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Top Splatoon 2 teams quit official tournament to create their own in protest after Nintendo reportedly cancels stream due to use of Free Melee hashtag

Now they're competing for over $10,000 instead of only trophies

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • December 6, 2020 at 11:17 a.m. PST • Comments: 82

Finals for the Splatoon 2 North American Open December tournament were originally scheduled to take place today, but that is no longer the case with players picking up their controllers and taking their talents to a new venue.

The top four teams that made it to finals dropped out of the official event after reports that Nintendo canceled their planned live stream coverage due to many players signing up with the #FreeMelee hashtag and other pro-Super Smash Bros. community names in protest to the company's recent actions forcing The Big House to shutter their event.

What started as a fairly standard online Splatoon tournament quickly transformed into a rollercoaster of take downs and push back that the Super Smash Bros. competitive scene has grown familiar with over the years.

Following the conclusion of pool play, moderators announced in the event Discord that their finals stream would no longer be taking place due to "unexpected executional challenges" without further explanation.

Those in attendance or have contacted the tournament organizers claim Nintendo was directly responsible for pulling the plug though the company has yet to say anything publicly on the matter.

While no reason was given, the most likely culprit is the large amount of teams using #FreeMelee in their names or others like FTWaveDash, Melee Nation, and Slippi that Nintendo would have needed to show on stream or force them to change.

Splatoon tournament organizer and commentator Alexander "Slimy" R. later approached the remaining finalist teams to host their own event at the same time as Nintendo's to send a message and take control of the situation.

"I think it's a very big opportunity to keep putting pressure on Nintendo to potentially realize how they're harming not only their communities but potentially their own company via their own actions," said Slimy to EventHubs. "We're really just trying to make a statement."

Thus, The Squid House was quickly formed with the same teams and original names while sporting a cash prize pool compared to Nintendo's original plan to give out trophies and eShop points.

This new title is a direct reference to longtime Super Smash Bros. event The Big House, which Nintendo sent a cease and desist order to last month because they planned to use the fan-made Slippi mod for their Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament to play the almost 20-year-old title online.

Nintendo immediately faced backlash from the Smash community and wider competitive gaming audience for the move canceling pretty much the only way to play Melee safely currently (a game that has no native online mode) on top of years of what they view as stifling their growth and neglect.

"I think it's a very big opportunity to keep putting pressure on Nintendo to potentially realize how they're harming not only their communities but potentially their own company via their own actions. We're really just trying to make a statement" - Slimy, The Squid House organizer

"Honestly, I think the large numbers of pro-Smash scene names was just to help support Melee and Smash," said top Splatoon player and content creator Chara, team captain of Melee Nation (typically Bocut Nation) in The Squid House. "Even if we are a different community, we still care about what Nintendo does to any scene of theirs... Just because Nintendo is treating us better doesn't excuse the actions they do toward the Smash community, and we wanted to show that our community is not ok with their actions."

The Smash community has a long history of butting heads with the makers of Mario including the debacle of EVO 2013 where Melee fans raised over $94,000 for breast cancer awareness research to earn a spot in the lineup though Nintendo didn't want the title to be there or be on stream before reversing their decision.

Other major voices in the competitive scene have spoken up about the publisher's back and forth approach to getting involved including an anonymous and unverified statement released detailing some of Nintendo's alleged decisions to shut down multiple eSports initiatives in the past.

"It's not always the greatest experience," said Chara about trying to compete in Nintendo titles. "Sometimes there are moments like their NA Opens before COVID-19, E3, PAX East, and other events they do. But a lot of the time there isn't much communication or support, so it feels less like working with them and more like they will try to do what they want and we have to hope it's something we like."

When asked if he was concerned Nintendo would shut down The Squid House or any of EndGameTV's future events in either game, Slimy stated it's something they've needed to think about, but it's not going to stop them from doing everything they can for competitive Splatoon and Smash Bros.

The Squid House began with a prize pool of $1,000 USD which has since exploded to over $19,200 thanks to donations as the event itself is running both #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon in their Twitch title being hosted on EndGameTV1.

Sent in by Kodiak.

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