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 :
- Ultra Street Fighter IV (NEW)
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Killer Instinct (NEW)
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- The King of Fighters XIII
UPDATE March 12th:
Super Smash Bros. Melee Joins the Evo 2014 Roster! http://t.co/uxNCqPGy8J— Evo (@evo2k) March 12, 2014
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.
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.
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!
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
Thanks for reading! Add your comments below!