EVO, the world’s biggest fighting game tournament held every year in Las Vegas, will not feature Super Smash Bros. Melee on the main stage for the first time in six years despite no decline in commercial success for the game’s tournament scene.
Melee regularly pull record numbers when it takes the stage and this has left many wondering why Melee was excluded this year.
During the main stage title announcements EVO executive MrWiz stated that Melee has had a long run at the tournament (six years to be exact) and it was time for it to leave the main stage in favor of different and more unique titles.
Additionally, the presence of Smash Ultimate on the main stage for the first time likely factored in to this decision.
However, most pros believe that there wasn’t a sufficient reason given for Melee’s removal from the main stage and large amount of the community is unhappy about the decision.
In an interview conducted by Twinfinite, top Melee player Rishi stated:
I don’t know what ultimately determines which games are at EVO, but there was no explanation given from the EVO team or MrWiz. Not much point in speculating.
When asked if Melee should have retained its place on the main stage, Rishi replied:
Of course Melee should retain its place in the spotlight. The past year has shown that it’s the best time to be a Melee fan. The gameplay continues to evolve despite how deep we are into the meta, and the storylines are still exciting to watch.
That statement tends to hold up considering the fact that Melee is one of the most successful fighting games of all time and still is to this day.
The game is know for consistently pulling huge numbers in viewership and tournament registration. Melee registration at past EVOs have even exceeded a thousand entrants.
Rishi makes a solid point when discussing how this move may effect the business end of EVO 2019:
Melee brings a lot of unique entrants to EVO, and without Melee as a main event, the number of Melee fans attending EVO will be lower. I’m sure there will still be a decent side event.
Ideally there will be a solid turnout for a Melee side tournament at EVO this year. Pros who still love the game and play it regularly are likely to compete in it alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Melee is a beloved game in the fighting game community and, according to Rishi, the reason it is so special and successful is:
With Melee, it’s all about the game. The reason the competitive scene is still thriving is because there are so many people out there that love the game enough to make it happen on their own.
No other game that I have seen or played allows for the freedom that Melee does thanks to its virtually limitless tech ceiling, multitude of movement options, and precise controls.
While there is little to no chance of a reversal on the decision to remove Super Smash Bros. Melee from EVO 2019, the community still loves the game and hopes to see it continue to grow and flourish.
The competitive scene is still as strong and as active as ever regardless of this setback. It seems that players will be playing Melee for quite some time to come.
To learn more about the upset at EVO 2019 surrounding Melee, you can check out our article on the game that some people believe pushed Melee from the main stage.
Also, check out the more detailed interview piece that narrows in on this controversy and highlights an amazing game community that worked to get their game front and center on the EVO main stage.