After years of faithful service, EVO appears to finally be retiring Super Smash Bros. Melee from its lineup. EVO released its official lineup for EVO 2019, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has ousted Melee as the resident Smash Bros. game at the fighting game tournament. Ultimate will join modern favorites like Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, while Melee is nowhere to be found.
Super Smash Bros. Melee, the second game in the Super Smash Bros. series, was a beloved game in the fighting tournament scene since its release in 2001, despite being a more “casual” fighting game. Melee was much more popular than the other installments of the series because it had a faster pace and higher skill threshold that was more in-line with more traditional fighting games like Tekken and Street Fighter. Over the years, EVO had experimented in adding Melee to its fighting game lineup, but Nintendo was hesitant to let them. In 2013, Nintendo actually sent a cease and desist letter to EVO to stop them from streaming the game. The next year, however, Melee was added to the lineup with Nintendo’s approval. Since then, Melee has been a highlight of every EVO. However, now that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has released, it looks like the almost 20-year-old game is finally being replaced with the newest title in the series.
EVO released a “farewell” video to commemorate the joy and excitement that Melee brought to the tournament over the years. While it’s entirely possible that Melee could return in a future EVO, it’s more likely that Ultimate will be a permanent replacement for Melee and EVO will only use the most up-to-date version of Super Smash Bros. from now on.