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Posted by FLStyle (4768 posts) -

Welcome to the first FGC blog from me for 2014! It's good to be back in the EVO season, we've got a lot of quality tournaments ahead before EVO 2014 in July 11-13. Shoryuken.com has created a Tournament calendar so you can stay in touch with events and dates for 2014.

EVO 2014's Line Up

EVO 2014's line up was announced by one of the EVO top dogs, Joey 'MrWizard' Cuellar, iPLAYWINNER's live-stream The Fray :

UPDATE March 12th:

Super Smash Bros. Melee Joins the Evo 2014 Roster! http://t.co/uxNCqPGy8J

— Evo (@evo2k) March 12, 2014

Games not returning from 2013 - Super Smash Bros. Melee, Street Fighter X Tekken (ver. 2013), Persona 4 Arena, Tekken TAG Tournament 2, Mortal Kombat.

Justin Wong's run through the Top 8 to the Grand Final was nothing short of magical, looking forward to seeing if UMVC3 can match last year's hype. Ultra Street Fighter IV should be a good tournament with a month between release and EVO 2014, EVO 2011 with the debut of SSFIV: Arcade Edition was one of the best SF tournaments at EVO.

Injustice's release balance patch should make for an even better tournament than last year's debut, certainly more characters on stream. The King of Fighters XIII is the true international fighting game of EVO, it has delivered both years in 2012 and 2013 and I couldn't be happier to see it back.

Killer Instinct's debut at EVO is a big statement by EVO that they'll be supporting Xbox One games, KI has done a good job at keeping people interested in the game with its good online connection and free to play model. BlazBlue: Chronophantasma is the big shock to the line-up this year, good to see anime representation, a patch is also in the works for this title which will see it balanced on the same level as the arcade version.

Where's Melee?

Talks are ongoing between EVO and Nintendo to see if Melee will return at EVO 2014. If you recall there was a last minute cease and desist by Nintendo last year which was overturned at the last minute. The channels have been opened and hopefully it will return.

Road to EVO?

The Road to EVO series is different this year with some changes, there are no official Road to EVO tournaments, but results from all tournaments will be considered. This is planned to be more player friendly.

XMANIA X EVO

XMania is the "Super Turbo EVO" in Japan, it'll be 3 on 3 just as it is in Japan. EVO and XMANIA are joining forces in what should be something really good with Japanese SSFIIT players who don't normally travel making the trip hopefully.

News

Killer Instinct News; Online is busted? Amazon buys developer Double Helix

A recent update went online for Xbox One's Killer Instinct, featuring the debut of Spinal. More interesting is the attempt at stopping rage quitting by locking players who rage quit into an online jail of sorts which forces them to play against other rage quitters. But as reported below, it hasn't quite gone to plan.

To put it simply, you can apparently find more matches with people who don't rage quit inside the jail than people who aren't in the jail. Double Helix is working on a fix at the moment.

Breaking news! Amazon buys Double Helix

As of yesterday, Amazon has bought Killer Instinct developer Double Helix. This is interesting because Microsoft, not Double Helix, owns the Killer Instinct franchise. Microsoft merely contracted DH to work on the game, including hiring fighting game specialists. What this means for both the company and the game going forward is unknown.

Worst case scenario, Microsoft hires a new developer to work on KI while Amazon has DH doing something else entirely, leaving a lot of fighting game devs in an awkward situation. Will they simply leave? Will they adapt and stay? Are the rumours about an Amazon console true?

@Nicodemus9 Our internal KI team is still here and franchise is in good hands. We had a plan in place for this transition.

— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 6, 2014

Iron Galaxy hires Alex Jebailey as its Community Manager

Alex Jebailey, the prominent community member responsible for the annual CEO tournaments as well as the guy Divekick character Jefailey is based on, has now joined Iron Galaxy. While Dave Lang and the main Iron Galaxy crew work out of Chicago, Jebailey joins the smaller team in his native Orlando.

Iron Galaxy has been steadily growing over the last few years, and we decided it’s finally time for us to hire someone who’s sole responsibility is to talk with the people who play our games, and build a relationship with them directly. In the past we’ve had people do this job whenever they could squeeze it into their calendar, but frankly that wasn’t good enough. When we started to think about who we wanted to work with for Community Management, Jebailey’s name kept coming up over and over. We’ve known him a long time, he worked with us on Divekick, and he’s respected by a group we hold near and dear to our hearts: fighting game fans.

