Nintendo cancels Splatoon 2 NA Open stream after teams use #FreeMelee names in support of Super Smash Bros. Melee community

The company cited “unexpected executional challenges” as the reasoning.

Image via Nintendo

Nintendo canceled the livestream for its Splatoon 2 North America Open event today after over 30 percent of the competing teams had names showing support for the Melee community. 

The company cited “unexpected executional challenges” as the reasoning for the stream’s cancellation. Several players and tournament organizers directly pointed to the teams’ open support for the Melee community as the cause for Nintendo’s decision, however.

This support for the Melee community is in response to Nintendo shutting down The Big House, one of the largest yearly tournaments for Super Smash Bros. due to the organizers planning to run the Melee event using a community-developed mod that allows the game to be played online.

After Nintendo made that decision, multiple other communities, including some revolving around Nintendo titles, spoke out in support of Melee and the Smash community. Whether that support came in the form of sharing stories about how Nintendo has messed with the competitive scene for ARMS and Splatoon over the years or simply spreading the word, there was a large push from non-Smash players that helped raise awareness about the situation. 

The Splatoon 2 competitive community continued to show massive support for the Melee scene, with several teams using names like “Meleetation,” “Element fRee Melee,” and simply “#FreeMelee” as their competitive names in the NA Open finals. Nintendo then canceled the livestream for the event, citing “unexpected executional challenges” as the reasoning. 

In addition to names dedicated to the Melee community, one of the top six teams also used a link as their team name, which took users to an inappropriate video about baking a turkey.

Smash and Splatoon tournament organizer SlimyQuagsire clarified this was entirely Nintendo’s decision and had nothing to with any of the TOs or broadcasters that they brought in to help with the event. 

“This is damage control and an outright spit in the face to all of their dedicated competitive scenes,” Slimy said. “But we ain’t surprised.”

Nintendo has not made a public statement about the NA Open broadcast’s cancellation yet, but the message was made clear in the Discord server used to organize the event. And, according to other messages within the server, it doesn’t look like other players or commentators will be able to stream and cast the event. 

Users who have access to the NA Open Discord have been copy and pasting a message into the various channels, flooding it, and then leaving the server soon after. The message is as follows:

“The year is 20XX. Every official stream online has zero views because grassroots organizations have usurped all Esports streams. Nintendo is destitute and broke, their only source of income is through taxing sold copies of Melee, CRTs, and gamecubes. Society has evolved to the point that with a cybernetic implant, you can connect directly to netplay and shine on your opponent while broadcasting free of a DMCA complaint and a C&D letter from Nintendo. Doug Bowser is the last living human without an implant, and is found cold and naked, wondering why everyone is constantly talking about wavedashes.


Just like when the Splatoon community first came out in support of the Melee community, tournament organizers, players, and teams have all thanked the Splatoon teams and players for their support. 

It’s unclear how Nintendo will react moving forward considering players within any Smash Ultimate online event, ARMS tournaments, or even playing in a Pokémon competition could easily change their tag or nickname to show support for Melee.