ZeRo the legend leaves competitive Smash for good
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It's hard to see talented players leave the game they've spent so much time getting so good at, but it's even harder when it's a legendary player. While Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios will still be playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he'll soon be leaving competitive play behind for good.
In a recent tweet, ZeRo shared his desire to leave competitive play after the conclusion of King of WiFi Random Characters, the next event in The Quarantine Series lineup. His decision shouldn't come as a surprise, though, as this isn't the first time ZeRo has retired from competitive play.
Back in 2018, the legendary Smash 4 player left competitive play even though he was at the top of his game and had been named the best in the world for the fourth consecutive time. From November 2014 to October 2015, ZeRo accumulated a 56 tournament win-streak, which earned him a Guinness World Records award in 2017. It wasn't until January this year that ZeRo revealed his reason for retiring so early.
His accolades put a lot of pressure on the player, not just from fans and sponsors, but also from himself. "The truth is, I genuinely did try to play competitively again, but it was impossible to motivate myself to practice, and the expectations that come with my legacy honestly scared me," he stated in his note. The pressure overwhelmed ZeRo, paving the way for a lot of stress and anxiety.
Fortunately, he found new success in content creation, which afforded him opportunities to compete for fun and as a source of material for his channel. However, after competing in several tournaments of late, his mental health issues could be seeing a resurgence. That's why he's calling it quits once more, and this time could be for good.
I would also appreciate if people drop the narrative of me coming back to tournaments one day & just finally understand that competitive ZeRo is done for
ZeRo's YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and in early December 2019, he announced a new partnership with Facebook Gaming. Leaving his 520,000 Twitch followers behind, ZeRo now streams exclusively on Facebook's platform and currently has 112,580 followers. According to the content creator, the deal also allows him "to do other things and explore other options." Although he didn't go into details regarding what these other options are, he has been able to show more support to charities that he believes in, like NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The Quarantine Series: King of WiFi Random Characters will be ZeRo's final tournament and begins this weekend on May 30. The tournament will feature many of North America's best Smash Ultimate players, like Eric "ESAM" Lew, Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby, Enrique "Maister" Hernández Solís, Tyler "Marss" Martins, Ezra "Samsora" Morris, and Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey. The online tournament has a lineup of 126 competitors, which is smaller than past events in the series but should be just as entertaining. If not more so, with the organizer's increased efforts to reduce instances of lag and other internet issues.
The Chilean esports pro began his storied Super Smash Bros. career playing Melee, becoming one of the best players the country had to offer. Moving to each new installment in the series, including the fanmade Project M, ZeRo achieved numerous victories, becoming a living legend.