After a six-year run at Evo, the largest fighting game tournament, Super Smash Bros. Melee will not be returning for Evo 2019.
A livestream for the Las Vegas-based tournament showed off the line-up of what games would be featured at their 2019 event. To the surprise, frustration and joy of many, Melee was not a part of this year’s docket.
Melee departs with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 and Injustice 2. In their place, the recently released Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will premiere, alongside Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], Mortal Kombat 11, Soulcalibur VI and Samurai Shodown.
After the announcement, the livestream played a video to give a formal send-off to the Melee scene.
There has been some backlash toward the game being removed, mainly by fans of the game, due to its popularity with viewers. However, other people are happy due to ongoing frustrations with people from that scene and because newer games are able to take the stage from the nearly 18-year-old game.
“I don’t think it’s the correct decision to get mad at Evo or other parties for this, I believe it was just an inevitable eventual outcome as time progressed,” Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, professional Melee player, said on Twitter. “Just support your scene when you can i [sic] think is the right decision. I don’t think the game will ever go away.”
While Melee won’t be at Evo, it will still be present at smaller tournaments, such as CEO and DreamHack. Melee‘s scene might be hurt without the visibility Evp affords, but its presence is still strong in spite of the game’s age.
Melee was first featured in the 2007 iteration of Evo, but it was not featured in the following years. The game was reintroduced in 2013 after it was voted on through a donation drive and stuck on as a mainstay up until now. While popular in the North American scene, its relative lack of popularity in Japan led to it being absent from Evo Japan 2018.