Is the Smash series mechanically stagnant? (as in core gameplay, not extra modes)

ze9

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I think Smash should stay simple, its simpleness is ultimately the series' biggest appeal (even more than the roster), I don't think it should adapt too many mechanics from other fighting games or even give you more options that you can keep track of. And personally, I've been playing it for 20 years but I'm still not feeling tired of it at all.
One thing that I could see happen, though, is a fifth special move assigned to L+B. The Inklings already have it, and since everyone and their grandma is apparently getting a counter...

I will never understand why Smash Ultimate designed to change moves or the speed of the game from Smash Wii U focusing only on competitive play made the game feel less creative when it comes to attacks or modes and now Ultimates online is full of repeated attacks.
That's actually not the case at all. Ultimate buffed everything and now almost every move of every character is worth using, so you see a lot more variety in approaches and kill options. While Smash 4 usually gave characters a couple of incredibly strong moves while rendering a good chunk of the rest of the moveset way more situational, so you repeatedly saw the same 3-4 moves getting thrown around.
If you fought against a Captain Falcon, good luck on not having the match turn into him repeatedly and repeatedly running towards you trying a dash grab. Characters like Zelda, Ganondorf and Jigglypuff barely felt functional. Luigi was also grab, grab, grab, grab, grab. Mario had a 30% combo of utilt+utilt+utilt+utilt. Lucas too was kind of dthrow - the character (I miss my dthrow). Sheik was needles and needles and needles and needles and needles.
Ultimate sometimes feels kinda more braindead with things like how almost every move is safe and dumb moves like the DORIYAAAH, but the matches are A LOT more varied.
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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So I had this discussion on Reddit about a month ago over "gimmicks" in Nintendo sequels. People seem to agree that Nintendo makes an effort to make each sequel different from both past and future installments, but things like gravity and FLUDD in Mario and the three-day loop and motion controls in Zelda are unique features, while things like Mega Evolution and Dynamax in Pokémon are gimmicks. The former informs many aspects of design and are incredibly fleshed out, while the latter isn't very fleshed out and feels dumped by the next installment.

@Double0Groove talked about things like customs and spirits as "gameplay changes", but @TheTrueBrawler is right in saying that changes like these are togglable and ignorable. That's why I think things like customs and spirits can be classified as "gimmicks". Yeah, they seemed big during their time, but the games aren't really built around them at all and they seem like wasted ideas at best. In fact, because they're togglable, I'd say that they're even worse than Mega Evolution and Z-Moves; at least Pokémon's gimmicks were additions to core gameplay, even though they were optional.

Honestly, Smash's relatively recent gimmickry is the reason why I feel tired of the series as a whole, which is affecting my ability to go back to Ultimate. It really feels like Pokémon's recent gimmickry.
Mega Evolutions and Z-moves aren't gimmicks though; they are a feature that became part of the core gameplay of pokemon just like the physical/special split, abilities, held items and double battles before them. Since their introduction, casual and competitive players incorporate them in their teams, and some builds are even tailored around them. If that isn't a full fledged mechanic, then I don't know what it is.

Testament to that is the fact that people would like to see more Pokemon get their own megas and Z-moves, and also the negative reception Game Freak has been getting for dropping them alongside the ability to transfer all of your Pokemon. Megas weren't dropped in Sun/Moon; they simply took a backseat since Z-moves were the new feature on the spotlight, so they simply could have stayed there and co-exist with whatever new mechanics they were adding.

If you want a better example of a gimmick in a Pokemon game, I'd say that the Dream World in B/W, Poke Walk in HG/SS or playing dress up with your Pikachu in OR/AS fit the bill much more accurately.

And I really don't see how Ultimate's "gimmickry" can be affecting one's ability to enjoy the game. The Spirits are only relevant in Adventure Mode and they are a side feature at best in other modes, they are are no different from the Stickers and custom equipment that preceded them. Smash's simple gameplay hasn't really suffered from it at all. Adding to that is that this installment's main focus was on adding plenty of quality of life features, making the gameplay tighter and making sure the players had a plethora of options to choose, which in several cases is a better move than trying to reinvent the wheel through forced innovation. I'd say that Ultimate is one of the least gimmicky games in the series and the most polished one.
 
