The Panda Cup final is also in jeopardy with many contestants withdrawing from the event
The competitive Super Smash Bros. community is very different than it was just a week ago, and that now includes one of the largest eSports organizations connected to the scene.
Following The first statement from Panda Global made in relation to the controversy surrounding the Cancellation of the Smash World Tour and behind the scenes, over 80% of Pandas players and commentators from Smash and the wider fighting game community appear to have resigned from the team so far.
At the time of reporting, top Meleee competitors were Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Justin “Plup” McGrath, along with Chris “WaDi” Boston, Ryan “Saint Cola” Collins, Zak “Coney” Zeeks, Terrence “TKbreezy” Kershaw, Marine, and more Victoria “VikkiKitty” Perez have all publicly announced their retirement or intend to do so.
“I’m leaving Panda,” Plup wrote on Twitter. “I really enjoyed my time there and they treated me well. I know that at a certain point they had the good of the community in mind. I just don’t think I can support them anymore. Now I have to sleep for 1,000 years in preparation for the next tournament.”
It’s been about 4 months and I’m satisfied with the work that has been done during this time and the people I’ve worked with and had the opportunity to learn more about. I’m not sure what the future holds but I know I will always find a way.
— TKbreezy 🎙 (@TKbreezy) December 3, 2022
This exodus from the company has already dropped Panda’s roster of screen talent, which has been confirmed by more than half, with others including Justin Wong, Victor “Punk” Woodley, Keenan “Kizzie Kay” Kizzie, Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno and Little Z, have removed mentions of Panda from their Twitter pages – although they are yet to make a formal announcement.
The monumental response follows the Smash World Tour that announced the 2022 championships, and the entire 2023 season would have to be canceled after Nintendo denied their licensing agreement.
SWT organizers accused Panda and its CEO Alan Bunney of inappropriate behavior in their attempts to recruit major tournaments for their own Panda Cup, which is officially licensed by Nintendo.
Panda’s response to the allegations came 3 days later, but did little to quell backlash from the Smash community and beyond.
I will not participate in the Panda Cup.
Too little and far too late. https://t.co/902CEl9VQe
— Hungrybox 🏆🏆🏆 (@LiquidHbox) December 2, 2022
Many other top non-Panda sponsored players have announced their intention to stop participating in the Panda Cup finals including Liquid|Hungrybox, CLG|SFAT, Tempo|Axe, LG|Maister, Liquid|Dabuz, BC| Magi, Furia| Fatality, GG|Zain, VGBC|aMSa, C9|Mang0, Fiction, GG|n0ne, Wizzrobe, T1|MkLeo, CG|Medz, Pipsqueak, FLY|KoDoRiN, LUM|Ginger, and CG|Eddy Mexico.
The Panda Cup finals have not been canceled and are currently still scheduled to take place from December 16-18, although you generally need players to host a tournament.
Similarly, it also puts the future of the Panda eSports organization in great jeopardy, considering their non-FGC talent roster currently consists of only one chess player, according to their website.
To offset the cancellation of the Smash World Tour 2022 Championships, popular streamer Ludwig has announced his intention to fundraise The Scuffed World Tour on May 18 to help VGBC and players.
These are the 8 I’ll invite from each game – if someone can’t attend we’ll fly in the next highest point earner
We are also happy to provide a total prize pool of US$50,000 for the event
Hopefully it’s worth the players’ time! pic.twitter.com/NF4psOMlMD
— Ludwig (@LudwigAhgren) December 2, 2022
Since its inception in 2015, Panda has quickly grown into one of the largest and most successful esports organizations with a growing roster of players, commentators, content creators, streamers, stats trackers and influencers centered around Smash and the FGC.
However, as things stand, it will likely be difficult to recover from the mass resignation of employees and the perceived damage/breach of trust to their relationships with the community.