Super Smash Bros. Melee is getting improved online play thanks to a small team of dedicated fans; Ultimate takes a back seat.
The second entry in the fan-favorite Nintendo franchise is famous for its rabid fanbase that’s weathered all sorts of problems, from controller shortages to a lack of support for the competitive community from Nintendo to a global pandemic limiting how much practice hardcore players can get.
Today marked two significant announcements for the Smash community. Not only did Nintendo host an online presentation where series director Masahiro Sakurai revealed that Min Min from ARMS was joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s roster, but a team of modders at slippi.gg announced that they were bringing rollback netcode to the Dolphin GameCube emulator.
Melee community. Welcome to the era of rollback. After seven months of full-time work, the newest Dolphin build from Slippi brings you:
✅ Rollback netcode
✅ Integrated matchmaking
— FIZZI#36 (@Fizzi36) June 22, 2020
On the surface, it may seem absurd that Melee–an almost 20-year-old game that had no form of online play on release–has received more netplay improvements than its counterpart on the Switch. But with a community that fervent and competition that fierce, the eSport has constantly demanded improved tech performance — including netcode upgrades.
For those out of the loop, Rollback netcode is so important for a game like Melee because it greatly reduces the number of frames it takes for a game to respond to an input, thus making competitive online play more viable. If you want to learn more about what rollback is and how it works, here’s a video from the YouTube channel Code Mystics that sums it up well:
Nintendo has been known for its poor support of online multiplayer in its games. With this news, even some of Ultimate‘s most staunch fans and competitors are attracted by the promise that they could play Melee online with little to no input delay, highlighting Nintendo’s need to modernize its online infrastructures.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is exclusively available on Nintendo Switch; meanwhile, Super Smash Bros. Melee remains locked on Nintendo GameCube (and emulators).