The future of the Evolution Championship Series was up in the air after 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had forced the cancellation of any live EVO tournaments. Joey "MrWizard" Cuellar getting caught in sexual misconduct allegations then led to the event's total cancellation and questions about its future. Earlier this year, Sony came along like the late "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, in that once everybody thought they had the answers, Sony changed the questions by purchasing the rights to the EVO brand. On Tuesday, things finally started to take shape for 2021.
As noted during the initial Sony acquisition, EVO 2021 Online will keep the battles in an online space, at least for one more year. For this year, the event will take place over two weekends. While Sony and various EVO reps have noted that "all gaming platforms remain welcome," the big show will feature four major fighting games, two of which are console exclusive to PlayStation. Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5 Champion Edition, Guilty Gear Strive, and Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath will all be contested from August 6-8 and will extend to the following weekend, August 13-15. Details on how to register, as well as the pool schedules, can be found on the Microsoft-owned Smash.gg.
However, that's not all that's happening this year. Starting next week, a special PlayStation Tournaments FGC Arcade: EVO Edition will celebrate the best of PS4 fighters. This pro-am tournament will pit pro players against amateurs with a $20,000 USD prize pool at stake. The games being contested include Granblue Fantasy Versus, Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11, and Tekken 7. The tournaments will run from June 10-22.
Starting on June 26, a special PlayStation Tournaments EVO 2021 Online Warm-Up tournament will spotlight the four main featured titles. A $19,000 USD prize pool is on the line here, as well as other special rewards. As for the EVO side tournaments, those are happening throughout the month of July. From July 8 through August 3, look for various side tournaments featuring games like the PS4 version of SoulCalibur 6, the PS4 version of Skullgirls, the PS4 version of BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, the PS4 version of Under Night IN-BIRTH, and Them's Fightin' Herds on PC. Can't leave PC out entirely, right?
Even with the increased PlayStation presence, it's hard not to get excited for this year's EVO tournaments. The biggest fighting game event of the year will unfold throughout the summer. The EVO website has more details, as well as important dates and registration links.