The Super Smash Bros. community has been deep in debate over MultiVersus after the platform fighter announced a $100K prize at Evo 2022. Some Smash fans started calling MultiVersus the "next Smash killer," noting how it already has more esports support than Smash despite only being in its alpha stage.
This is not something Smash players just started saying recently. When Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl was launched in October of 2021, the Smash community also dubbed it the "Smash killer" since it had wavedashing and developer support. It was immediately included in almost every major Smash tournament and many Smash players picked it up as a secondary game to grind.
There was no denying at the time that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl had a lot of similarities to Smash. It had very similar stage layouts, gameplay, and movesets. The entire game is pretty similar to Smash in its overall presentation. But it was more like Super Smash Bros. was just the first of its genre and Nick was the first to join in.
But while Nick was first seen as a "Smash killer" that could shake up the competitive scene, it quickly declined in viewership and hype. The phrase "Smash killer" quickly became a meme, even a troll. Calling Nick a "Smash killer" would only lead to debate and negativity in the Smash community, causing the game's developer Thaddeus Crews to speak up about the overused phrase.
"I'd really, REALLY prefer any other joke or punching bag or whatever that doesn't have the kind of proven track record of instigating conflict as a result of this branding," Crews tweeted.
Crews went on to call the comparison "clickbait" when used in videos. He added: "There's no real way to not come off as a buzzkill in addressing this, but the image this kind of message creates has been so thoroughly harmful to a degree that I can't just sit back and watch it happen again I strongly encourage finding hyperbolic absurdist statements elsewhere."
It's important to remember that while Nick is a flawed game in many ways, it also has a lot smaller of a team than Smash, a game created by Nintendo. The giant game publisher may not support esports, but it has put a lot of effort, money, and employees behind the game itself. Meanwhile, Nick was published by Ludosity, which only has a handful of employees.
This wasn't lost on Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma, one of the most prolific Super Smash Bros. Ultimate YouTubers out there. The Melee God replied to Crews on Twitter, taking responsibility for his part in the "Smash killer" trend.
"As the dude whose channel started this trend, I agree wholeheartedly in recent times I realized such a comparison sacrifices the uniqueness of the game for clicks. While it bridged tons of Smash fans to the game, it left a bad taste after the fact. It deserved better than that," Hungrybox reflected.
Crews replied that nobody was individually at fault, especially at the beginning. Unfortunately, the "Smash killer" joke "snowballed" into something "warped and cruel." Crew didn't go into further detail about what specifically has made the "Smash killer" comparison so harmful, but it's safe to say that Crews feels it is partially to blame for the game's demise.
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