Nintendo is partnering with eSports group Panda to host an officially licensed Super Smash Bros circuit in North America. This is the first-ever officially licensed event and will feature both Super Smash Bros Ultimate as well as Super Smash Bros Melee. Panda will hold the championship sometime in 2022, with details including cash prizes releasing in the near future.
Confirmed. Ready your A-game, Super #SmashBros competitors. We've partnered with @PandaGlobal to launch the first officially licensed Super Smash Bros. championship circuit in North America, coming 2022! #SmashBrosUltimate #SmashBrosMelee https://t.co/3WKbEYrMH2
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 18, 2021
The announcement is particularly significant for the Super Smash Bros Melee community. The championship will mark the first time Nintendo acknowledges the competitive Melee scene since the game’s release in 2001. After almost 20 years, the game continues to have an active community, with it appearing at events like EVO.
However, Nintendo has also made attempts to shut down tournaments featuring Melee and its modified versions. In 2020, Nintendo sent a cease and desist to the Smash tournament The Big House for hosting an online tournament using a modified online version of Melee. This left members of the competitive Melee community with few options to organize tournaments during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a Tweet, veteran competitive Smash player HungryBox highlighted just how major the announcement was. On the other hand, some fans expressed skepticism over Nintendo’s involvement in the circuit. Retired professional Melee player PewPewU stated that he “straight up cannot trust [Nintendo],” but also stated that he would give them the chance.
Recently, Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai discussed the future of the franchise after the release of its final DLC character Sora. In the interview, Sakurai also revealed that the development team had initially considered adding aerial smash attacks in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
Nintendo and Panda will hold the officially licensed Super Smash Bros North American circuit sometime in 2022. It will announce prizes and other event details at a later date.