The Death of Melee in eSports (But Probably Not From Them All, Don’t Panic)
This year Evos organisers have decided to drop the 18-year-old (yes, that made me feel ancient too), Nintendo Beat ‘Em Up eSports institution that is Super Smash Bros. Melee in favour of its younger sibling Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
If this is upsetting news, I completely understand. Melee has been an institution and pretty much a constant since the beginning but the movement makes a lot of sense. There’s a whole host of changes, new mechanics and characters to choose from in the new game and this can open the competitive playing field to allow even relatively new players to compete online if they find the right set up. eSports thrives on new competition switch-ing (get it?) to a newer iteration, can (literally) change the game.
The live stream which announced the years’ lineup also included a touching parting segment to say thank you to the GameCube game that has made such an impact on the competitive gaming scene.
You can watch the farewell right here (I’m not crying, you’re crying).
But there’s more to esports than just Smash, right?
As for the rest of the games in the lineup, we have Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI, Mortal Kombat 11, DragonBall Fighter Z and Blazblue which round out the usual eSport suspects.
Then you have the slightly odder choice in Samurai Shodown, which if you haven’t seen you can be forgiven for. It’s a reincarnation of a Neo-Geo/Megadrive/Arcade game that hasn’t been seen for a while. Its last release was an anthology in 2009 of the classic games which included its original release.I personally remember playing on Megadrive. The latest incarnation of it isn’t due for release until the summer which leaves a pretty steep learning curve for anyone to get ready to compete. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, dedicated players will all fall into a similar skill level, there’ll be new techniques showing up all the time – potentially even between rounds. It’ll be pretty intriguing to see how it plays out.
The other abstract game which you might not have of heard of is obscure 2d fighter Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] by French-Bread and Ecole Software. Think Blazblue crossed with Dark stalkers and you kind of get the picture, it’s an over the top highly animated brawler with some absolutely beautiful animation and the standard flashy combos that follow it. This is a game where a match with two skilled players can still only last 10 seconds.
What game are you most excited to watch? Are you in mourning for the loss of Melee? Intrigued by the inclusion of the unreleased? Or just an avid fan of fighting eSports with a thirst for blood? We’ll be covering all of the news on Evo in the run-up to the tournament so make sure to bookmark our page to keep up to date.