Dave Lang

It is with great pleasure that I was recently offered a position I have always loved to do within the gaming industry. Since I’m always well connected with the Fighting Game Community and gamers in general through CEO, when an opportunity came from Iron Galaxy, a company I’ve been lucky to have interacted with on multiple occasions in 2013 through Divekick, it was something I jumped at the chance to do. The Gaming Industry has been something I’ve wanted to be a part of for over 20 years now so my passion for gaming will show through to hopefully entertain and both benefit Iron Galaxy and the great communities that enjoy their works. Looking forward to working with an amazing group of people and keeping the best interests of their fans connected wherever possible.

Alex Jebailey

Jebailey's place in Iron Galaxy means that Divekick will be featured prominently at both UFGT and CEO later this year.

The King is dead, long live The King

Awesome matches between Sanford Kelly and members of Evil Geniuses at major tournaments NorthEast Championships and APEX 2014 in January lead to Sanford dropping Sagat and winning a major tournament with Oni.

In the first matches we see a grudge match between Sanford (Oni) and Aquasilk (Zangief), before Sanford (Sagat) challenges Evil Genius members PR Balrog (Boxer) and Justin Wong (Rufus). All matches took place at NEC '14.

Jump forward a month and Sanford is in the SSFIV final of APEX 2014 against another Evil Genius Rufus player, Ricky Ortiz. The difference in playstyle is huge and makes Oni seem a lot better. Sanford will be a strong competitor going forward with Oni!

Oni's changes in Ultra Street Fighter IV along with the rest of the characters can be found in @jjor64's thread here.

Sponsorship changes

Team AGE, known primarily for top Marvel player Chris G, the ever controversial Fanatiq and the top King of Fighters XIII player Romance has been disbanded by PDP. Rumours of financial issues and an apparent lack of return on efforts to expand within the Fighting Game Community have been suspected as the main reasons for PDP's decision.

A brief Twitter feud between Chris G and PDP community manager by day, alternate model, cosplayer and photographer by night, Candace Miller started after the announcement. It began when Chris G only found out about the disbanding via shoryuken.com and Twitter, to which Miller replied to stating that phone calls and emails about the upcoming announcement were either ignored, not seen or simply not replied to by Chris.

Currently no announcements have been made regarding any AGE players picking up new sponsorships, though Chris G is about to permanently move out of New York and take up residence on the West Coast in Socal (like Justin Wong before him).

In other news, Complexity have announced the departure of 2012 EVO Marvel champion Ryan FChamp Ramirez and the reigning EVO Street Fighter IV champion Xian has left Team Mad Catz and joined Team Razer. FChamp has sent that he has no worries about sponsorship going forward.

Sega Cup returns

Sega and Level|Up Series will be hosting their 2nd major tournament for the widely ignored Virtua Fighter V: Final Showdown. Sega Cup 2013 saw $16,000 won by the Top 16 players at Super Arcade in Socal and Sega Cup 2014 will take place at Super Arcade again April 26, 2014. Keep an eye on http://sega.com/segacup for details.

An informed and neutral Fighting Game Community article if ever I saw one

http://www.polygon.com/features/2014/2/6/5361004/fighting-game-diversity

Thanks for reading! Add your comments below!

#1 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1140 posts) -

Pretty funny that in this day and age that no 3D fighters cracked the EVO lineup.

I might be more excited for the Turbo tourney than anything else.

#2 Posted by csl316 (8963 posts) -

Aww, no Tekken :(

#3 Posted by StaticFalconar (4849 posts) -

Unless someone actually steps up for the rest of the updates of Killer Instinct past what double Helix was slated to work on, I think KI wouldn't be around next year.

#4 Edited by thegoldencat7 (1497 posts) -

No major surprises really.

Hopefully Nintendo come round and give permission for melee. They probably will. No Tekken or 3d games for the first time since 2002 but can't say I'm a fan of watching those. Sucks for those players though.

Kinda disappointed in the lack of another charity drive. I understood the justification but it was really hype last year and would still have raised a lot of money again. Ah well I can sleep now.

#5 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

Phil Spencer says they have a plan in place for KI with Double Helix being bought by Amazon, but I can't imagine what that plan is unless they just hand the development code to some other team.

#6 Posted by flasaltine (1682 posts) -

No Mortal Kombat? I don't really care about this then.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (15013 posts) -

@flstyle: God damn it man you make the best FGC related blogs. Props. Also super bummed bout no Tekken but I suppose it eventually had to happen. =(

#8 Edited by LiquidPrince (16009 posts) -

As long as Injustice is being played, I'm there. Shame that P4 was removed, but BlazBlue is still there so it's alright I guess.

#9 Posted by TyCobb (1972 posts) -

Thanks for the write up as usual. I always love when you put these together.

