The competitive scene of the Nintendo Switch’s “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” says goodbye to an era of tournaments with Beyond the Summit’s closure. The last tournament hosted by the organization, Smash Ultimate Summit 6, was streamed on Twitch on Mar. 23 through Mar. 26 of this year. Founded as a passion project inspired by the potential of e-sports, the organization of Beyond the Summit has solidified itself as an incredible tournament organizer, as well as a premier production company for 11 years. Smash Ultimate players and spectators will mourn the loss of high-quality tournaments, entertaining content and colossal prize pools.

What made Beyond the Summit a beloved organization irreplaceable was its ability to bring out the full personalities of top professional smash players. Unlike other tournaments that focus on refining the orthodox style of competition, Beyond the Summit’s invitational-style tournaments took the opportunity of the gathering of these players to create skits, songs and performances. In these tournaments, a chosen 16 players from the highest echelon of competitive Smash Ultimate are challenged. Not only to compete against each other in their signature game but also be challenged in ridiculous escapades like talent shows, comedy skits and painting. Seeing your favorite Smash Ultimate competitor in high-level competition and professional quality production was a blessing to the grassroots community. It allowed for insight into the potential of a spectator-focused approach to creating competitive content for major tournaments.

Another notable quirk of the Smash Summit tournament series was how it sported a cozy and comforting environment for both the players and commentators. This contrasted with the usual intense, high-pressure major tournaments that aim to amplify excitement and competitiveness with their matches. This was led by the spontaneous nature of impromptu interviews with players after matches, unseen in other Smash Ultimate events.

Why the content created by Beyond the Summit is quintessential in the growth of Super Smash Bros Ultimate is its value to spectatorship. With the addition of top players on full display, the narratives that each player has built within their climbing of the rankings are also exposed. The competitive scene of Smash Ultimate is an interweaving of stories from each player trying to climb the ladder of tournaments and reach the throne of champions. The Smash Summit series was able to express this fusion by presenting each player in their narrative. This particular style of tournament heightens the level of spectatorship akin to matches in boxing or MMA. The invitational structure of these tournaments is key, therefore, there must be more ways or incentives to hold large-scale invitationals. This can be done with an intelligent and reliable ranking system that does not yet exist in the current environment of competitive Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Having a consistent ranking structure of players allows tournament organizers to streamline the process of inviting the top players by relying on said rankings, unlike Smash Summit 6 which had to create a system of its own.

With Smash Ultimate Summit 6 being the final, foreseeable tournament from Beyond the Summit, will another organization or team ever completely step into the shoes of Beyond the Summit? While possible, with this iteration of Super Smash Bros, the remarkable production behind the tournament series may never be produced again. Esport Insider reports that “BTS’ Managing Partner David Gorman stated via Twitter, stating that the company will offer its staff severance and benefits, as well as fulfill all existing contracts with all clients,” meaning the talented staff and team behind Beyond the Summit have been laid off after the weekend (Ivan Šimić, 2023). Thus, they may be dispersed to other organizations that do not entail producing content for competitive Smash Ultimate tournaments. The tough pill to swallow for the Smash community is that Beyond the Summit is truly incomparable in its ability to produce a successful, yet unique, experience for spectators that other established tournament series cannot replicate.

However, in holding an optimistic perspective on the situation, the possibility of a new Smash game may reinvigorate the entire scene itself. The five-year-old Smash Ultimate has already been struggling to hold sponsorships and partnerships, but a new iteration would lead to a revival of the scene and boundless opportunities for players to create another story.

While Beyond the Summit’s marriage of high-level production and competitive Super Smash Bros ultimate tournaments will be missed, there are still opportunities to improve on the current scene. Smash Ultimate Summit 6 leaves behind new ideas and concepts for existing tournament series to replicate.