Evo 2015: Breaking down the surprises and snubs

Evo organizer Joey 'Mr. Wizard' Cuellar and Twitch's Mike Ross unveiled the Evo 2015 lineup during a live stream last night. Today, we look at the list of games, the surprises, and the surprising snubs for this year's tournament.


Last night, fighting game fans tuned to Twitch to learn the lineup for this year's Evolution Championship Series tournament. The evening was hosted by Evo organizer Joey 'Mr. Wizard' Cuellar and Twitch's Mike Ross. Seven games have been officially added to the biggest fighting game weekend of the year and, as some expected, there was a bit of a shakeup with the games that will be appearing. What was surprising, however, was exactly which games made the cut.

A number of the games (via Shoryuken) were no-brainers:

  • Ultra Street Fighter 4
  • Killer Instinct
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • Guilty Gear XRD -Sign-
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
  • Tekken 7

However, there were also three games that could be considered surprises to those that follow the world of fighting games.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

In fans' hearts, Marvel can never truly die. However, even the most devoted Marvel diehards must confess that Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 feels like it's on its last legs. The unfortunate deal surrounding the Marvel license has continued to leave Capcom's fighter in limbo, so many of the imbalances remain in place and remain somewhat of a bore to watch when overplayed. As a result, Marvel has stagnated and many of the matches have started to feel the same. There's a real sense of "been there, done that."

A lot of that feeling comes from last year's storybook redemption run for fighting game legend Justin Wong. Following his heartbreaking defeat in 2013, Justin ran the table last year and obliterated all challengers in his path, culminating a long journey towards the championship. It's hard to script a more compelling story, so what can possibly follow that? What Marvel stories are possibly left to tell?

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Casual observers are likely surprised to see Super Smash Bros. Melee making a third consecutive Evo tournament. The biggest reason for that is because Nintendo has moved on to the newest Smash Bros. installment, one that they're proudly holding up as tournament-ready.

Yet here's Smash Bros. Melee, the 2001 hit that isn't ready to bow out to its modernized successor just yet. While the Wii U iteration of Smash fixes a lot of the unfriendly elements of Brawl, Melee purists continue to hold up the speed, responsiveness, and mechanics of Melee as the superior fighter. As a result, Melee has continued to float around the tournament scene and, given the intensity of the last two years of Melee outings at Evo, fans are ready to welcome it back with open arms. They'll also be interested to see if anyone can possibly stop Mango, who has dominated the past two Evos and will be looking for the threepeat.

Meanwhile, there are also a couple of surprise snubs that didn't make the initial cut. It should be noted that Cuellar has been good about adding new games to the Evo roster in the past, so there's still a chance that these games might still make the cut.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma

Some may argue that the anime fighting games are well-represented with Guilty Gear and Persona 4 Arena both on the Evo docket. However, those that tuned into the final Sunday of last year's event will remember the day kicking off with one of the most dynamite sets in recent memory. Garireo and Dogura fought tooth and nail to the bitter end in the Grand Finals of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma and it's hard to believe that this game won't be part of the main festivities.

There's a perception from Twitch stream monsters that anime games are somehow inferior to other fighters, but BlazBlue went a long way towards dispelling that notion with last year's incredible finals.

King of Fighters XIII

This omission comes as a shock to King of Fighters fans. Relegated to a Saturday finals in 2014, it looks like the classic series will miss the Evo weekend entirely this time around. It's a sad day for SNK Playmore, once known as one of the premier fighting game developers. It's especially a shock to fans, who widely considered KOF XIII to be one of the most polished iterations of the series and a return to form.

With a proud lineage that includes the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting characters, it's hard to imagine that King of Fighters will miss the weekend entirely. Fans are hoping for a change of heart between now and July and given some of the memorable tournaments that KOF has provided in the past, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Evo 2015 will be held on the weekend of July 17-19 from the Ballys/Paris convention hall in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 21, 2015 11:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Evo 2015: Breaking down the surprises and snubs

    • reply
      January 21, 2015 11:05 AM

      WHO'S GOING? gonna likely enter USF4 and Xrd

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      January 21, 2015 11:08 AM

      When and where would be good info to add.

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        January 21, 2015 11:46 AM

        At the bottom:

        Evo 2015 will be held on the weekend of July 17-19 from the Ballys/Paris convention hall in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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      January 21, 2015 11:41 AM

      I'm rather annoyed by the KOF snub. Their finals are always hype.

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      January 21, 2015 11:45 AM

      Weird. I love playing and watching Marvel vs Capcom 3 and didn't think people were serious when they said it was dead. I kind of expected it to be at Evo since it's still really fun to watch. If anything, it's fun to watch the top players lose to some unknown player.

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        January 21, 2015 12:23 PM

        The unknowns are really the only interest I get in watching it anymore. My favorite player lately has been Wolf Street and his Rocket and Phoenix Wright team.

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      January 21, 2015 12:19 PM

      I hope virtua fighter gets the recognition it deserves this year.