I don't really know what to think. I'm even more unsure of what to say since the outrage a friend has been retweeting clashes so well with how most here seem to be responding to the verdict (at least within this topic). I just know that killing's messed up and it'd be nice if it happened less often.
That sounds like it'd be more irritating than hard, especially if it was a late-game death and you'd have to go through the motions of leveling up a character from scratch. And then THEY died during that, probably to something lame, too, like a crit or instant-death attack during an ambush.
IX is really a game where you make the difficulty yourself, so if one wants it to be 'hard' they just have to limit what they do. Minimal leveling, using subpar equipment, not having a full team, etc, etc. Punishing yourself for a character death feels like it'd be taking things too far, though, more so when considering that getting owned is something that's apparently supposed to happen frequently in these games (heck, I think IX has accolades for how many times you had to be brought back at the church).
Not quite sure on my choice at the moment, but I recall reading that the developers wanted to focus more on refining existing characters than making new ones, yo. Still, some new ones would be spiffy, especially if Metroid got a bit more representation.
As for stages, I'm not so sure. A lot of the ones introduced in Brawl felt kinda... mediocre. Like they could've done more with them or something.
I guess I could hope for game play changes, namely the permanent omission of tripping.