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Quillion

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Ryu Myuutsu Ryu Myuutsu : What I mean is that I just don't see the spirits, game changing as they might be, as very significant changes, which is the same way a lot of people see Megas and Z-moves. Say what you will about them, but if you go to the reddit thread I linked, there are a lot of people who find Megas and Z-moves to be unnecessary gimmicks that don't really innovate on the core gameplay.

Again again, I'd like to see "simple but effective" additions to Smash's mechanics. Not something ignorable like customs or spirits. After Ultimate, it's time that the series take the Mario Kart route and successively build on its core gameplay without reinventing it. No need for it to become the next Call of Duty or Classic Mega Man, and no need for it to reinvent the wheel every game like Final Fantasy. Do it like Mario Kart: perfectly balanced like all things should be.
 

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So I had this discussion on Reddit about a month ago over "gimmicks" in Nintendo sequels. People seem to agree that Nintendo makes an effort to make each sequel different from both past and future installments, but things like gravity and FLUDD in Mario and the three-day loop and motion controls in Zelda are unique features, while things like Mega Evolution and Dynamax in Pokémon are gimmicks. The former informs many aspects of design and are incredibly fleshed out, while the latter isn't very fleshed out and feels dumped by the next installment.
I don't understand the difference you think there is between those examples. It just sounds to me like you don't like Pokemon.

Also, the current Mario Kart series is a trash pile of game design that has only gone backwards since Mario Kart DS and should not be emulated by any other game anywhere.
 
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Ryu Myuutsu

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Ryu Myuutsu Ryu Myuutsu : What I mean is that I just don't see the spirits, game changing as they might be, as very significant changes, which is the same way a lot of people see Megas and Z-moves. Say what you will about them, but if you go to the reddit thread I linked, there are a lot of people who find Megas and Z-moves to be unnecessary gimmicks that don't really innovate on the core gameplay.

Again again, I'd like to see "simple but effective" additions to Smash's mechanics. Not something ignorable like customs or spirits. After Ultimate, it's time that the series take the Mario Kart route and successively build on its core gameplay without reinventing it. No need for it to become the next Call of Duty or Classic Mega Man, and no need for it to reinvent the wheel every game like Final Fantasy. Do it like Mario Kart: perfectly balanced like all things should be.
Not to sound arrogant, but a lot of those people have a misguided notion of what accounts as a gimmick.

They are stating their opinions, but opinions are often laced with misinformation and bias. I agree that not everyone will like Megas and Z-moves but to say it adds nothing to the core gameplay is ignorant. We also have to be objective.

I read the posts talking about them and that just supports my observations:

"Z-Moves honestly just felt like a step back. Thought the idea was great (and activating it via a dance move was stupid) but you could remove it from the game and the game and it would change very little (unlike for example the gimmicks in Mario which have a big impact on the gameplay). Having played through the Gen 7 games twice I often just forgot aobut Z-Moves because it is easy enough to progress through the game without them. "

"No one gives a **** about Z-Moves for one thing. "

These posts in a nutshell: Z-moves add nothing to the gameplay because I didn't bother using them/I didn't care about them.

People simply call gimmick a mechanic they aren't fond of.

Meanwhile, competitive players in Smogon and those who participate in Pokemon World Championships build teams heavily incorporating Megas and Z-moves. Turns out people did give a **** about them after all.

Deciding who gets to mega evolve or when to fire a Z-move to remove a threat from the field added an strategic element to competitive Pokemon battles. Nuking an opposing Pokemon with a powerful move can help make a huge difference. There also Z-moves with added effects which help turn mediocre pokemon into serious threats, like Kommo-o and Eevee. Also, non-attacking moves gain additional effects called Z-status; Porygon-Z is a notorious example since Conversion raises all the user's stats when Z-boosted.

