its music, and this was my first time to know what the world of Earthbound/Mother 2 looks like. Man, these stages really brings back memories…and its too bad none of these except for Onett made its return in Smash 4.

    zoniken on April 18 |
    • At least Mute City got a sequel of sorts in Port Town Aero Dive, which while admittedly isn’t the same, does function similarly.

      Speaking on Icicle Mountain, I know a lot of my friends didn’t like scrolling stages. When I was playing with them, if we ever randomed a stage and it landed on one like that, the group consensus was to immediately quit and pick another stage. Personally, I only disliked them when I was playing slow characters, since at times it feels like you’re fighting just to keep up with the stage instead of fighting the other players. While that’s just my personal experience, I do wonder how other players felt about stages like those.

      Spiral on April 19 |