Before Seth Killian became the community manager at Capcom-Unity, he was merely one of the world's foremost fighting game enthusiasts and co-founder of EVO; the most serious fighting game tournament on the planet. Back before Destructoid existed, I used to go to shoryuken.com all the time to read about EVO and what Seth and his crew were organizing next. Their unyielding dedication and endless passion for competitive fighting games was something I could relate to, then and now.
Dtoid- So, how was EVO this year?
Seth- EVO has really turned into something unique and special in the gaming world. It’s a tournament, sure, but the atmosphere and community around it are about a billion times better than. It’s hard to describe, but it’s kind of like a family reunion, in Vegas, where everyone gets to beat the crap out of each other and cheer for their favorites, and the caliber of play is just off the charts. This year was the best ever, and there were 4,000 people cramming into the event hall itself, cheering, crying, and rushing the stage by turns. Even more amazing was that hundreds of thousands watching the live stream—Street Fighter has better ratings than “Gary Unmarried” reruns! The hardcore have kept the scene alive during a long, fighting game drought, but it’s really amazing to see that the fires we’ve kept burning for so long turn into infernos. There’s so much history and passion and personality in the scene, and to see it run by the players, for players, is really something special.
EVO's line up has really changed over the past ten years. 2009's roster consisted of SF IV, TvC, MvC2, SF3: 3rdS, SSF2T:HD, and SC4. How did you determine which games would be available for tournament play?
Most organizations start with whoever will pay them money, and then put that game into a competition. For us, the lineup is determined by the community. We just look to see which fighting scenes are really pulling together, and showing a lot of committed players. Sometimes we take a smaller game and try and “reward” the efforts of an up-and-coming or newly revived scene with a place on the big stage, but ultimately it’s up to the players themselves to represent themselves.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is arguably one of the best selling fighting games ever made. The game's sales aren't the arguable part, but its status as a fighting game is. I know that the guys I've interviewed who play Brawl competitively would argue that it's just as much of a fighting game as Street Fighter or Soul Calibur. Do you think Brawl is a fighting game, and if so, do you think Brawl will ever be playable at EVO?
It’s a real fighting game. I didn’t always think that, but I changed my mind after spending more time playing both Melee and Brawl. We actually had Brawl on the main stage in 2008 (with items on!) and I thought it was one of the best tourneys that year, with some spectacular finishes and outstanding play. Most of the competitive Smash community prefers to play with items off, which is their call to make, but we try to play a kind of “no holds barred” style at EVO, until something is proven to be undeniably messed up. I can’t imagine how crummy Marvel Vs Capcom 2 would be today if we had started banning things the first time we thought something was “overpowered” or “too random.”
How about KoFXII or BlazBlue? Might they make it into the formal EVO proceedings next year?
It’s really up to the players. I know BlazBlue has been well-received by traditional Guilty Gear fans, so it’s a strong contender. KOF games have loyal fans, but their competitive community hasn’t been as large. Maybe KOFXII will re-ignite them?
On the topic of Arc system works, what ever happened to that Sammy Vs Capcom project from a while back? Any chance that could see new life someday?
I’ve heard bits and pieces about such a project, but it was before my time at Capcom, so I’m afraid I don’t have any firm details. More than anything, these projects really comes down to coordinating timing between the studios, and I think both Aksys and Capcom have their hands very full at the moment. I’d certainly love to see something like that though—Capcom’s “Vs” history has given us a lot of true classics.
On to Vs. fighters directly on the horizon, the excitement around Tastunoko Vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars just keeps on snowballing. Anything news you can tell us about how the game's shaping up? New characters? Online play? Fighting sticks? Anything?
I can confirm that we are adding new characters, as well as online gameplay (we’re hoping to have territory-free worldwide opponent selection too). As for sticks, we actually had some prototypes available to play at this year’s Comic-Con, though they really were just homebrewed prototypes and there’s nothing to announce right now.
Monster Hunter 3 recently launched in Japan, and from what I've read, the game bundled with the new classic controller pro outsold the stand alone version nearly five to one. Any chance that Capcom USA might release a game with a similar bundle here in the states? TvC:UAS seems like a good fit...
All I can say is that I loooove playing on that controller, so I for one would be very happy to see it happen. Our office is full of PSP-loving Monster Hunter fanatics (you find them congregating in dark corners and have to shoo them out), but I was never a serious player until I played with that new classic controller pro. It’s a definite game-changer for me, and I’m hooked.
Fans seem really split on who they want to see in TvC:UAS. On one end you have the camp that wants to see "mainstream" Capcom characters like Dante and Wesker in the game, and on the other you have those who are looking to see more "underdogs" like Gene (from God Hand) join the game's cast. As lighthearted Capcom fan, and a hardened Capcom employee, which way would you like to see things go?
Jonathan, you of all people should know there’s nothing “lighthearted” about me—I am usually the the first one swearing on the internet and being rude to waiters if my favorite characters don’t make it. Fortunately for me, they will.
Seriously though, the problem with new characters is that although everyone agrees that more = better, somebody always ends up disappointed that their favorite didn’t make the cut. I think people will definitely be psyched about a few of the choices in particular, especially when you get a chance to see some of these level 3 hyper combos in action. They make me proud of the game.
One of the best (but least believable) rumors I heard at E3 09 was that Capcom was going to re-release Killer 7 on the Wii, and if the game sells well, that Harman Smith (the game's protagonist) might show up in TvC:UAS. Can you confirm or deny this one for me? Because if you don't, one of those rabid Killer 7 fans will probably threaten to kill me until I get the scoop.
I haven’t heard anything like that, so if it’s true and you do get the scoop, I’ll be first in the internet-line to read all about it.
How about the rumor that Street Fighter 4: Championship Edition being currently in the works? If you were a betting man, would you wager for or against the legitimacy of such reports?
I am a (mostly) reformed gambler, but I have the inside line on that question, so it would be, um, dishonest for me to bet. You haven’t heard the last of Street Fighter—that much is for sure.
Finally, the last I heard on the great Mega Man 9 nugget hunt, people were thinking that the secret is just a minor connection between Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 9. Please tell me that the nugget is something cooler than that...
I check in with the nugget hunt on the regular. Nobody has found it, but even so that thread is like the greatest compendium of Mega Man trivia of all time—great stuff. At any rate, yes, it is cooler than those really obscure similarities.
Thanks, Seth! I appreciate your time.
[EVO photo by Terry Ng @Kineda.com]