The Evolution series of fighting game tournaments are annual events that prove a highlight of every single year. It's effectively the world championships, the biggest tournament for every game it features and, in my opinion, the only must-see eSports event. Therefore, which games are picked to feature as major tournaments is a big deal and 2016's were announced last night via a livestream on Red Bull Esports with tournament organiser Joey Culler.
Another nail in Street Fighter 4's competitive coffin, which we wrote about last year.
This isn't everything that will be playable at the event, with side-tournaments in every game you can imagine usually running, but here's what will be on stream and have the big prize pools:
- Street Fighter V
- Super Smash Bros Melee
- Super Smash Bros WiiU
- Guilty Gear Xrd - REVELATOR-
- Mortal Kombat X
- Pokken Tournament
- Killer Instinct
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
- Tekken 7: Fated Retribution
The combo of Pokken Tournament being in and Street Fighter 4 being out is the big surprise. In an interview with Red Bull, Culler said that "We think IV had a great run, it lasted eight years and we had some great moments over those years but it's run its course. Even Capcom Pro Tour isn't supporting it. We aren't going to run dueling Street Fighter tournaments. We do it with Smash, but Smash doesn't have a lot of crossover. We feel there'd be a lot of crossover with Street Fighter IV and V."
It's a bit of an odd explanation. Capcom Pro Tour isn't supporting it because Capcom want to push their new game they've just spent years and thousands of dollars developing. It isn't an indication of the game's quality - we literally don't know how it will do as a competitive game in its first year - and it would be a serious shame if SFV didn't live up to the hype and Evo's left without a decent Street Fighter game. Street Fighter 4 has consistently had the highest number of entrants at the entire event, as well as the most exciting top 8 and games. I wouldn't put it on Sunday, but not having it at all seems like a misstep.
Even other community tournaments are supporting it in a major way after SFV comes out, but Evo is different. On Pokken making its debut, Culler said: "Evo likes to take chances. We don't know if a game is going to do well, but we see that the potential is there. That's what Pokken is. It might not be a feature on Sunday, but hey, we can try it and we're definitely going to try it" and that from there it will be up to the game's community to get it back to the main stage.
You can watch the full stream archive over on Twitch. Evo will run July 15-17th at a combination of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday-Saturday and the Mandalay Bay Arena on championship Sunday, which will be the finals for SF4, MKX, GG, SSBM and UMVC3.