EVO season is upon us and the 2019 edition is shaping up to be a very interesting event for fighting game fans.
With only a few weeks left before the most prestigious fighting game tournament in the world, it seems like the EVO hype train is chugging along non-stop. The tournament has broken entrant number records after registrations closed and will be the biggest tournament in history for several of the games involved. The top biller? Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
EVO president Joey Cuellar has revealed that Smash Ultimate has had 3492 entrants, making it the biggest Smash Ultimate tournament yet and having an absolutely dominant 2000 entrant lead over Street Fighter V, the second most popular game in EVO 2019.
It’s no secret that Smash Ultimate has been a smashing success for Nintendo’s all-star cast, already having broken records as the best selling fighting game of all time, but it’s still a question on whether or not the tournament organizers will finally replace Street Fighter as the final game of the tournament. Will Mario, Sonic, Bowser and (ironically) Ryu and Ken take center stage as the main event of EVO 2019? It certainly has the numbers going for it as the race wasn’t even close.
Outside of Smash, several other games have also broken registration records as their biggest tournaments yet respectively – the Tekken scene has grown exponentially since Tekken 7 was released and is now going to have its biggest participation yet at EVO 2019. Last year’s Tekken 7 tournament was arguably the most exciting to watch at EVO, and this year looks to continue the trend with more heart pounding action.
NetherRealm’s ultra popular Mortal Kombat 11 may not be as popular in the competitive scene as it is in terms of sales for casual fans, but it’s also broken a registration record as the 5th biggest game in EVO 2019. Truly a boon for fans of the popular franchise.
The newly released Samurai Shodown is also having its biggest tournament yet. It brings momentum from being freshly released, as well as being a very enjoyable new entry to the classic arcade favorite. It will be exciting to see clanging swords on the EVO stage once again. En Garde!
Two other games who will be having their biggest tournaments yet at EVO 2019 are SoulCalibur VI and the long standing anime fighter Under Night In-Birth, which has done really well considering it was a long shot to make Evo throughout its years of persevering as a niche game.
On the other side of things, last year’s most popular Evo game Dragon Ball Fighter Z has fallen off a cliff in terms of registrations. It’s a really strange turn for last year’s game that was seen as the “future” of the FGC. In the past several months, multiple big tournaments have pulled the game out of their lineups due to “rights holders” blocking the participation of the game in what could have been its coronation to the top of the fighting game scene. While the game has remained relatively healthy, it’s a sad turn for one of the most popular properties in pop culture, and what is truly an exciting fighting game to watch.
With all of that said, Evo 2019 is only a little more than 2 weeks away at Las Vegas. New faces, familiar champions, exciting comebacks, getting bodied and running it back from the loser’s bracket will be the talk of the town come August 2. With several familiar games with new balance patches, new games and underdog fighting games joining the lineup, it’s truly going to be the biggest Evo yet.
Now excuse me while I watch Evo moment #37 for the umpteenth time like it’s 2004 once again.