Hello Source Gaming fans – today I want to spend some time discussing a somewhat overlooked and often maligned element of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros Brawl: the stage builder. Now, if you ask the average Smash fan what they think about this feature in previous Smash games, their response will likely range from “wasted opportunity” to “complete disaster.” I personally felt that Brawl’s stage builder, while lackluster, had some good elements that future games could build off of. Unfortunately, while the newest iteration made several positive strides, it also took some giant steps back. Still, as a fan of user-generated content, I would love to see it return in Smash for Switch… with a few changes, of course. Here are my tops wants for the Stage Builder in the newest Smash.
Keep the Free Form drawing element from Smash for Wii U Stage Builder
First things first: the Wii U version of stage builder had some great ideas. Well, it had ONE great idea, and that’s the ability to actually draw out your stages. This feature was used by literally drawing the outline of stage elements on your Wii U gamepad. It could be a bit difficult to get used to, but once you did (and, for me, once I realized I could also draw a straight line by tapping on two grid points) it allowed for a massive amount of freedom in deciding just what your stage would be. Gone where the blocky constructs that were Brawl stage builder stages, and in their place where wonderful pieces of art depicting everything from Saturn Valley to the Wii Fit Trainer. This seems like an obvious addition to retain, but I am worried that the lack of stylus and the fact that the touchscreen would only be available when the Switch is undocked might prevent it from returning.
Let users adjust blast lines
One of the things I appreciated about Smash Wii U’s stage builder compared to Brawl’s is that you could place items outside of the stage boundary, thus allowing you to create walk off stages. The height of a map can also somewhat be controlled by moving the main fighting area and by placing platform’s higher or lower. These options are fine, but they are also a bit limiting. If players really want to create stages that match up with actual, official, Smash stages, then they need full control of the blast lines. Blast lines, for people that don’t know, are the lines that, when crossed by a character, resulting in a KO. Having blast lines of different heights and widths can give stages with similar layouts a very different feel. This is something that would be especially useful for those making stages with competitive viability in mind, but it is actually an option that can result in a ton of fun stage variations for all types of stage creators.
Bring back all the items from Brawl’s Stage Builder
Brawl stage builder had a ton of fun items. Many of these consisted of video game staples such as ice blocks, conveyor belts, and spikes which allowed for some really unique and often game faithful level layouts. I was very excited to see what sort of neat additions the Wii U stage builder would introduce. Smash for Wii U DID introduce barrel canons and lava traps… but it also got rid of almost all of the unique stage builder parts from Brawl! I was finally able to make a Mega Man stage with the proper music in Smash Wii U…but I couldn’t use conveyor belts or spikes. I was heartbroken. These items desperately need to return to make Smash for Switch’s stage builder feel complete.
Use Omega Backgrounds
So… here is my biggest complaint when it comes to Smash Bros. Stage builders: they feel way too generic. I mean, sure, a random space, city, or volcano background is nice, but what most of us really want to do is recreate areas from famous video game locals for our video game all-stars to duke it out on. While the game should maintain some of the currently available stage backgrounds, I absolutely think that some game-specific backgrounds should be made available. My solution? Use the Omega stage backgrounds. Not every stage needs to be a stage builder options, but if 10-20 maps from unique franchises were included it would really freshen things up. I would even be happy if we were given actual Omega Stages as a base that we could add platforms and items to. Imagine being given something like Omega Onett or Omega Temple and being able to build a stage around it? In that case, you could even keep the generic backgrounds for stages that are built from scratch as you would likely be able to implement more items that way.
Themed Blocks per background
This final “want” stems from the omega background or game specific background desire above. If we have stages themed after franchises… I would then want stage items from those franchises to match. Now, I don’t mean that each theme should have completely unique items. Rather, I just want blocks and other stage components to be skinned to match the current theme. If I am making a stage with a Donkey Kong background, for instance, I would want the barrels to have the DK emblem. Falling blocks and spikes should look different on a Mega Man stage than they do on a Sonic stage since they already have established aesthetics in their games of origin. Now, this doesn’t have to be for all franchises and elements can certainly be shared between stages. The game, in fact, already does something similar based on the background you choose, so this would just be a natural evolution of that concept.
Well…. There you go guys. Spazzy’s 5 steps to ensure that Smash Switch’s Stage Builder is an amazing feature. What do you think? Would this be enough to make stage builder one of your most played features? Is there something else I forgot that would elevate the mode to something truly special? Please let me know if the comments below.