10. Ship to Scaraba – Earthbound/Mother 2
The Mother franchise is home to a plethora of wacky environments that would make for great Smash stages. So far they’ve done a decent job making selections: Onett is a classic, Fourside was a fun stage, Magicant was good for one of the 3DS stages. New Pork City was just a bunch of platforms randomly strung together, and thus sucked, but hey, 3/4 ain’t bad.
For the next stage I want the Ship to Scaraba; that is, the ship that Ness and company find in Summers and use to sail to Scaraba. Pirate Ship was always one of my favorite Smash stages, and it’s a popular stage in general. Who wouldn’t love something similar but with Earthbound? Of course the main draw here is the potential for the Kraken to return as the stage boss. Honestly I think stage bosses are a great concept and one of the best additions to the franchise to come out of SSB4, even if only one out of the three was particularly great. I want to see them do more with the idea.
9. Paranormal Dimension – Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi’s Mansion deserves more than what it has, damn it! A Final Smash and a Brawl stage that was ported over to SSB4? Not good enough!
The Paranormal Dimension was featured in the final boss battle of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. It’s a dimension of optical illusions and trickery where King Boo reigns. I think that between the art style and the concept of visual illusions, there’s a lot that they could do to make a stage that’s simply a joy to behold.
But let’s not beat around the bush, here: the real reason I want this stage is because of the likelihood of King Boo as a stage boss. The Luigi’s Mansion version of King Boo is easily my favorite Mario villain, and if I could choose the next Mario newcomer it would be him. Playable King Boo seems extremely unlikely, though, so I’ll take what I can get.
8. Hoshidan Plains – Fire Emblem: Fates
I’m not normally a fan of stages that take place in plain, green environments. I’m also not normally a fan of stages that are the most obvious pick to represent a game. Here I’m willing to make an exception, however, as I think they could cram a lot of references to Fates here by having any number of the Royals appear as stage hazards.
What I envision for this stage is more or less an expanded version of the Bridge of Eldin stage with Fire Emblem flavor. Imagine fighting on the bridge that lays over the river, with a royal charging across the bridge every now and then, not unlike King Bulbin, and delivering a line or two of dialogue as well as an attack as they go on their way. You might cry fanservice, but hey, isn’t that what modern Fire Emblem is all about?
Also I suppose you could have a dragon vein gimmick in their that would result in the river running dry just as it did in Fates, perhaps allowing players to take the fight to a lower level.
7. The Underworld – Kid Icarus: Uprising
Far and away the strongest point of Uprising was the voiceovers. The constant banter between characters was a joy, and I was pretty disappointed when the banter we got on the Palutena’s Temple stage tended to be poorly written and cringeworthy. And it was limited to Pit, Palutena, and occasionally Viridi. I want the funniest character in the game(as well as one of Nintendo’s better villains) to get some representation.
Which is why I’m suggesting we get The Underworld. Never mind that fighting in the literal Hell would make for a conceptually incredible stage, but we could get Hades as the stage boss with all sorts of entertaining quips, and have an easter egg where he rips apart all the playables rather than the subpar Palutena’s Guidance in SSB4.
6. World Bowser – Super Mario 3D World
Do I really need to explain this one? I’ve seen it brought up countless times before. It’s the only interesting environment to come out of 3D World, after all. Hopefully they go with it and not… *shudder* … Super Bell Hill.
5. Tal Tal Heights – Link’s Awakening
Who says says all the new Zelda stages have to be current? Melee had a freaking Adventure of Link stage for crying out loud, so I don’t think this is totally unthinkable. I guess this would be the first time a portable game got a stage, but hey, there’s a first time for everything.
I envision this stage as the next Smash’s version of Icicle Mountain or Rumble Falls; that is, a vertical scrolling stage. You would ascend Tal Tal Heights to reach the top of Tal Tal Mountain, where you would find the egg of the Wind Fish, which would eventually hatch, from which point you’d start fighting atop the Wind Fish as it flies around Koholint. And eventually you’d get dropped off at the base of the mountain and it would all start again. I think it’s a neat idea, and it would be the perfect excuse to finally use that unused Ballad of the Windfish remix from Brawl.
4. Rainbow Road – Mario Kart Series
Apparently this already happened in the 3DS version. I genuinely didn’t even remember until I had already written entries 10-5 and got to work on this one. Rainbow Road could be such a visually impressive and fun stage to fight on, and they waste it on the 3DS version? All while the Wii U version gets the blandest stage they could have gone with to represent Mario Kart 8? What is this nonsense?!
You know what, then, I’m changing my answer to Rainbow Road 64 specifically. The revamped version in MK8 Deluxe. It’s even on the boxart for the game, so it would be a logical choice.
