The stars are finally aligning for the platform fighters in 2022 – find out why. Nintendo, WB, and Gamemill have it right.

Platform fighters has been a genre that many developers have tried to break into over the years. While many have tried (and ultimately had limited success) many developers have come out of the woodwork in the past year. This has drawn attention from both indie and AAA developers.

With many of these games announced huge plans, there is a ton to be excited for in 2022.

Nintendo is finally supporting a Smash circuit

For years, the biggest complaint that Super Smash Bros fans had was its missing developer support from Nintendo. “Ambivelent” or “hands off” are about the kindest you could’ve described it.

There have been a few hiccups in the scene’s relationship with Nintendo. A lot of these stemmed from related to streaming the game back in 2013 at Evo. More recently Nintendo issued cease and desist orders to tournaments using Slippi. This was the online protocol that allows for rollback netcode in the Dolphin emulator. Aside from that, Big N seemed content to simply allow tournaments to be run on their own steam.

This is in harsh contrast to virtually all other developers in the fighting game community. Capcom Pro Tour and others offered tours, cash pots, and other such support to their games. Nintendo on the other hand seemingly didn’t agree with that approach.

There had also been whispers of Twitch and the Smash community partnering to do just this. Still, Nintendo would not give their blessing for one reason or another. Preferring to take the stance that their game was about fun first, not competition.

There has been a community effort to solve this through the Smash World Tour. However, its prize pool for many of the competitors was considered insufficient, and Nintendo still wasn’t fully on board.

All of that is finally looking like it’s changing next year. Thanks to a partnership between Panda and Nintendo, a circuit (of some sort) of events will run in an official capacity for both Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Melee.

MK Leo is among the top players in Smash Ultimate, set to benefit hugely from Nintendo’s Smash Circuit. (Photo Robert Paul/Beyond the Summit)

And unlike Nintendo’s own previous efforts, which ranged from poor rulesets to only merchandise prizing, this will be officially licensed and given prize support from Panda and Nintendo.

This has already caused competitors such as Hungrybox, the former #1 Melee player in the world, to declare their intention to come out on top once again, and will surely draw players both new and old out of the woodwork for both Smash Ultimate and Melee.

While this is undoubtedly the highlight of 2022 in platform fighters, there’s plenty to be excited about left.

Nick All-Star Brawl will get even more nostalgia bombs

Nick All-Star Brawl from Ludosity and GameMill Entertainment caused waves in the Smash and platform fighter community earlier this year with its mix of platform mechanics without limiters, as well as a heavy helping of nostalgic characters.

While its viewership has somewhat dwindled, it had some impressive accolades to its name throughout 2021. This includes the largest stream Hungrybox has ever hosted with its day one online event.

Its netcode has been a serious advantage over Smash since its release. Rollback netcode virtually guarantees (mostly) hiccup-free gameplay from players around the world. This has already inspired a competitive scene that’s pretty healthy. And it looks like that won’t be letting up anytime soon.

Ludocity recently took to Hungrybox’s stream to hint that the game will be receiving a lot more DLC fighters. Not even including the recently released Garfield. Additionally, they hinted NASB will recieve post-release voice acting due to its initial success and fan feedback.

Additionally, the announcement of crossplay support means that it will be more widely available than any of its competition. Including Smash or Multiversus, which are Switch exclusive or ignore the Switch respectively.

“We wanted to launch with crossplay,” said NASB art director Diego Hernández. “But we came to the conclusion that we needed to wait a bit longer to fine-tune some of the details. We were just testing out the waters and seeing how the net code and everything worked first before introducing crossplay so I think it’s finally time for it so we are confident about it and it’s going to be out there soon.”

Garfield won’t be the last DLC we’ll see for the Nickelodeon platfomr fighter. (Image courtesy Gamemill Entertainment.)

We’ve also asked about the possibility of NASB having a competitive circuit next year. While Ludocity’s Thaddeus Crews was unable to provide anything officially, he did mention he would love for that to be a reality in a recent chat with Esports.gg.

Events for NASB have been ongoing and expected to expand next year. Hungrybox’s own $5,000 circuit for the game and official events at places like Mainstage 2021 thus far. That’s not even mentioning events like crew battles and other formats that took place at Smash Summit 12.

Into the Multiversus of platform fighters

WB Games’ Multiversus has already confirmed esports support for their platform fighter, Multiversus. Pulling from the most popular WB franchises, Multiversus will offer an emphasis on 2v2 combat as opposed to the more traditional 1v1 that platform fighters typically offer. With their plans shrouded still, the game’s debut trailer promised support from the ground up through both their API and developer support for esports.

Indeed, the lack of developer support is something that WB, which has a lot of experience in running its own esports programs for games like Mortal Kombat, looks to solve for the platform fighter community. All this in the hopes that they can entice competitive players who may have felt jilted by Nintendo’s lack of support for Smash to come to their ecosystem for Multiversus.

Sources close to WB have indicated to Esports.gg that Multiveruss will be ‘going big’ on esports, and that they are looking to address complaints that platform fighters typically don’t get the support they need or deserve. While those sources declined to offer specific details, they did say that fans should be excited and stay tuned for more details closer to launch in 2022.

Make your own platform fighter

And if you don’t like any of the above, make your own.

The development team at Springroll Games released a platform fighter engine which has everything indie developers need to release a platform fighter. This includes netcode for 4 players, smooth rollback, full customization and more for $30.

This release, which is written for Gamemaker Studio 2 (the beginner-friendly development platform powering the hit indie platform fighter Rivals of Aether), promises to open the floodgates of indie dev dreamers who always wanted to make their own platform fighter.

Of course, any of these reasons is ignoring the already existing circuits for Brawlhalla (Ubisoft), the scene around Rivals of Aether, as well as the many other fighting games set to have a great 2022.

All in all, a wonderful year ahead for platform fighters, and plenty of reasons to be excited.

Dustin Steiner - Americas Editor

Dustin Steiner

Americas Editor | Twitter: @GetSteinered

Americas Editor for Esports.gg, Dustin Steiner brings a decade of esports newsroom experience to bring fans what they need to know, helping them keep their finger on the pulse of esports as it happens. When he's not helping run the newsroom, you can find him grinding it out on Smash Ultimate, Final Fantasy 14, or probably binge watching Gundam.