There is also some irony because one posts claims that megas and Z-moves need to be eliminated, while claiming that features like the Pokemon Dream World and walking Pokemon need to be kept permanently. Those last two are much more gimmicky than the first two. Particularly the DW because it added a layer of busy work in the form browser mini games if you wanted to raise a particular Pokemon.

I think only this guy in the thread gets it:

"To be fair, you don’t need to have mastery of any of the mechanics to progress; even in the earlier games before the new xp share, you could pick up pretty much any pokemon and clear the game easily.

Where mastery of the mechanics is necessary is in competitive battling, and there Z-moves and mega stones provide an interesting teambuilding tension as to which pokemon to give them too, because you can only have one on each ability on your team and letting your pokemon use them precludes them from using other useful items. I do feel like dynamax seems like a cheaper version of Mega evolution, which at least had an interesting lore explanation and had cool new art."

I don't know if Dynamax will become as prominent as Megas or Z-moves, so we'll have to wait and see how much they contribute to the core gameplay.


Also, Smash is actually on the same route as Mario Kart, as the game has also built on its core gameplay from previous iterations. MK8 DX is the culmination of mechanics and features that have been added through the history of the franchise. It uses the vehicle customization, double item box, the boosts jumps and glider/underwater portions that were introduced in previous entries while adding ultra turbo and anti-gravity sections.

Likewise, Ultimate has built on features from previous Smash games like merging the air dodge mechanics from Melee and Smash 4, keeping the footstool jump from Brawl while also getting rid of detrimental stuff like tripping and lack of hitstun, and giving players the ability to remove stage hazards, etc. Both franchises are good examples on how you build off itself without necessary reinventing themselves.

Smash is far from becoming a Call of Duty since each entry is more or less separated by 6-7 years as opposed to being released annually.
 
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Quillion

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Also, the current Mario Kart series is a trash pile of game design that has only gone backwards since Mario Kart DS and should not be emulated by any other game anywhere.
Wait, why? I know you want snaking to cone back, but I'd rather not a simple kart racer be determined by your ability to wiggle the control stick.

Not to sound arrogant, but a lot of those people have a misguided notion of what accounts as a gimmick.

They are stating their opinions, but opinions are often laced with misinformation and bias. I agree that not everyone will like Megas and Z-moves but to say it adds nothing to the core gameplay is ignorant. We also have to be objective.
It seems more like they're trying to say that Megas and Z-moves are poorly utilized by the single player side. Sure, competitive does get a lot of mileage out of them, but that's a niche dedicated to meticulously optimizing every powerful option possible. In 1P, and hell even 2P battles a lot of the time, you can easily ignore Megas and Z-moves and you can get pretty far. You won't get into majors or anything, but only the competitive community tries to put Pokémon in that direction.

Also, Smash is actually on the same route as Mario Kart, as the game has also built on its core gameplay from previous iterations. MK8 DX is the culmination of mechanics and features that have been added through the history of the franchise. It uses the vehicle customization, double item box, the boosts jumps and glider/underwater portions that were introduced in previous entries while adding ultra turbo and anti-gravity sections.

Likewise, Ultimate has built on features from previous Smash games like merging the air dodge mechanics from Melee and Smash 4, keeping the footstool jump from Brawl while also getting rid of detrimental stuff like tripping and lack of hitstun, and giving players the ability to remove stage hazards, etc. Both franchises are good examples on how you build off itself without necessary reinventing themselves.
I'd hardly equate Smash's tweaking of existing mechanics to Mario Kart adding bikes, vehicle building, underwater and gliding, and antigravity over time. That's more like adjusting the power of the Flamethrower variants in Pokémon.

I want to see new universalized mechanics that add to the gameplay without detracting from the established core. Smash has a lot of room to grow mechanically instead of just tweaking existing mechanics, and it just can't depend on quantity of content forever.
 