Hey, I just had a stroke of genius: if you fall off the bottom of the stage Lakitu flies you back up.
3. Sheikah Tower – Breath of the Wild
Everyone talks about the Great Plateau, but I have some reservations about that stage. First off, I don’t like traveling stages; I feel they tend to consist of several mediocre stages rather than a single good stage. Skyloft was a massive letdown and it was also just a straight rip of the models from Skyward Sword. Totally lazy. Second, I don’t feel that the Great Plateau is properly representative of Breath of the Wild’s scale; a Breath of the Wild stage should showcase just how huge the world is.
So picture this: the stage is the observation deck of a Sheikah Tower. Which Sheikah Tower, you ask. Well, that’s the beauty of it: ALL OF THEM. I want there to be a different background loaded each time you select the stage to represent each of the regions in Breath of the Wild to showcase the scale of the game. Is it a realistic idea? Maybe not. But I think it’s a damn good one.
I would also be cool with Divine Beast Vah Medoh being a stage, as it would fly over Hyrule so that you could view all the scenery. I suppose it could also have Wind Blight Ganon as a stage boss, but not even I’m really interested in that.
2. Bowser’s Kingdom/Bowser’s Castle – Super Mario Odyssey
Yes, there are two Bowser stages on this list. And no, I don’t think it would be a bit much if both the 3D World stage and Odyssey stage were Bowser-oriented.
If there’s a stage that has been continually shafted to the point of it approaching outrageousness, it’s Bowser’s Castle. And Bowser’s Castle may just be the greatest constant of any location in the Mario series; perhaps even more so than Peach’s Castle! Yet we still haven’t gotten any sort of variation on the level. Prior to Odyssey those asking for a Bowser’s Castle stage were no doubt envisioning a European-style castle with lava and spikes and such. But after Odyssey, we’ve got a real shot at not only getting Bowser’s Castle, but a more interesting variant as well.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: New Donk City. No, I do not think New Donk City would be a good choice for the Odyssey stage. While it is the most iconic area in the game, having been the first location revealed and more heavily featured in trailers than the other areas, it likely wouldn’t be an interesting Smash stage. The appeal of New Donk City in Odyssey is that it’s unlike any environment we’ve ever explored in a 3D Mario game, and so it sticks out within the context of that game. But as a stage in Smash, I can’t think of anything that would be unique about it. Fighting in a city environment? Pfft, that’s old hat. Fighting in a city environment on top of skyscrapers? Been done multiple times in Smash already. Or perhaps you’d bring up the festival and suggest that we play through a Donkey Kong level? IT’S BEEN DONE. Playing through the festival really wouldn’t be anything new. I guess you could have the Mecha Wiggler as a stage boss to give the it some intrigue, but it’s still far from the most compelling choice for an Odyssey stage.
Bowser’s Kingdom, on the other hand, is an absolute spectacle regardless of context. It is the absolute height in Oddysey’s pattern of creative environments that subvert expectations(Except arguably the Ruined Kingdom). It would have no trouble sticking out as a Smash stage. There’s just so much potential. We’ve got the colorful clouds, the fireworks, Pokios and Stairface Ogres, the moon, all the intense in-your-face Japanese theming… And you could even have the Mecha Broodal make an appearance as a stage boss. This NEEDS to be the Odyssey stage they go with.
But it won’t be. They’ll pick New Donk City.
1. Sylvalum – Xenoblade Chronicles X
Whether Xenoblade Chronicles X will even get a stage at all is up in the air. Xenoblade 2 is releasing soon on the Switch, and will most likely see greater success than Xenoblade Chronicles X seeing as how the latter was released on a failed console whereas the former will be releasing on a (so far) successful one, and a Smash stage for 2 will serve as advertising to some extent. As such, I have no doubt that Xenoblade 2 will see a stage, the question is whether the franchise will be given two so that X gets representation; I would guess not, though I desperately hope it does.
Sylvalum is the most stunning environment I have ever laid eyes on in a video game. In fact, that’s more or less the sole reason I have for picking the stage. It’s so incredibly creative and unique that I think it warrants being a stage just because it’d look damn beautiful. Well, that and the equally gorgeous music that would accompany it. No gimmicks, no particularly compelling stage layout, just an absolute feast for the eyes and ears. And they could feature different weather patterns(clear, pink aurora, blizzard) as well as different times of day. I know this is a kind of simplistic justification for the stage at the top of this list, but I really am that enraptured with it. It’s so visually impressive that I feel the need to create a picture gallery to showcase what I mean. If Sylvalum were put into the game I’d be happy with whatever choices were made regarding the rest of the stages.
But I know it won’t get in.