The lineup for this year's Evo championships has been announced, and it came with both a snub and a surprise. Evo 2020 won't have the latest Mortal Kombat as part of its main stage lineup, but it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 with an 8-player invitational.
Announced on a live stream with Evo president Joey Cullar and fighting game star Mike Ross, the Evo 2020 lineup includes eight games and one special exhibition:
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Tekken 7
- Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Samurai Shodown (2019)
- Granblue Fantasy: Versus
- Soulcalibur 6
- Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [cl-r]
- Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
The first three games are obvious locks. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had the most entrants of Evo 2019, Tekken 7 had an incredible showing (though it hopefully addresses the recent dominance of one character), and Street Fighter is a fighting game standard, with a new version launching this month.
One major classic that didn't make the cut is Mortal Kombat 11. Despite NetherRealm Studios' game still rolling out DLC and maintaining popularity, there won't be a Mortal Kombat game at this year's Evo. 2019's Samurai Shodown revival will be helping to carry the banner for retro classics, and Dragon Ball FighterZ returns to bring back more Goku-on-Goku action.
Soulcalibur 6 makes a somewhat surprising return, though given how unique it is in the fighting game space, it's nice to see the weapon-based fighting game still get a spotlight. Under Night In-Birth will also show up with its new [cl-r] version, an underdog from last year, and the brand new Granblue Fantasy gets a main stage spot as well.
If Mortal Kombat missing out was the first major surprise of the night, the second came at the end, when Cuellar announced an eight-player Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 invitational. The lineup is only partially determined at the moment; only four players ,the four previous Evo champions, are invited right now, much to the surprise of some of those players. Given how Marvel has fallen from the days when it used to headline this tournament, it's heartwarming to see the chaotic three-on-three fighter get some attention on its anniversary. It might even add some fuel to rampant speculation that's been going around.
Outside the Mortal Kombat snub, though, this lineup is surprisingly solid. I'm sad the NRS players won't have their game on the main stage, but this is a surprising mix of new and old, with different dimensions, styles, and lots of anime. Hopefully Mortal Kombat will still get to shine in a side tournament.
Evo 2020 will take place July 31 through Aug. 2 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.