Esports Fighting Games

The potential impact of Smash Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is less than 3 months away and looks to be every Smash player’s dream game. There’s a lot to be excited about. With a plethora of new characters, stages, and mechanics, the Smash community could have all of their problems solved by Ultimate. But gameplay changes aside, there is another huge change that Smash Ultimate can bring to the Smash community: togetherness.

A Tale of Two Factions

For as inclusive and welcoming as the Smash community can be (at times), it’s usually been separated into two main categories: the die-hard fans of Melee, and the Smash 4 scene (Smash 64 players seem pretty content with only playing 64, and Brawl lives on through mod setups being played at tournaments). In a perfect world, these two competitive scenes would get along 100% of the time, but that unfortunately isn’t the case. There isn’t any fighting going on between the two scenes. Rather there can sometimes be a lack of respect for the other’s game of choice. It isn’t very prevalent, but it does divide the community.,

The majority of regular Melee players are typically older. They’re usually veterans of the Smash scene, less inclined to shy away from Melee and play Smash 4. Some of the Smash community’s most prominent figures are Melee OGs. So it sucks that, throughout all of these years, they’ve mostly only stuck to playing Melee. Some have entered a Smash 4 tournament here and there, but many never really took the dive and fully committed to the game.

However, the same problem exists for the Smash 4 side. Many players (including myself) got their start in competitive Smash with Smash 4. The majority of them are younger and less inclined to venture out and enter a Melee tournament. Smash 4 is what they’re most comfortable with and diving into competitive melee could seem daunting to a Smash 4 regular, more so as it becomes increasingly difficult to meet the highly technical requirements of performing well in competitive Melee. While this division isn’t necessarily a super toxic one, it is very limiting nonetheless.

The Endless Potential

Two legends of different games – is this the future of Smash? // Image: YouTube

The ideal Smash community would have all players participating in all events, making for new and varied matchups at every event. Imagine the world’s best Melee and Smash 4 players battling it out for the title of “Best in the world”. While this will never be 100% reality, Smash Ultimate will likely get us closer than we ever have been to unity in the community. Smash Ultimate has garnered the attention of the entire community, not just the Smash 4 crowd. Smash 4 will almost certainly be replaced by Smash Ultimate, barring some unforeseen tragedy. Melee, however, seems to be in a position where it will never die.

This isn’t to say that Melee needs to go away, because it absolutely does not. However, I was surprised at how many prominent Melee figures have expressed their interests in playing Smash Ultimate seriously. Ultimate’s speed and mechanics seem to be a comfortable compromise between Melee and Smash 4, which could very possibly unite the community and create endless possibilities. In a world where Melee and Smash 4 vets clash in this new Ultimate battle, the Smash community could be the strongest it’s ever been.

It certainly won’t happen overnight and still isn’t a guarantee. However, Smash Ultimate offers an opportunity to bridge the gap between the factions, allowing the Smash community to become a Smash Bros utopia. Only time will tell if Ultimate leaves this impact, but there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Come December, we’ll definitively know if that optimism was well-placed.

 


Featured image courtesy of NDTV GADGETS.

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