EVO 2015 Preview (July 17-19, live from Las Vegas) 3 days, 9 world championships to be decided!

EVO 2015 Preview

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Welcome to the EVO 2015 preview blog! The biggest fighting game tournament event on the planet continues to get bigger every year, let's check out the line up for this year's event!

Official EVO 2015 games line up

1. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- - Developer: Arc System Works - Released in 2014 (2015 for PAL regions) - 1st appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2015 - Running on PlayStation 3
2. Killer Instinct - Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios (formerly Double Helix Games) - Released in 2013 - 2nd appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2014 - Running on XBox One
3. Mortal Kombat X - Developer: NetherRealm Studios - Released in 2015 - 1st appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2015 - Running on PlayStation 4
4. Persona 4: Arena Ultimax - Developer: Arc System Works and Atlus - Released in 2014 - 1st appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2015 - Running on PlayStation 3
5. Super Smash Bros. Melee - Developer: Nintendo - Released in 2001 (2002 for PAL regions) - 4th appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2007 - Running on GameCube (and CRT televisions)
6. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/Nintendo 3DS - Developer: Nintendo, Bandai Namco Entertainment, HAL Laboratory, Sora Ltd. and Game Arts - Released in 2015 - 1st appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2015 - Running on Wii U
7. Tekken 7 - Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment - Released in 2015 on Arcade, yet to be released on home consoles - 1st appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2015 - Running on Arcade (Fun fact, 1st arcade tourney at EVO in a decade)
8. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Developer: Capcom and Eighting - Released in 2011 - 4th appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2012 - Running on XBox 360
9. Ultra Street Fighter IV - Developer: Capcom and Dimps - Released in 2014 - 2nd appearance at EVO - Debut year: 2014 - Running on XBox 360

We say goodbye in an official capacity to BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and The King of Fighters XIII. BlazBlue and KOFXIII in particular are saddening to see go. KOFXIII has had a storied 3 year run at EVO, particularly the South Korea vs. Mexico rivalry during the EVO 2012 KOFXIII top 8. BlazBlue had the most exciting grand final last year and left both the grand finalists and some developers who had made the trip to see their game on the big stage in tears.

Entrants and prize money

GameEntrants (+ or - from 2014)Prize Money
GG XRD968 (Debut)$9680 (+$10,000)
Killer Instinct397 (+59)$3970 (+$50,000)
Mortal Kombat X1162 (Debut)$11620 (+$50,000)
Persona 4AU437 (Debut)$4370 (+$10,000)
Smash Melee1869 (+899)$18690
Smash Wii U1926 (Debut)$19260
Tekken 7458 (Debut)$4580 (+$30,000)
UMvC3816 (-198)$8160
USFIV2227 (+248)$22270 (+$50,000)
$50,000 = A lot of new phones
$50,000 = A lot of new phones

Thanks to a late $30,000 addition courtesy of Namco the total prize money is now over $300,000 for EVO 2015. This all started back when Capcom announced its partnership with Sony for the 2015 Capcom Pro Tour and the other developers have followed suit, whether its straight up donations from Aksys Games (10k for both XRD & P4UA) and Namco, or money from DLC sales from Ed Boon and the Lang Zone (which won't be the first thing he's dropped money on this month now that he needs a new phone).

Nintendo have yet to join the party unfortunately for the Smash community and Capcom can't officially acknowledge UMvC3 anymore because they don't have the Marvel license. Nintendo of America’s Bill Trinen will be in attendance and competing this year, maybe seeing EVO first hand will convince him to support the scene more.

Kudos to Justin for taking matters into his own hands! I don't know whether people were kidding or actually questioning Justin's integrity on this but he posted another tweet:

You can check out the brackets here and search for specific players here (if a searched player has entered multiple games it'll show them all).

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As always, One Frame Link is on hand with some interesting facts about this year's event, no doubt you'll see some player stats scrolling along the bottom of the screen on stream from them too:

Rules details

General EVO rules

Game specific rules

Smash Melee: 4 Stock, 8 Minute Time Limit, No Items, Pause Disabled, 2/3 Games

Smash Wii U: 2 Stock, 6 Minute Time Limit, No Items, Equipment Off, 2/3 Games

MKX

Streams and Schedule

http://www.twitch.tv/capcomfighters

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo1

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo2

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo3

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo4

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo5

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo6

http://www.twitch.tv/srkevo7

Click to enlarge image, right click>view image to enlarge even more!
Click to enlarge image, right click>view image to enlarge even more!

