EVO 2020, the continuation of the top tier of fighting game tournaments, has announced a major change this year. In the face of the ongoing and extraordinarily deadly COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have made the tough call to move the famous event entirely online. Online play for fighting games is always a contentious topic, as not everyone is playing to the same standard. In-person tournaments eliminate any possibility for lag and latency issues, pushing the fighting game community to rely purely on skill and game knowledge.
Moving to an all-online event for EVO 2020 would see a huge backlash from the community in normal times, but this move is the only choice anyone involved really has. You simply can’t risk the health of thousands for the sake of fighting games. Announcing the change on Twitter, organizers made it clear that “the health and well-being of our community is our highest priority.”
Evo 2020 is also going to refund all tickets purchased for the normal event, and will instead be presenting the events via live stream. The event would have been held in Las Vegas from July 31 to August 2, 2020. And since the Mandalay Bay suspended operations in the city on March 17th, we all knew this was coming.
The Evolution Championships, colloquially shortened to EVO, are the true grand stage for the FGC. Each year the most popular fighting games are chosen and tournaments are hosted for these games. The roster of main stage tournaments is a huge draw for competitive players and fans alike. Thousands of fans also flocked to Las Vegas to spectate the event and to soak up the unmitigated and rowdy, but beloved, nonsense of the FGC.
Top tier games being featured at the event would have included a wide array of video games from across the genre, here’s the breakdown:
- Street Fighter 5 Champion Edition
- Tekken 7
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Granblue Fantasy Versus
- Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st]
- Dragonball Fighter Z
- Soul Calibur 6
- Samurai Shodown
No clarifications have been released yet that this roster would change, although many pro players and fans of the community are skeptical about EVO 2020. The introduction of online play will no doubt bring about technical issues, and it will very interesting to see how the TOs deal with this whole thing.
EVO president Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar did announce that the date for the event could very well change, as it won’t begin anytime soon they do still have a chance to get things right.