For the first time in six years, Super Smash Bros. Melee will not be gracing the main stage of this year's Evo, as the game has been dropped from the tournament's line-up.
A game Nintendo amusingly described as "too difficult", Super Smash Bros. Melee has been a staple of fighting game tournaments since its release on GameCube nearly 18 years ago. Last night Evo's organisers revealed the 2019 line-up in a livestream, along with a thank you video for Melee to honour its contributions to the tournament over the years. Judging by this farewell eulogy, it sounds like Melee's exclusion may be pretty final.
EVO's thank you video for Super Smash Bros. Melee pic.twitter.com/OG8DzW7R8c— Wario64 (@Wario64) February 27, 2019
So, what's replacing this bastion of the fighting game community? The Smash contingent is now represented by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, while big names like Soul Calibur 6 and Mortal Kombat 11 will also be present. But Evo has also selected a couple of more unusual choices, such as Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]. Alongside having a weird name, this title is also a relatively obscure 2D fighter made by Ecole Software and French-Bread.
Samurai Shodown, another surprise inclusion, is due to release sometime in summer 2019. That's leaving a pretty short window for any competitors to get used to the game, potentially making it a rather exciting contest.
Despite its absence from Evo 2019, it's still not game over for Melee's competitive community, as the title will still feature at tournaments such as CEO 2019 and Super Smash Con. This removal from the world's largest fighting game tournament, however, does raise questions as to exactly how long it will survive.
If you're interested in watching Evo 2019 - even without Melee - you can catch it from 2nd to 4th August.