The Evolution Championship Series was set for July 31 to August 2. Thousands of fighting game fans from all over the world would have crammed themselves into a Las Vegas arena to scream along with Cell’s intro animation from Dragon Ball FighterZ. Nine different fighting games were going to be streamed for an online audience over the course of three days in what my wife calls “the most trying weekend of our relationship” because she can’t for the life of her understand why someone would dedicate their weekend to watching strangers play video games.
The line-up of games included Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7, Samurai Shodown, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r], and Granblue Fantasy Versus. There was also going to be an eight-player invitational tournament for Marvel vs. Capcom 2, a game that was extremely instrumental in Evo’s early existence.
Unsurprisingly, plans have changed. Evo’s organizers have decided that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a get-together in Vegas at the end of July a no-go.
So instead, Joey “Mr. Wiz” Cuellar announced that Evo 2020 would be completely online. On paper, that may sound like a fitting solution, but there’s an elephant in the room: the netcode. For those nine games, the netcode isn’t exactly top-notch. What is supposed to be a high-profile advertisement for these game publishers could possibly make them look bad instead.
Therefore, the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 tournament is gone (or maybe not? It’s somewhat vague), as is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The other seven games will remain on the lineup.
Four more open tournaments will be added:
Killer Instinct: The 2013 reboot of the old Nintendo 64 classic has graced Evo several times before, debuting in 2014 and having its last hurrah in 2016. It was never as popular as the other usual suspects, but it is rad and underrated and you can play as one of the Battletoads.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath: One of the bigger surprises of the initial Evo 2020 announcement was that Mortal Kombat 11 was off the roster. Usually, it takes two years for a NetherRealm Studios game to get kicked out, but not this time around. Fortunately, the game is being upgraded into Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath at the end of May and, among other things, is bringing us three new characters.
Skullgirls Encore: Skullgirls has been the fighting series that’s always been just out of reach of Evo. At most, there would be Skullgirls side-tournaments, but it never got the main stage. Now it’s time for this well-animated cheesecake factory to shine. Cartoony ladies (and a couple of guys) fight it out in tag team and 1v1 matches.
Them’s Fightin’ Herds: Once upon a time, the developer Mane6 created an impressive fan-made fighting game based on My Little Pony. Fighting game fans enjoyed it. Hasbro’s legal department did not and hit them with a cease and desist. Mane6 then decided to sand off the serial numbers and release the game as Them’s Fightin’ Herds, which is totally different and has nothing to do with My Little Pony. Even the creator of the recent My Little Pony show Lauren Faust helped out with the designs. The game just came out for the PC a few weeks ago, so it’s the freshest game on the roster.
Rather than just a one three-day weekend, Evo 2020 is going to take place over four two-day weekends, leading into one three-day weekend. In other words, it’s July 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, and July 31 to August 2. So eleven days of this stuff. My wife will be thrilled!
Enrollment isn’t open yet, but it is on the way. Check back for more information on Evo 2020.