Smash Ultimate Kazuya Update and Competitive Future
Super Smash Bros Ultimate has just gotten a pretty sizeable update. As well as major balancing changes, you’ve got a brand-new character coming to the game in Tekken’s Kazuya. The latest addition is bringing Fighters Pass Vol 2 to a conclusion. Smash Bros Ultimate has been one of the most successful versions of the game so far, it has pleased fans in both the casual and competitive communities. Which is kind of a task that was previously impossible for this series to accomplish.
With this Smash Ultimate Kazuya update, we have to start looking at the future for this game and if it has the legs to persist competitively after DLC support ends.
Smash Ultimate Kazuya Update
The big news for Smash Bros for the week is the release of Kazuya in the game and a patch to come along with it. The new character hails from Tekken. He’s one of a few characters to make their way into the game from traditional fights. While many were excited about his specific mechanics, most 2D fighter characters feel familiar in Smash Bros. Porting their move set from tends to come out in a similar way like additions from Street Fighter. Of course, some repetition is going to happen across 89 characters.
The rest of the Smash Ultimate Kazua update goes further in balancing the characters in-game. Often with Smash Bros, these updates are as interesting as the new characters themselves. Smash has a delicate balance with so many characters, so minor adjustments change all match-ups and with it character viability.
Some of the major buffs in the patch were to the ‘mii’ characters. They see very little use in tournaments, so these buffs aren’t the most important thing for the competitive community. Elsewhere, a lot of characters saw minor improvements rather than anyone being significantly nerfed. Unpopular aspects like RNG on Hero remain, but the general weighting of buffs over nerfs is helping to make a lot more characters viable rather than reduce the strength of anyone else in the Smash Ultimate Kazuya update
Smash Kazuya Update and title Future
Kazuya is available now as a DLC fighter in Super #SmashBrosUltimate! Get ready for the next battle!
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 30, 2021
Prior to this latest update, we received some clarification on the future of Smash Ultimate which has been reiterated this time around. Namely, only one more DLC Fighter is on its way then that is the end for Smash Ultimate. There may still be minor updates like patches and sprits, but the heavy support will end there. The Smash Ultimate Kazuya update is nearing the end of the line. It is always disappointing to see the end of big support, but Smash Ultimate has been unique in the franchise. It has received considerably more support than any game in the past, and two rounds of DLC fighters has way exceeded initial expectations for the series. While things are coming to an end, Smash Ultimate is being left in a state that is true to its name, it is the Ultimate version of Smash Bros.
The game’s future with esports however is far from over. Ultimate will remain the competitive version of Smash, barring Melee, in use for the considerable future. Until a new game is released, Ultimate will remain heavily played. So, when exactly will that be? It is unlikely to be on the same console as Ultimate, which given Nintendo’s plans for the longevity of the Switch that is a considerable time away. Even when a new game does come, it currently looks likely that series director Sakurai will not be involved in the game, which would turn a lot of die-hard fans off from the series.
Can Smash Ultimate stay esports relevant long-term?
Ultimate has delivered on its initial promises to become the biggest version of Smash. However, for the competitive community, it has been something even more unique. This has been the only Smash Bros game to really cater to the competitive community. Characters are balanced and frustrating party game elements have been removed. The title has taken competitive players into account with updates keeping the game in a healthy state. The only other competitive Smash is a game that has bugs and glitches to thank for its viability.
Smash Ultimate’s future in esports could be considerably longer. It is hard to say if Nintendo will stick to the competitive friendly route for future Smash games. We could end up with Ultimate becoming a long-standing competitive game, since few after this are likely to be able to deliver the game’s expansive roster and careful balance. The Smash Kazuya update is building on that competitive base with its balancing changes. The game looks set to continue to be the main event for fighting game esports even when new characters stop.