Nintendo will be partnering with gaming organisation Panda Global to run the event (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz), which will take place in North America in 2022. The tournament will see players battling it out in both Super Smash Bros Ultimate, the most recent entry in the series, released for Nintendo Switch in 2018, and enduring fan-favourite, Super Smash Bros Melee, released on the GameCube in 2001.
In its announcement of the pro circuit, Panda Global says it will be a “short series of events” leading to “a single championship with cash prizes for competitors in each Super Smash Bros. title”.
Initial qualifier matches are expected to be online, with in-person qualifiers taking place when large scale events can safely resume, in the wake of COVID. Although the competition seems to be focused primarily on the USA, Panda Global says “players from Canada and Mexico will also be able to enter and compete” if international travel is deemed permissible.
While broader international inclusion would have been welcomed, hopefully success of the 2022 event will see expansion in future. As it stands, just launching the upcoming competition is a key move, as Nintendo has traditionally bristled at Super Smash Bros. being involved with tournaments. The company infamously pulled Super Smash Bros. from the EVO fighting game championships in 2013, making this move towards an official tournament an important step.
“This partnership with Panda Global is the next step in Nintendo’s efforts to create a more consistent, fun and welcoming competitive environment for our players and fans,” said Bill Trinen, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Nintendo of America, via statement. “We are proud to stand with an organization like Panda Global to celebrate and support the ever-growing competitive Super Smash Bros. community, and create a space where all players can test and hone their competitive skills.”
“One of our key missions at Panda Global is to serve our various grassroots communities in new and exciting ways,” said Dr. Alan Bunney, CEO of Panda Global. “By partnering with Nintendo, we are giving our competitors the chance to compete in an officially licensed Super Smash Bros. circuit for the first time.”
In related Nintendo news, its arguably less-loved console, the Wii U, is getting a brand new title to mark the ninth anniversary of its release. Titled Captain U, the indie game is a retro style platformer, but one that makes use of the Wii U’s touchpad controller and has “a few twists and plenty of tributes”.