I don't know how I feel about the lineup. I am not disappointed that they removed games, but more disappointed that they removed 5 while only adding 2 actual new games. Not counting Street Fighter because they just decided to use the newer version. Maybe it is for the better if it means they can fit more on the main stream. Although I loved watching the MK tournament, it makes sense because it was getting smaller and smaller.

#10 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4234 posts) -

No Super Smash, huh? Alright. Fulgore will be out by Evo time, hell yea! And Dat Season 2 would probably get teased around this time, too.

#11 Edited by aidros (241 posts) -

Bummed to see no KOF XIII this year. Really enjoyed that finals last year. Regardless, this is probably my favorite summer event to watch (Other than Summer Games Done Quick). Thanks for the post, really excited to watch again!!!

#12 Edited by StarvingGamer (8375 posts) -

Because this seems to be the place for it:

USFIV for PS4 YEAHHH!!!(?)

Or just Trollno being Trollno

#13 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@aidros said:

Bummed to see no KOF XIII this year. Really enjoyed that finals last year. Regardless, this is probably my favorite summer event to watch (Other than Summer Games Done Quick). Thanks for the post, really excited to watch again!!!

?

KOF XIII is in the line-up. It's listed in the OP under Injustice.

#14 Posted by xyzygy (10030 posts) -

Hopefully Microsoft does something not completely stupid with KI. Why don't they just give it to Rare to develop?

#15 Edited by TruthTellah (9311 posts) -

I was so happy to see Divekick up for DICE's best fighting game of the year.

Hope people enjoy it at EVO! :)

#16 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19371 posts) -

I feel like I preferred the 2013 EVO lineup. This year, I'll tune into KoF—because watching top play for that game is always amazing—and Marvel—because it's crazy—but that's about it. Actually, I might try check out USFIV as well, but still.

I really hope both P4A2 and GG Xrd make it to EVO 2015, but I feel that only one of those will be chosen.

#17 Posted by ThunderSlash (1826 posts) -

@flstyle: God damn it man you make the best FGC related blogs. Props.

I'll echo this statement. Just reading this is getting me HYPED.

Poor Skullgirls. Despite it not being as good as the top fighting games up there, I still hope to see it in some side tournament. Mike Z is still writing patch notes for this game DAILY.

#18 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11912 posts) -

It's good to see that SF IV is still surprising people. I don't think I've ever seen that kind of performance from an Oni before, but I also wouldn't have guessed that a Gen player would have won EVO either. Still glad to see KoF XIII up there too. I won't cry about the removal of MK or SFxT though.

#19 Posted by overnow (215 posts) -

Personally I would much rather watch either MK9 or SFxT than BlazBlue, but I do understand why it is there and they are not. I'm interested in all 5 of the other games though, which is great.

I know a lot of people will want some Smash Bros but personally I just can't stand watching high level play in that game (any of them actually) While I understand there is a ton of skill to what they are doing it just looks so spastic to me.

#20 Edited by IrrelevantJohn (1083 posts) -

This year I think I'll be tuning into USFIV, Marvel, BBCP, KOF13 and hopefully SSBM. I'll probably give USFIV and BBCP the most attention seeing how I'm into those two games myself right now. For sure I'll be tuning in Top 8 for all of the stuff I listed above. I don't care much for KI or Injustice but I can see that there are still a decent amount of people playing it.

I was kind of surprised that there was absolutely no stalling/bullshit filler for The Fray and Mr.Wizard went straight to announcing the games.

Good luck to all participating and thank you again @flstyle for the great blog!

#21 Posted by Damodar (1425 posts) -

I hope EVO eventually becomes a four day blowout; too many good games miss out as is. On the one hand, the current line up is actually pretty diverse. You've got your Street Fighter and KOF flavours, a Vs game, a game for the MK community, a game for the airdash guys, something for the smash guys, hopefully, and a new comer to EVO in KI that is also basically unlike anything else. That being said, it's a bummer that there aren't any 3D games. It's totally understandable from the point of view of being games that might not be able to bring desirable numbers of entrants, but it's still pretty sad for those communities. Not having Tekken there really, really bums me out. Not a great way to celebrate Tekken turning 20 :( There's also stuff like SFxT and Skullgirls that I really do enjoy.

I think my dream would be for it to grow in to a longer event with more room for side tournaments. Things like Tekken, VF, DOA etc wouldn't miss out, multiple Aksys games could co-exist, MK could stick around, SFxT could carry on even though the world hates it, Skullgirls could get some of the love it deserves, Dave Lang could peddle Keits' Flash game with placeholder art and there would be all the old man games you can handle. ST, CvS2, Marvel 2, Vsav, Alpha 2 or whatever takes your fancy. THIS IS MY EVO UTOPIA.