Timezone converter

In a move that has surprised many, the final 3 games are unchanged from last year. Marvel has retained not only a spot on Sunday, but its 2nd to last spot from the past few years. XRD takes the annual early morning anime spot while MKX, which closed out Combo Breaker 2 months ago and was 2nd to last at CEO last month, has to settle for 2nd out (replacing Killer Instinct). One of the men in charge of EVO, Joey Cuellar, said:

Mad Catz|Daigo Umehara is still the only player to win 2 SFIV tournaments at EVO, winning in 2009 & 2010
Mad Catz|Daigo Umehara is still the only player to win 2 SFIV tournaments at EVO, winning in 2009 & 2010

Which in this fighting game fan's opinion is a strange mindset to have considering Marvel's waning popularity in fighting game tournament streams for the past 12 months. That said EVO 2014 UMvC3 still holds the record for highest concurrent stream viewer-ship and its top 8 very exciting to watch!

One important fact that may get lost in the shuffle with all the talk about which games should get their finals where, is that this will likely be the final official USFIV tournament at EVO, with Street Fighter V launching in March 2016. If it is then I salute you Street Fighter IV, it's been a good 7 years at the top.

For an insight into the MKX scene at the moment and perceived "overpatching," hit the news section below.

Side tournaments (All times PST)

A bunch of these side tournaments' ends will be streamed at the Mad Catz booth on http://www.twitch.tv/madcatz.

Check the full Mad Catz EVO 2015 stream schedule here:

FRIDAY, JULY 17 – TWITCH.TV/MADCATZ

10:00 AMPREVIEW: TEKKEN 7
11:00 AMYatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm
12:00 PMPREVIEW: ROCK BAND 4
2:00 PMSPAERA
4:00 PMSIGNING: MAXIMILIAN / YO VIDEOGAMES
6:00 PMSIGNING: VampyBitMe
9:00 PMTOP 8: Super Street Fighter II TURBO

SATURDAY, JULY 18 – TWITCH.TV/MADCATZ

9:00 AMYatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm
10:00 AMTOP 8: KING OF FIGHTERS XIII
12:00 PMSIGNING: GOOTECKS & MIKE ROSS
1:00 PMSPAERA
2:00 PMSIGNING: VampyBitMe
3:00 PMTOP 8: Vampire Savior
5:00 PMArc Revo Cup TOP 4: BlazBlue CPEX
6:30 PMArc Revo Cup TOP 4: Guilty Gear Xrd
7:30 PMSIGNING: Daisuke Ishiwatari
8:00 PMTOP 8: Skullgirls
10:00 PMTOP 4: Capcom VS SNK 2
12:00 AMPREVIEW: Rock Band 4

SUNDAY, JULY 19 – TWITCH.TV/MADCATZ

9:00 AMYatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm
10:00 AMSPAERA
11:00 AMEXHIBITION: MD LOUFFY VS YBK Santarouman
1:00 PMPREVIEW: TEKKEN 7 EXHIBITION
3:00 PMPREVIEW: ROCK BAND 4

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GameDayTimeStream

Aquapazza

SaturdayNoonhttp://www.twitch.tv/numakie
Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!Saturday5PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/numakie
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma ExtendSaturday9AMhttp://www.twitch.tv/jyosua
Capcom vs. SNK 2Saturday10PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz
Darkstalkers 3: Vampire SaviorsSaturday3PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz
Dead or Alive 5: Last RoundSaturday10AMhttp://www.twitch.tv/bifuteki
Dengeki Bunko Fighting ClimaxFridayNoonhttp://www.twitch.tv/numakie
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +RFriday3PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/thebrett
Gundam VS Extreme Full BoostSaturday11AMhttp://www.twitch.tv/thebrett
King of Fighters XIII

