Today, Joey Cuellar, the president of the Evolution Championship Series (Evo) announced that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the highest number of registered participants in the 2019 tournament. The news isn't too surprising considering the Super Smash Bros. series has done very well at Evo in terms of viewership and competitors for years and years. What makes this particular year interesting is the fact that Super Smash Bros. Melee is absent from the roster of mainstage titles.
In the 2018 tournament, Melee ranked sixth out of the nine titles included. While it's widely considered the most competitive game in the overall Smash Bros. series it actually fell one place behind Super Smash Bros. Wii U last year. With Ultimate, however, the mix between more refined gameplay mechanics as well as the hype that comes with some of the best DLC characters in a fighting game ever has definitely set the game apart from its predecessors. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn't quite where Melee is on a competitive level, but that hasn't stopped the game from becoming one of the Nintendo Switch's best-selling games.
Even though this is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's first appearance at Evo, it managed to get more registered competitors than the eight other games on Evo 2019's roster. The hype surrounding the game has been high since the announcement of The Hero from Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age as well as Banjo and Kazooie from the Nintendo 64's Banjo-Kazooie. Nintendo has never been known to make major announcements at fighting game tournaments like Evo so don't expect any sort of release date for the newly announced characters.
Nintendo hasn't always been very friendly with its more competitive community. Since the Switch launched, the company has taken new initiatives into eSports with games like Splatoon 2, Arms, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While Nintendo has only just begun supporting the Smash community, the series has been a mainstay at Evo among some of the genre's more traditional games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and more.
As this is the first time Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been a part of Evo, it will be interesting to see how viewers react to the competition. Last year, Super Smash Bros. Wii U was one of the more controversial titles as the game's top competitors were comprised of Bayonetta users. As far as tier lists go, there's no character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate who's as infamous as Bayonetta was in the previous title, which should greatly improve the viewing experience, one of the main reasons why Super Smash Bros. currently has such a divisive reputation in the fighting game community.
Source: Joey Cuellar/Twitter