Xelrog

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Wait, why? I know you want snaking to cone back, but I'd rather not a simple kart racer be determined by your ability to wiggle the control stick.
Far better it be determined by a roulette wheel and an incidental string of red shells. That's to say nothing about hidden statistics, no snaking, no sideswiping, no signature items, no (insert any other beloved feature from previous entry that's been removed to "simplify" the game), and the fact that ramming into another racer gives them a freakin' speed boost.

But at least your little toddler cousin can stumble into a high place after a few races. That's nice, right?
 

Quillion

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Far better it be determined by a roulette wheel and an incidental string of red shells. That's to say nothing about hidden statistics, no snaking, no sideswiping, no signature items, no (insert any other beloved feature from previous entry that's been removed to "simplify" the game), and the fact that ramming into another racer gives them a freakin' speed boost.

But at least your little toddler cousin can stumble into a high place after a few races. That's nice, right?
It's a party racer. If I wanted to play a racer where skill is more of an object, I'll pick up Gran Turismo.

Next you'll say, "So why do you want Smash to be more complicated when it's a party fighter", right? That's why I want something simple and universalized that adds options. Like turning wavedashing into a real mechanic that can be done without airdodging.
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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It seems more like they're trying to say that Megas and Z-moves are poorly utilized by the single player side. Sure, competitive does get a lot of mileage out of them, but that's a niche dedicated to meticulously optimizing every powerful option possible. In 1P, and hell even 2P battles a lot of the time, you can easily ignore Megas and Z-moves and you can get pretty far. You won't get into majors or anything, but only the competitive community tries to put Pokémon in that direction.
A huge aspect of Pokemon lies in the appeal of Player vs Player. You can beat the single player campaign without using held items, without worrying about team building or abilities that much, by using unevolved or mediocre Pokemon or by ignoring megas, certain TMs, hidden abilities, Z-moves, etc. You can go by ignoring features the game offers you, but those mechanics shine in competitive play.

Considering that most people spend time playing against others, those features get plenty of mileage and are far from being a niche when everyone uses them. Even at a casual level, people with a basic understanding of the game will still try to incorporate some form of team building, meticulously choosing which items they give to their Pokemon and include a mega and a Z-move as well.

I'd hardly equate Smash's tweaking of existing mechanics to Mario Kart adding bikes, vehicle building, underwater and gliding, and antigravity over time. That's more like adjusting the power of the Flamethrower variants in Pokémon.

I want to see new universalized mechanics that add to the gameplay without detracting from the established core. Smash has a lot of room to grow mechanically instead of just tweaking existing mechanics, and it just can't depend on quantity of content forever.
But it does compare.

Bikes, underwater, gliding and anti gravity aren't big features by themselves but small changes that add up to make the overall experience better. Underwater for example, takes the water element and transforms it from a hazard into a viable terrain option, meaning that players are no longer punished with downtime for falling into bodies of water and that makes the game more kinectic.
Same with Smash's increase in speed, directional air dodge, dodge staling, reduced landing lag, parry mechanic, while keeping previous aspects and getting rid of bad ones like tripping. Changes like those makes the game more kinectic and fluid without forcing a new mechanic. I see changes like those analog to what MK has done. And then there's also the QoL features to the menus and UI. This Smash isn't clearly just depending on quantity of content. I know that the tagline is "Everyone is Here!", but I would also call Ultimate "the one where they focused on quality of life ".

Far better it be determined by a roulette wheel and an incidental string of red shells. That's to say nothing about hidden statistics, no snaking, no sideswiping, no signature items, no (insert any other beloved feature from previous entry that's been removed to "simplify" the game), and the fact that ramming into another racer gives them a freakin' speed boost.

But at least your little toddler cousin can stumble into a high place after a few races. That's nice, right?
If we were talking specifically about MKWii, some of your points would have some validity.

Red Shells are less frequent in MK8. And while I think that certain statistics like the mini turbo should be visible, this is not a dealbreaker and this is an issue that is not exclusive to MK; Smash has them as well in the form weight values, fall speed, air speed, ground speed, etc. In fact, almost every game out there is guilty of this to some extent.

