.@SonicFox5000 issues a challenge to @zerowondering. The game of choice? #SmashBrosUltimate!
As gamers ought to be aware of by now, the grand unveiling of Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch took place last week at E3.
Smash Ultimate is a true celebration of the franchise, as it welcomes back every single fighter that was introduced to the franchise in its four iterations (Smash 64, Melee, Brawl and Smash 4), along with all stages shown throughout its history. The gameplay style appears to borrow some aspects from Smash 4 while introducing drastic adjustments that have caused the community to debate amongst themselves about the game being an updated port of Smash 4, or an entirely separate beast. Glaring examples of this include the knockback of attacks in Ultimate and the return of the "Melee air dodge."
A portion of the Smash Bros community was invited by Nintendo themselves to partake in the Smash Bros 2018 Invitational, which was ultimately won by TsM ZeRo, who topped off his competitive career in Smash 4 on an incredibly high note. Along with ZeRo, seven other Smashers were welcomed to partake in the invitational, and a greater number was also welcomed as VIPs to help showcase the game via the Nintendo Treehouse.
If you did not get to catch the invitational, Nintendo has been kind enough to upload the event in its entirety to their YouTube channel. The playlist is linked here, so check it out and prepare to be amazed!
Thus far, reception over how the new game plays out has hit an incredibly positive note by both Smash 4 and Melee players, and even those not deeply invested in the franchise have taken notice. In fact, many are declaring their plans, via Twitter, to invest themselves into the new Smash game once it releases in December 7th.
And guess who one of those players is? Well, you may be interested to know that a certain fighting game prodigy from Echo Fox has issued a challenge to the King of Smash 4 himself...
That's right: SonicFox himself has challenged ZeRo to an exhibition in his own home turf! The call-out echoed through not just the Smash community, but the entire FGC, as of last Sunday, and everyone is grabbing their popcorn and getting a front-row seat.
Now, this is far from the first occasion where SonicFox journeyed into new territory to claim it for himself. Since his competitive career took off in 2014, he was recognized for his mastery of Skullgirls and all titles released by Netherrealm Studios. From 2014 to 2016, he's won three consecutive Evolution events for NRS games, along with the MKX Pro League by ESL and the Injustice 2 Pro Series. His efforts eventually attracted the attention of Echo Fox, who would sign him alongside a collection of fighting game prodigies.
In 2016, the Fox's name would be recognized by the Guinness World Records for his achievements in esports. This feat would be replicated in 2017, marking the Fox as a holder of multiple Guinness World Records. Truly the height of his career.
When Marvel vs Capcom Infinite hit the scene in September 2017, SonicFox leveled up at a speed so astounding that he was already sending established Marvel veterans packing. He began winning MvCi locals at Next Level Battle Circuit, placing above competitors such as Method Flux and RayRay. To deepen his blow to the Marvel community, he bested Ryan "FChamp" Ramirez, the EVO 2012 UMvC3 champion, in two consecutive races to ten wins.
Then along came Dragonball FighterZ. It was during the beginning of this era that SonicFox would forge a friendly rivalry with GO1, the first player to put an end to the Fox's rampage. This historical upset took place at Final Round 2018, which ran its course in Georgia three months ago. The two took part in a live exhibition, which GO1 would win 10-4, leaving the crowd shocked by his impenetrable defense against the Fox's smothering offense.
The two would meet again at the opening ceremony for the Las Vegas Esports Arena, where GO1 won their next exhibition 10-7. It appeared that SonicFox's quest to hold dominion over fighting games outside of the NRS scene had come to a screeching halt, but the SonicFox vs. GO1 saga would continue at Combo Breaker 2018. SonicFox struck the first blow in Winner's Finals, only for GO1 to reset the bracket in Grand Finals. Afterward, it was as if a switch was flipped: SonicFox appeared nigh unstoppable in the second Grand Finals set, as GO1 found himself unable to take any more games from him. Before the collective eyes of the shocked crowd, SonicFox conquered his demon, reclaiming his throne for himself.
Whenever a new challenge comes about, the Fox is always eager to respond. And now is no different.
But, a popular topic of discussion among the gaming community is how Smash Bros stands out from all other fighting games as its own animal. Some claim it to be a non-fighting game, whereas others have labeled it as a "platform fighter" similar to the likes of what you see in Brawlhalla and Rivals of Aether. And while Sonic has been spreading his venom through countless fighting games as of late, he was rarely, if ever, spotted taking an interest in a platform fighter, let alone Smash.
