The folks behind the EVO Championship Series have announced the marquee titles that will be featured at this year's competition. The event will take place July 15-17 in Las Vegas, at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Most of the events will happen at the Convention Center, but the Sunday Finals will be switching to the much larger Mandalay Bay Events Center, which seat up to 12,000 people.
The list of this year's main event titles includes:
- Street Fighter V
- Guilty Gear Xrd: Relevator
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
- Pokken Tournament
- Super Smash Bros for Wii U
- Super Smash Bros Melee
- Killer Instinct
- Mortal Kombat X
- Tekken 7: Fated Retribution
A couple of things stick out immediately. There's two Super Smash title in the lineup, but Ultra Street Fighter IV, last year's main event game has been dropped completely. EVO's organizers felt good about the upcoming Street Fighter V due to the ongoing beta events that Capcom has been running, it's just surprising that Ultra was cut off so quickly.
"Street Fighter V is a brand new game and a vast majority of people are playing it," EVO event organizer Joey Cuellar told Shoryuken. "The success of their beta tests confirms this. Street Fighter IV has had an incredible run of seven years, and we hope people continue to play this game, but for this year Evo will be running Street Fighter V only."
Cuellar also admitted that the two Super Smash Bros titles are there because of the large and fervent fanbases behind the games. The reason behind the split is there's still a hardcore fanbase who believe Smash Melee is the pinnacle of the franchise.
"The Smash community has proven time and time again that they are here to stay, and with the diverse number of crossover players, it was very clear that each game has their own following," he explained. "It so amazing that a fifteen year old game can get record numbers, and so we decided to bring them both back."
Other odd decisions include the addition of Pokken Tournament, instead of one of the 2D Arc System Works titles like Persona 4 Arena Ultimax or BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend. Pokken Tournament is apparently aimed casual players, instead of focusing on highly-technical play, so some fans are unhappy with the inclusion. Judging from Cuellar's explanation, it sounds like EVO's organizers are betting on the popularity of Pokemon to bring in new viewers, especially with the 20th anniversary happening this year.
"Every so often, we like to take a chance on a game, and Pokémon is such a huge brand, we decided to take a chance on Pokkén Tournament," said Cuellar. "Having Bandai Namco work on the game works well, as they are familiar with how fighting games work and balancing, so it should be interesting. This game is also on the Wii U instead of a handheld, so players can actually use controllers instead of using a handheld system to play. It will be exciting to see how this plays out."
Guilty Gear Xrd: Relevator and Tekken 7: Fated Revolution are both going to be recent plays for competitors, probably favoring Japanese players. Guilty Gear Xrd: Relevator is currently out in Arcades, but the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 versions don't ship until May 26, 2016 in Japan and June 7, 2016 in the United States. That doesn't give international players much time to get used to the balance changes and new characters. Likewise, Tekken 7 will be out in Arcades only when EVO rolls around.
Regardless, that's your main EVO lineup for this year.