Signature items are objectively bad for balance. They are a cool idea for sure, but in Double Dash, some characters got stuck with a unique but mediocre item like DK and Diddy, while others had OP ones like Boweser and Bowser Jr. and the Babies.

You only gain a speed boost by ramming into others during the anti gravity sections, which is actually a good thing. MK races tend to get hectic and certain sections of a track might get too crowded and chaotic, with the lighter racers getting bullied by the heavier ones. Those anti gravity sections shake things up a bit by encouraging players to use the crowd to their advantage and collide with others and get a speed boost, while still keeping the traditional segments so you can still ram into others as long as you are not in anti gravity.

Also, this: "no (insert any other beloved feature from previous entry that's been removed to "simplify" the game)". You decry the removal of a beloved feature. You just don't know which one, so you decided to use a stock phrase to illustrate your complaint. You miss the absence of something, you just don't know what exactly lol.

Try arguing facts next time instead of throwing a temper tantrum.

And it's very unlikely for a toddler to win on dumb luck. I've played with my friends' children and they can't even drive.
 

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It's a party racer. If I wanted to play a racer where skill is more of an object, I'll pick up Gran Turismo.
Smash Bros. is a party game. If I wanted a competitive fighter I'd pick up Street Fighter.

Let's re-add random tripping and force items on, eh?
 

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Let's re-add random tripping and force items on, eh?
Tripping was a mistake. They tried something and it didn't work. Items though, if you can't handle items you really shouldn't be playing Smash bros. Why try to force the game into being something it's not? Random and crazy is all part of the series identity.
 

Quillion

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Smash Bros. is a party game. If I wanted a competitive fighter I'd pick up Street Fighter.

Let's re-add random tripping and force items on, eh?
Next you'll say, "So why do you want Smash to be more complicated when it's a party fighter", right? That's why I want something simple and universalized that adds options. Like turning wavedashing into a real mechanic that can be done without airdodging.
Read you like a book.

But it does compare.

Bikes, underwater, gliding and anti gravity aren't big features by themselves but small changes that add up to make the overall experience better. Underwater for example, takes the water element and transforms it from a hazard into a viable terrain option, meaning that players are no longer punished with downtime for falling into bodies of water and that makes the game more kinectic.
Same with Smash's increase in speed, directional air dodge, dodge staling, reduced landing lag, parry mechanic, while keeping previous aspects and getting rid of bad ones like tripping. Changes like those makes the game more kinectic and fluid without forcing a new mechanic. I see changes like those analog to what MK has done. And then there's also the QoL features to the menus and UI. This Smash isn't clearly just depending on quantity of content. I know that the tagline is "Everyone is Here!", but I would also call Ultimate "the one where they focused on quality of life ".
All of those are just tweaking existing things rather than adding something the way underwater, gliding, and antigrav do. I'd like to see something almost to the level of what Melee did adding side Bs for everyone.
 
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Xelrog

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The point I was making is that something can very easily be a chaotic party game and also have the potential to be competitive. The two are not mutually exclusive, as Smash clearly proves, and it disgusts me that Mario Kart is given a free pass to not even try.
 

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All of those are just tweaking existing things rather than adding something the way underwater, gliding, and antigrav do. I'd like to see something almost to the level of what Melee did adding side Bs for everyone.
It would be interesting, but I would be more open to see the concept in execution rather than in paper.

It's kind of difficult to catch lightning in a bottle twice like what happened with Melee. No, I don't mean that later Smash games are bad. What I mean is that Melee brought a lot of mechanics that became series staples.

Melee brought air dodges, spot dodges, tether grabs, side Bs, directional throws and pummels, charged Smash attacks, wall jumps, etc. The improvements it brought to the game when compared to its predecessor were extremely dramatic. Those mechanics are so mainstay that a Smash game without them would feel like a step back. Also, the franchise was still in its infancy at the time and developing its identity.

From there it becomes increasingly difficult to innovate in a significant way. Brawl added mechanics of its own like footstools, additional taunts, crawling and gliding but none of them are as game changers when compared to Melee's changes.
 

