Guess it’s Them’s Fightin’ Herds‘ time to shine
After two years of having to settle for online-only gaming tournaments, it looks like 2022 will finally be the year we get to see the best and brightest duking it out in person, even though this pandemic isn’t anywhere close to over and could flare up again at any moment. On March 8, the organizers behind Evo are going to announce which titles fans can expect to see at this year’s shindig in Las Vegas. While we can speculate and guess on which game will show up *cough*King of Fighters XV*cough*, there is one specific fighter Evo organizers want fans to know in advance won’t be appearing at this year’s festivities: Super Smash Bros. In a statement issued today, the organizers confirmed the franchise will not be a part of the event.
— EVO (@EVO) February 26, 2022
If any of this sounds familiar, it should. We’ve done this song and dance before. Many years ago, Nintendo shut down Evo streaming Super Smash Bros. Melee at the event before reversing course. Since then, it’s seemed like Nintendo has had a decent relationship with Evo, allowing Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to appear at the show. In 2019, Ultimate managed to bring in 3,500 participants and was the most-watched competition of the show.
But, things have changed since then. COVID-19 forced organizers to change the in-person event to an all-digital affair in 2020, which Ultimate would not be a part of, before canceling the whole shebang following sexual misconduct allegations that were levied at Evo CEO Joey Cuellar. Then, in March 2021, Evo got bought up by Sony, before holding another all-online version of the tournament that again excluded Nintendo’s signature fighter.
It’s pretty disappointing that we won’t get to see the best-selling fighting game of all time be a part of this year’s show, but it does make room for some of those smaller fighters to get a chance in the spotlight. Here’s to hoping Persona 4 Arena Ultimax or Phantom Breaker: Omnia can help fill that sizeable gap.