So it leads the skeptics to wonder: as talented as Sonic has proven himself to be, is he overestimating himself in this instance?
ZeRo himself is no stranger to being considered the best in his own craft. Born in Chile, he moved to North America with the goal of taking his competitive career in Smash to the next level, with the promise that he would give it up if nothing should come of it. But in fact, it was this nosedive into the uncertain that would pay off in spades for him.
Like with this year's Smash invitational, he was invited to a similar event in 2014 to showcase gameplay for Smash 4 on the Wii-U. He took the event by defeating Liquid HungryBox, who is regarded as one of the five Gods of Melee, in a Grand Finals match that would feature a Sudden Death scenario.
When the game officially released later that year, ZeRo went straight to work, bringing all of the competitive Smash community to its knees at countless events inside of North America. When Smash 4 made its first appearance at EVO in 2015, ZeRo became the community's first Evolution winner.
To this day, ZeRo holds the longest win streak out of any competitive Smasher in history...winning fifty-six events in a row, including Evolution 2015. However, at the MLG World Finals in October 2015, his streak was finally ended by an upcoming star in the form of NRG Nairo, who'd previously struggled to take a tournament set off ZeRo. In spite of this, ZeRo continued to be as threatening as ever, though it became difficult to rebuild a similar streak given the improvement the Smash 4 community was undergoing.
The first iteration for the Panda Global Rankings, also known as PGR, would be released in May 2016. This was a statistics program that archived the results of all Smash 4 players who'd achieved notable results. From launch to December 2017, four iterations of the PGR were released, and ZeRo himself was found holding the top spot in all of them.
After his participation at the 2GG Championship in December 2017, which would be won by Echo Fox MKLeo, ZeRo finally hung up the sticks, ending his Smash 4 career on an incredibly high note after almost four years of domination. As a substitute for traveling to events, he turned to content creation, and in addition to live-streaming his Smash 4 sessions, he renewed his interest in Smash Melee, a title that is almost two decades old yet continues to win the hearts of many Smashers in today's generation.
But his retirement was cut short by an unexpected announcement via the Nintendo Direct in March 2018...
Let's take a quick look over the release history for the Smash franchise. The first title, Smash 64, launched in 1999. Its successor on the Nintendo Gamecube, Smash Melee, would follow two years later. Brawl, the third title released for the Nintendo Wii, would not break the surface until 2008.
That's a time span of seven years between the releases of Melee and Brawl. Many hoped this would be a one-time occasion, but the next Smash game, Smash for Wii-U and 3DS, would not come into existence until six years after the birth of Brawl. In light of this trend, many resigned themselves to the notion that a new Smash game, if the franchise would indeed continue, would not see the light of day until at least 2019, or perhaps 2020.
Now, four years after the release of Smash 4 (interesting coincidence...), the long waiting period has been cut short, and in the best way possible. As quoted in the E3 reveal trailer for Smash Ultimate, "Everyone is here!"
And by "everyone," we do not simply mean the cast of Smash Ultimate, we also mean the Smash community. According to ZeRo's impressions on the game, his interest is so strong that by the end of 2018, he may break away from his retirement plans completely to return to competition.
But just as he has grown accustomed to sharing his renewed vigor and passion over Smash Ultimate with all of his followers, he is already faced with a challenge from the daring SonicFox, a player whose history ZeRo is intimately familiar with. Nevertheless, he is undaunted by the Fox's resume in esports, having made a similar impact himself.
Their exhibition will not take place right when the game comes out the gates, however. As per a request from Sonic, ZeRo has agreed to give him three months after launch to prepare for their inevitable conflict, but he has also followed this compromise with a vow.
The next question: when and where will this legendary crossover conflict take place? That has yet to be decided at this time, but someone has already stepped up to the plate to provide a fitting backdrop...
Could the Las Vegas Esports Arena be the metaphorical "Final Destination" for ZeRo and SonicFox?!
Like all of the FGC, we will be following this story closely to see how it develops. In the meantime, keep in mind that Smash Ultimate makes its way to the Nintendo Switch on the 7th of December! All news related to Smash can be found at www.smashbros.com, where players will be able to pre-order their copy of the game.
In addition to our blog, we encourage you to follow @NintendoVS on Twitter for additional updates on Smash Ultimate.
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