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Mega Evolutions and Z-moves aren't gimmicks though; they are a feature that became part of the core gameplay of pokemon
I don't remember Mega Evolutions being in Sun/Moon. Has there been any sign of Z-Moves in Sword/Shield yet?
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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Necro'lic

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I feel that GF has done very questionable decisions with these games. I'm still holding out for them to be added via an update.
I wouldn't honestly. They have never done an update that adds entire mechanics not already in the game. And since Megas and Z-Moves are likely not even programmed into the game (meaning you can't even transfer the mega stones or z crystals), I've given up any hope of them ever being present in Sw/Sh
 

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I don't really mind that they're gone. I wouldn't even mind if only the Galar dex were competitively legal. Dynamax and the limited pool should both stir up the competitive scene in an interesting way.

I just want to be able to keep my livingdex for breeding and what have you. :/
 

Necro'lic

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I don't really mind that they're gone. I wouldn't even mind if only the Galar dex were competitively legal. Dynamax and the limited pool should both stir up the competitive scene in an interesting way.

I just want to be able to keep my livingdex for breeding and what have you. :/
I can guarantee you that all the limited amount of Pokemon will do is limit the viable competitive choices available in the game. Nothing else. You cannot balance or improve competitive by removing choices from the player. It never works.

To segue this point back to Smash Bros, why do you think everyone competitively inclined despised Brawl?
 

Ryu Myuutsu

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GF hasn't also been very keen on balancing, so the interview with Masuda where he says that they did for balance doesn't make sense to me.

It's almost impossible to balance a game like Pokemon, so something akin to creating different tiers like Smogon does seems more doable.
 

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I can guarantee you that all the limited amount of Pokemon will do is limit the viable competitive choices available in the game. Nothing else. You cannot balance or improve competitive by removing choices from the player. It never works.

To segue this point back to Smash Bros, why do you think everyone competitively inclined despised Brawl?
It wasn't because characters were removed from Melee. I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

If everyone's using Meta Knight and banning Meta Knight will result in a wider array of characters being used, then competitive is improved.
 

Necro'lic

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It wasn't because characters were removed from Melee. I'm not sure what you're getting at here.
The problem of removing mechanics that competitive players used in Brawl is similar to removing Pokemon for competitive (and casual) use in Sword and Shield.

If everyone's using Meta Knight and banning Meta Knight will result in a wider array of characters being used, then competitive is improved.
Wait. Did you gleam from my statements that having less characters means better competitive, even though that is clearly the exact opposite of what I actually think? Not sure how you did that, honestly.

What did you think I meant?
 

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Did you gleam from my statements that having less characters means better competitive, even though that is clearly the exact opposite of what I actually think? Not sure how you did that, honestly.

What did you think I meant?
I didn't think that's what you think. I was using an analogy to explain why someone would think that, despite your opinion to the contrary. I was presenting a viewpoint opposite yours.
 

Quillion

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It would be interesting, but I would be more open to see the concept in execution rather than in paper.

It's kind of difficult to catch lightning in a bottle twice like what happened with Melee. No, I don't mean that later Smash games are bad. What I mean is that Melee brought a lot of mechanics that became series staples.
Then what they can do is build on some of the emergent gameplay that Melee had and turn them into actual mechanics while expanding on them and making them more accessible.

They already did this with making almost everyone's landing lag essentially auto-L-Canceling (while still having high landing lag on certain moves for balance purposes). Why not try it with wavedashing.

What they can do is assign one of the shoulder triggers so that you can use it as a wavedash, and you can tilt the stick in different directions to control the distance. Not only that, but you could use it to cancel jabs, tilts, and some specials so that ground-based combos have more flexibility. But to balance it out the wavedash stales its max distance so that you can't infinitel. This adapts the waveshine into a universal mechanic while making it easier and balanced.

Maybe if they don't want to overcomplicate the series with new mechanics, they can take the approach they take with third party characters and slowly modify the game so that it isn't so jarring. They shouldn't introduce an actual wavedash mechanic, an L-B move, or EX Specials all at once, but just one at a time.
 
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