Gonna take you for a ride
On February 5th, the line up for EVO 2020 was announced and it is a massive surprise. The first thing of note: Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is returning to the main stage for the first time since 2010 in the form of a special invitational. Eight players, including four former EVO champions, will duke it out in celebration of the game’s 20th anniversary. Justin Wong, Duc Do, IFC|Yipes and EMP|Santhrax have been confirmed to make up half of the invitational line-up, with more announcements on the way.
Rounding out the remaining eight games will include Street Fighter V: Championship Edition, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Granblue Fantasy Versus, Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[cl-r], Dragon Ball FighterZ, Soul Calibur 6, and Samurai Shodown.
The absence of a titan
This comes as a massive surprise to the community with the absence of Mortal Kombat 11. Of the nine games featured on the main stage for EVO 2019, Mortal Kombat 11 pulled in over 1,500 entries, coming in dead in the middle for overall attendance. Compare that to the likes of UNIST, DBFZ, and SC6 – all of which pulled in fewer contenders, with Soul Calibur 6 bringing in less than half!
There are some comparisons that one could make to what happened with Super Smash Bros. Melee and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Melee was a wildly popular and was a mainstay on the main stage for years, outliving its successor Super Smash Bros. Brawl, until both it and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U was removed to make room for Smash Ultimate. Infinite, on the other hand, never even made it to EVO largely due to the controversy regarding the game’s troubled launch.
The problem lies in the fact that Mortal Kombat 11 is still actively supported by the developer. Spawn is on his way along with rumors of another Kombat Character Pack on the horizon. The news garnered the ire of numerous MK fan favorites like SonicFox who believes that there is a more nefarious reason for its exclusion.
Justin Gordon at EventHubs has a theory for the reason of its exclusion. Historical data shows a pattern that NRS games draw in fewer numbers year after year – a theory he is quick to counter as Mortal Kombat 11 saw the highest numbers ever for an NRS game at the tournament.
Regardless, there is still plenty to be excited about for EVO 2020. Arc System Works America announced that a special Guilty Gear -Strive- tournament will take place on Friday, July 31st with the top 8 being featured on the main stage! Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle will also be in attendance as a Community Championship game.
As for me, this is probably one of the best line ups I’ve seen for a major tournament. Arc System Works has raised the bar for 2D fighters, so I’m definitely catching Guilty Gear -Strive-, UNIST, and Granblue Fantasy Versus. Street Fighter V will be releasing Seth as a playable character with its new balancing patch in Championship Edition. And just the fact that it’s 2020 and we’re seeing MvC2 back on the main stage gets me so hyped!!
EVO 2020 will once again take place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 31 – August 2. You can register for the event here.[Via EventHubs, Gamasutra, Polygon.]