Speaking of ST, I am really glad that they continue to show that game love and the stuff they have in store this year should be amaaaazing.

#22 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6201 posts) -

I will be there... KOF and KI.

#23 Posted by Demoskinos (15013 posts) -

@starvinggamer: Maaan I would really like a PS4 release. If not I'll be satisfied playing on PC but a man can dream.

#24 Posted by Elyhaym (229 posts) -

First off, props for a really awesome post, @flstyle!

I'll probably be watching USFIV, KI and maybe some Marvel & KOF XIII.

Pretty excited about the changes in USFIV and what it might result in in terms of character usage.

#25 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4690 posts) -

I am rooting for Nintendo to actually see how good they got it that smash has the scene it has and let the game into evo.

#26 Posted by HistoryInRust (6335 posts) -

@flacracker: The Evo folks had said pretty definitively this time last year that MK wouldn't be making any more appearances.

At a high level, the game had some demonstrable balance issues that players were actively exploiting. Injustice has more or less entirely supplanted MK's spot for the time being.

#27 Edited by Hippie_Genocide (635 posts) -

@flstyle: Great writeup. Looking forward to the EVO Season. About the AGE thing...sucks for Romance and Sabre, those are cool guys. But, fuck everyone else. Especially everyone's least favorite scumbag, FlashMetroid.

#28 Posted by JJOR64 (19023 posts) -

Happy that Melee is coming back and happy about all the hot ST stuff. I hope ST will get its time to shine on stream. Kinda bummed that Tag 2 is coming back. High level Tekken is always fun to watch. Also curious about what state KI will be in at EVO time since Double Helix isn't working on the game anymore.

#29 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19371 posts) -

@jjor64 said:

Happy that Melee is coming back

Well, it isn't, yet.

#30 Edited by JJOR64 (19023 posts) -

@jjor64 said:

Happy that Melee is coming back

Well, it isn't, yet.

True, but I bet it will. Well, it better. NINTENDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

#32 Posted by FLStyle (4768 posts) -
#33 Posted by Seroth (722 posts) -

@flacracker: The Evo folks had said pretty definitively this time last year that MK wouldn't be making any more appearances.

At a high level, the game had some demonstrable balance issues that players were actively exploiting. Injustice has more or less entirely supplanted MK's spot for the time being.

It was surprising (and cool) how long MK9 lasted at Evo. Remember, last year when the Evo lineup was announced, MK9 was part of it, and NOT Injustice, which hadn't come out yet. They later decided to include Injustice in the line up after some tremendous tournament showings shortly after the game's release.

I'm excited to see Injustice again this year, as apparently it's not a bunch of Supermans anymore. :)

I have a feeling Melee will be there. Evo people are probably using the fervor that this non-announcement will stir as ammunition to convince Nintendo to give permission for the game.

Someday, I'd like to see Skullgirls get some main stage attention. Maybe one day... :)

#34 Edited by HistoryInRust (6335 posts) -

@seroth said:

@historyinrust said:

@flacracker: The Evo folks had said pretty definitively this time last year that MK wouldn't be making any more appearances.

At a high level, the game had some demonstrable balance issues that players were actively exploiting. Injustice has more or less entirely supplanted MK's spot for the time being.

I'm excited to see Injustice again this year, as apparently it's not a bunch of Supermans anymore. :)

There has been incredible parity amongst a huge portion of the game's cast following last fall's massive update. A couple Superman players still represent pretty well, but for the most part the scene is witnessing a renaissance of otherwise underutilized characters.

#35 Edited by BisonHero (6674 posts) -

@flstyle said:

Bad news! UFGTX will be the last UFGT, Keits is just getting too busy to keep running it to his high standards. I'll definitely be doing a preview blog of it in May and a farewell look back at the previous events.

http://shoryuken.com/2014/02/08/ultimate-fighting-game-tournament-series-bowing-out-after-tenth-installment/

D: That's a bummer, UFGT is great. Keits is such a likable dude, definitely one of the FGC's best representatives. Any word on the absence of Divekick from EVO? I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS. More serious question, what's the competitive scene like for Killer Instinct? Are enough people legitimately interested in it, or is the kind of game that just gets into the tournament due to business pressure, but not a lot of people in the FGC really take the game super seriously?

@historyinrust said:

@seroth said:

@historyinrust said:

@flacracker: The Evo folks had said pretty definitively this time last year that MK wouldn't be making any more appearances.

At a high level, the game had some demonstrable balance issues that players were actively exploiting. Injustice has more or less entirely supplanted MK's spot for the time being.

