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Nintendo announces invitational tournament for Smash Bros. on Switch

Smash Bros. on Nintendo Switch

On the morning of March 22, Nintendo Versus confirmed on Twitter that Splatoon 2 and the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be featured in tournaments at this year’s E3. Specifically, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch will be featured via the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018. This event will take place on June 11-12 and will be streamed on Nintendo’s official YouTube and Twitch channels.

Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 Banner
Nintendo will be hosting the second Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament on June 11-12. Image: Nintendo Versus

The last two weeks or so have been ineffably exciting for every fan of Super Smash Bros. The announcement of any new Smash game, and the pre-release hype that comes along with it, is something special. It’s an event in and of itself. Since Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch was confirmed via Nintendo Direct on March 8, fans have already been discussing and speculating what this new entry will bring to the table.

The announcement of this upcoming Invitational tournament brings with it a lot of excitement for fans, both in and out of the competitive Smash Bros. community. But what exactly can we expect from this tournament? And why should competitive players be especially excited for this upcoming event? Let’s talk about it.

The Invitational’s Precedent

Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios and Reggie Fils-Aime holding 2014 Invitational Trophy.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime (left) presented the trophy for the 2014 Invitational to Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios (right). This was Barrios’ first of many tournament victories. Image: YouTube

The previous invitational tournament for Super Smash Bros. was held on June 10, 2014. The tournament featured sixteen selected participants from the competitive Smash Bros. community. The tournament was held as a means of promoting and showcasing the then-upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

So why bring this event back for the newest entry in Super Smash Bros.? Quite simply, 2014’s invitational did a phenomenal job at getting the casual and competitive Smash communities excited for the new release. Simply seeing the game in action and being played by very skilled players gave viewers around the world a sizable taste of what to expect in Smash 4. With selected commentators and players from the competitive community, in addition to the guest appearance of beloved series director, Masahiro Sakurai, the 2014 Super Smash Bros. Invitational was something to remember.

The tournament, while not closely following traditionally competitive rules for the sake of showing off the game’s features (such as stages, items, etc.), was a resounding success for Nintendo. Over 3,000 attendees were in the audience, and hundreds of thousands watched the event online.

What can we expect with this year’s invitational?

What makes this upcoming invitational tournament different from the one that we saw in 2014 concerns what we know about the game going into the tournament. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS were announced at E3 2013, giving Smash fans an entire year of information about the game. By the time of the 2014 invitational tournament, most people had a palpable idea of what Smash 4 was going to be like.

Thousands in attendance at the 2014 Invitational tournament.
The 2014 Super Smash Bros. Invitational tournament was a resounding success. Will this year’s be greater, given that we know very little about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch? Image: YouTube

As of writing, there isn’t much that Nintendo has unveiled about Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch. The teaser trailer that Nintendo released on March 8 only reveals that Inklings will be in the game, a number of veterans appear to be returning, and that the game is scheduled for a 2018 release. Outside of that, Nintendo is being very secretive about this new entry. And it will likely stay that way until this upcoming tournament.

Unlike the tournament that we saw in 2014, the 2018 Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament can serve as Nintendo’s big blowout of what Smash Bros. on Switch will be. This tournament can serve as Nintendo’s method of showing off the game’s new content, some new characters and stages, and so on. And Nintendo officially unveiling so much content in front a stadium with thousands of attendees may lead to an infectiously exciting event, that all Smash fans should be eagerly anticipating.

A Competitive Edge

Similar to the 2014 event, this upcoming tournament will likely refuse to conform to conventional tournament rules (such as no items, non-intrusive stages, etc.) for the sake of showing off the game’s full range of content. In that sense, we shouldn’t expect this event’s focus to be exclusively on competitive players. That said, Nintendo may apply a different strategy than they did in 2014.

Last year, Nintendo launched the Nintendo Versus Twitter account, which has focused on announcing and highlighting tournaments for Smash 4, Splatoon 2, and ARMS. Recently, we’ve also seen Nintendo host tournaments more often. Nintendo has been pushing their games to be played competitively, most recently with the ARMS US and Canada Open. Can we expect Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch to serve as an opportunity for Nintendo to create a greater relationship with the competitive Smash community? It’s certainly possible, and the 2018 Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament could very well give a definitive answer to that question.

In any instance, this upcoming event is one that many should keep their eyes on. What would you like to see at this year’s invitational? Would you like to see Nintendo hold more of these? And do you think Nintendo will reveal any more information on Smash for Nintendo Switch prior to the event. As always, join the conversation and let us know!



Featured image courtesy of Nintendo via Nintendo Direct.

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