Smash Ultimate Summit unites Melee and Smash 4 pros
With Smash Ultimate now firmly in the hands of the public, one of the scene’s best tournaments has announced its next event. Beyond the Summit will run their first Smash Ultimate Summit in March - from the 8th to the 10th of the month - with six invited players and four qualifiers, and the players they’ve invited suggest this could be the most open official Smash game ever made.
Of the six invited players, three are top-level Melee players and three represent the more modern Smash games, which have traditionally existed in a fairly separate sphere. Recent months have seen tension between the Melee and Smash 4 communities and the Summit event looks to ignore that and include players from both sides of the fence, with many Melee pros having embraced Ultimate as a stream game since its release.
Armada among star fleet
Alongside Nairoby ‘Nairo’ Quezada, Gonzalo ‘ZeRo’ Barrios and Leonardo ‘MKLeo’ Lopez Perez will be William ‘Leffen’ Hjelte, Jason ‘Mew2King’ Zimmerman and Adam ‘Armada’ Lindgren, with the latter making his first real competitive appearance since retiring from Melee in 2018. That alone should excite fans, as well as Leffen appearing at his third different type of Summit, having played in both the Melee and Dragon Ball FighterZ verions.
The remaining four spots will be decided at Genesis 6, which is taking place at the start of February, and there are some potentially very interesting players that could still make it in, including Liquid’s Saleem ‘Salem’ Akiel Young, who recently caused a rift in the Smash scene. References to ‘years of research’ have flown on social media, and may well continue throughout Summit if Salem makes the cut after he lashed out at, well, many people on twitter.
Seemingly prompted by anger at Melee players streaming Ultimate to large numbers of viewers, which Salem seems to view as the ‘property’ of Smash 4 pros, Team Liquid’s less famous Smash player lashed out at a number of people in the Melee community, making himself a meme and figure of fun in one fell swoop. Attacking Armada for being a ‘one-trick pony’ was possibly the peak of his prickliness, but he also went after Joseph ‘Mang0’ Marquez and Leffen, and if he were able to achieve a spot at the Summit it would only add to an already spicy weekend.
United again after Project M
Even without Salem, this will be the first Ultimate event to pit Melee and Smash 4 players against each other and the first official game in the series to do so. Community-made game Project M successfully brought the two sides together under one title but Nintendo made sure that game could not continue, aided and abetted by community members who went on to profit from the release of Smash 4, the game PM threatened to contend with.
The next few months will be vital for Ultimate - and Smash overall
That is all in the past, and now it is time to see how Ultimate shapes up from a competitive point of view. If it can unite Melee and Smash 4 players that would seem on the face of things to be a good thing, but the danger of the game would be removing focus from Melee, the only enduring title in the series from a competitive point of view, in favour of quick bucks from the developer.
The next few months will be vital for Ultimate - and Smash overall - and Summit is going to be an amazing bellwether for the way the scene could evolve.