I'm excited to see Injustice again this year, as apparently it's not a bunch of Supermans anymore. :)

There has been incredible parity amongst a huge portion of the game's cast following last fall's massive update. A couple Superman players still represent pretty well, but for the most part the scene is witnessing a renaissance of otherwise underutilized characters.

Man, what? The last time I was watching Injustice it was like constant Aquaman and Batman. No idea when that was, but I don't even remember seeing Superman in whatever finals and grand finals I watched like, months and months ago. Was Superman the new hotness after some update that toned down those two?

#36 Posted by DystopiaX (5334 posts) -

Shame there's no P4A. That and KOF were my favorite games to watch last EVO.

#37 Posted by HistoryInRust (6335 posts) -

@bisonhero: Right after release, the general consensus was that Aquaman and Batman were the game's two best characters. Aquaman, particularly, had a stranglehold on most of the game's testers, who were mostly prominent members of the MK community.

That was April. In mid-May, a number of players started maining Superman, and it was quickly made apparent that his tools--his fast, nearly recovery-less strings; his ability to build meter; his excellent close and long-range games; his damage-boosting, armor-ignoring trait; his three-frame super--were simply too manifold to ignore. Superman players were everywhere, and he was winning nearly every major tournament. Three players in Evo 2013's top five used Superman. Zoning, rushdown, damage output, supers. There was no incentive in using anyone else, because Superman could do everything better than everyone else.

Luckily, the patch changed that.

#38 Posted by LiquidPrince (16009 posts) -

I used to be all about SF, but going back and watching some high level play of it makes me shake my head... SF looks like the dumbest game ever where watching people play at a high level. The characters are like having seizures bobbing up and down, left and right and then someone gets an opening, does a short combo and then back to the seizures.

#39 Edited by FLStyle (4768 posts) -

@flstyle said:

Bad news! UFGTX will be the last UFGT, Keits is just getting too busy to keep running it to his high standards. I'll definitely be doing a preview blog of it in May and a farewell look back at the previous events.

http://shoryuken.com/2014/02/08/ultimate-fighting-game-tournament-series-bowing-out-after-tenth-installment/

D: That's a bummer, UFGT is great. Keits is such a likable dude, definitely one of the FGC's best representatives. Any word on the absence of Divekick from EVO? I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS. More serious question, what's the competitive scene like for Killer Instinct? Are enough people legitimately interested in it, or is the kind of game that just gets into the tournament due to business pressure, but not a lot of people in the FGC really take the game super seriously?

I wasn't expecting Divekick to begin with, but I would've been pleasantly surprised. A lot of the Capcom FGC have adopted KI, more so than MK and Injustice.

#40 Posted by Marino (4736 posts) -

@flstyle: Sorry it took me a few days, but this is on the front page of the site now.

Staff
#41 Posted by rmanthorp (4003 posts) -

AHHH EVO HYPE!

I'm soooooo ready. Great work on the OP once again dude.


Moderator
#42 Posted by AMyggen (3331 posts) -

Great thread! And Nintendo better not block Smash (but they might...).

#43 Posted by FLStyle (4768 posts) -
#44 Posted by blabbermouth64 (29 posts) -

Anyone here go to the super arcade or interested in going? I've never been and want to go check it out...

#45 Edited by Pop (2644 posts) -

Aww, no more Mortal Kombat 9 :(. Oh crap, no SfxT either, WOW!

#46 Posted by Y2Ken (1180 posts) -

I cannot wait for some hot Ultra Street Fighter IV action. Wish P4A was still there but looking forward to Chronophantasma as I've always enjoyed the BlazBlue series.

Will be a real shame if Smash doesn't make it in at the last minute, but I'm not holding my breath at this point.

#47 Edited by Mousse_gallon (204 posts) -

I was hoping for Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match to be at EVO. Next year should be interesting with New Smash Bros, P4A2, and USF4.

#48 Posted by HoboZero (196 posts) -

So how will Injustice's various stage attacks be handled? Are matches always on a random stage, or is there one in the game with no environmental attacks/hazards?

#49 Posted by HistoryInRust (6335 posts) -

@hobozero: Each tournament addresses this differently, but typically the first match is played on a random stage. The loser of the first match can then elect to option a 50/50. That's where both players choose a preferred stage and the game draws one of the two from a figurative hat.

Interactable objects are an integral part of the game's balance. They aren't really seen as unfair. And, mostly, the level of play is such that the players can force each other out of using them anyway.

#50 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1083 posts) -

I was hoping for Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match to be at EVO. Next year should be interesting with New Smash Bros, P4A2, and USF4.

I really hope P4U2 and GGXrd can be both at EVO but knowing how Mr.Wizard is it will probably only be (Xrd) one of them.