While the details may be foggy, the message is clear: Super Smash Bros. Melee is officially returning to not only EVO, the world’s largest annual fighting game competition, but to the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit.
Nintendo’s classic all-star fighter will join the likes of Street Fighter and Starcraft this summer at Major League Gaming’s Anaheim Pro Circuit stop on June 20-22 and EVO 2014 at Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on July 11-13.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, only Melee will be heading to Anaheim and Las Vegas this year. Melee’s 2008 predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, will not be joining the lineups of either event.
Super Smash Bros. Melee returns to Evo! http://t.co/1xtqcf3TAZ
— Joey Cuellar (@EvilMrWizard) March 12, 2014
Super Smash Bros. Melee was the underdog success of 2013 – after rallying behind a massive breast cancer research donation drive that earned their spot in the EVO 2013 lineup, the Melee community put on one hell of a show for the fans, breaching over 130,000 concurrent viewers online and becoming the second most watched fighting game tournament of all time (second only to the finals of Ultimate Marvel. vs. Capcom 3 at that very same event).
However, the game’s return to EVO was juggled in the air thanks to talks between EVO and Nintendo continuing past the official announcement of the tournament’s roster. It was only after weeks of deliberation that we now finally have our answer.
— MLG (@MLG) March 12, 2014
Similarly, Major League Gaming also had to deal with Nintendo. Although Major League Gaming has hosted tournaments in the past for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, as recently as 2010 with Brawl’s first and only year on the Pro Circuit, the rapid growth of the competitive Smash Bros. community has fueled increased involvement and interaction between Nintendo and major tournament organizers. While MLG got away with streaming Melee many years ago, they were unable to produce a livestream for the Brawl competition in 2010 due to Nintendo.
Thanks to their efforts, both EVO and Major League Gaming were proud to announce the return of Melee to both of their event lineups with the good graces of Nintendo themselves. The Big N was reached by Polygon and spoke with them about competitive Smash Bros.:
\”The fact that Super Smash Bros. Melee is being used to help determine champion status for competitive gamers so many years after it was released is a testament to the strong fan passion for both this individual game and the Super Smash Bros. franchise overall,\” a representative for Nintendo told Polygon. \”Nintendo is happy to work with both Evo and Major League Gaming to help make their tournaments come to life using the game, and we hope it helps make their events enjoyable for video game fans everywhere. Nintendo will be releasing a new Super Smash Bros. game for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS this year.\”
Last year, Nintendo barred Melee from being streamed at EVO, throwing the game’s livelihood on the tournament roster in jeopardy, before quick discussion and a large social media push helped reverse the decision within the day. Before today’s announcements, a similar movement, popularized by \”#freemelee\” and \”#freesmashbros,\” caused another dramatic stir to help Smash Bros. retain its rightful place at Anaheim and Las Vegas.
Beyond announcing Melee’s return, however, EVO has not announced much about the competition itself. Major League Gaming though has slipped some tidbits of info to keep Smashers hungry.
More details later but Smash Melee will have a prize purse of $15,000. Also room in the schedule for crew battles and old school match ups
— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) March 12, 2014