Friday

Saturday

Noon

10AM

http://www.twitch.tv/kingsofco

http://www.twitch.tv/madcatz

Melty Blood Actress AgainFriday5PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/numakie
Project MTBDTBDTBD
SkullgirlsSaturday8PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz
Street Fighter X TekkenSaturday5PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/pandaxgaming
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo 1v1Friday9PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo 2v2SaturdayTBDTBD
Tekken Tag Tournament 2Friday3PMTBD
Under Night in-Birth EX: LateSaturday1PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/jyosua

Arc Revolution cup qualifiers

GameDayTimeStream link
Guilty Gear XRD 3v3Saturday5PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend 3v3Saturday6:30PMhttp://www.twitch.tv/madcatz

CEO 2015 highlights

Last month was Community Effort Orlando, and once again CEO surpassed its previous event, check out some highlights including the Stone Cold Kenneth Bradley entrance which was covered by ESPN, Buzzfeed, SB Nation, Vice and a whole lot more!

Incoming Comic-Con 2015 announcements

An event that needs no introduction, SDCC is a place where Capcom and Namco love to cater to the casual audiences of Street Fighter and Tekken, including the reveal of Street Fighter X Tekken in 2010, which at the time seemed like the greatest fighting game ever, and indeed might have been had there not been critical errors in the final product.

SDCC runs from July 9-12, expect SFV and Tekken 7 related announcements. And expect this news item to be updated.

Predator available for MKX tomorrow (Tuesday July 7th)

Kombat pack owners can use Predator starting tomorrow and can be bought next Tuesday. ITs variations are Hunter, Warrior and Hish-Qu-Ten. The first two make sense, a trap variation and a close quarters, possibly rush down variation. Hish-Qu-Ten is apparently a name related to the Predator species in general.

Seeing the Predator take on Jason will likely get the casual MKX player on board once again.

Yatagarasu available tomorrow (Tuesday July 7th)

Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm is an indiegogo funded fighting game by former SNK / King of Fighters developers, the campaign ended on August 11, 2013 after receiving $118,243 with an initial asking amount of $68,000. It goes on sale tomorrow!

Steam Link

Fighting Game Community members are not pleased with the constant MKX patches

Before the internet there was no such thing as patches, and a common problem was you'd be stuck with overpowered characters for a game's lifetime (see UMvC3 now that Capcom can't touch it), but now a new problem is emerging. NetherRealm Studio's released a patch that changed characters, making some combos no longer possible, days before CEO 2015 and another one last week nerfing the seemingly overpowered Tanya.

According to members of the FGC, this frequent patching from NRS is not only taking away a tradition of fighting games, adaptation, but it's also hampering players at the most crucial point of the fighting game tournament calendar. In this post by EVO 2011 MvC3 world champion, Jay Snyder AKA Viscant, Viscant gives a detailed breakdown of why NRS need to take a step back and let the players play the game as is for a while.

Games that get patched don't always send you back to square one but some of NRS's patches have shown a curious knack for doing just that. At CEO I watched a bunch of dropped combos with Scorpion. His best 1 bar combo was changed, a lot of people--some who got relatively deep into the tournament--were doing the wrong combos fairly often. I saw a metric crapton of Hellfire Scorpion's running face first into armor. I can't fault the players, they had about 48 hours warning, some of them may have already got on the plane before realizing their character was gimped. This is not nearly enough time to make fundamental strategic changes or to get enough casuals to override your muscle memory.

Later into the post...

And what if it wasn't even necessary? What if we would have eventually solved Tanya Kombat X? It seems like Tempest Kung Lao beats her and Grandmaster Sub seems to do somewhat decently. What if there are 5-6 others who fight her well? She wouldn't even need to be nerfed. The competitive balance would advance, players would learn. But it's all hypothetical now. It seems that actually exploring these matchups and conquering roadblocks just isn't a part of the MKX meta.

It should make for interesting viewing at EVO to see who, if any, character stand out as stronger than others, and if the constant changes lead to any critical dropped combos next weekend.

Thank you for reading and happy watching!

This is the most packed EVO yet, certainly the highest paying EVO yet, hope you'll give it a watch! And if you're tuning in for the first time and are wondering what to expect, it might go something like this:

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