EVO 2022 Lineup Revealed
The 2022 Evolution Championship Series, which will be taking place August 5th to 7th, 2022 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Paradise, Nevada, looks to be something of a fresh start for the biggest and most venerated fighting game tournament of the year.
Not only is EVO 2022 the first in-person event since 2019, it also is the first in-person event as the result of the partnership between Sony Interactive Entertainment and Endeavor, which had jointly acquired EVO in early 2021. While this year’s event will serve as a return to form, there will be something missing – it was recently announced that Nintendo has chosen to withdraw Super Smash Bros. from the tournament.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter V, in the form of Street Fighter V: Championship Edition, returns to EVO for its fifth – and what may be final – time. At the culmination of the Capcom Cup just a few weeks ago, the developer formally announced the long-rumored Street Fighter 6, promising more info to come in Summer 2022. What better place than EVO to share that information? If this is SFV’s swan song, every competitor is doubtless going to pull out all of the stops to be the final champion crowned for the game on the EVO main stage.
Guilty Gear Strive
While it was featured as part of last year’s digital-only event, Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear Strive makes its formal EVO debut this year. Incredibly slick and stylish, Guilty Gear Strive was one of the best games released in 2021, and with one more downloadable character confirmed to be on the way this year, the game’s roster may expand even more before its EVO appearance. To see what some of the best in the world can do in this game will be a visual spectacle no other title in this lineup may be able to match.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11, as Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate, will make its second appearance at an in-person EVO event in 2022. Not to take anything away from MK11, which is still an incredibly visceral, technically intricate, and satisfying game, but questions on what developer NetherRealm is working on next have been swirling for quite some time. In July 2021, they tweeted that there was not going to be any further DLC for the game; as they released a new game every two years from 2011 to 2019, many are speculating that it’s just a matter of time until their next title is announced.
Tekken 7 is the longest-standing game in EVO 2022’s lineup, making its sixth appearance at an in-person event. While there hasn’t been a formal announcement made about its status, the game received its last downloadable character about a year ago, leading similarly to speculation that a new series entry may be just around the corner. Regardless of whether or not that comes to fruition, every match at EVO will be an energetic and artful showcase of why, even with new and strong competition every year, Tekken remains at the pinnacle of fighting game franchises.
The King of Fighters XV
2022’s first major fighting game release came in the form of The King of Fighters XV last month, and fittingly, it makes its EVO debut this year. The latest entry in a franchise which, like Tekken, started all the way back in 1994, The King of Fighters XV is quickly picking up steam; given there is less than six months between the game’s release and EVO 2022, it’ll be very interesting to see how things shake out in the competitive scene on the way to the event.
Melty Blood: Type Lumina
For the first time since 2010, a Melty Blood game will be contested on EVO’s main stage. Melty Blood has always been a popular series in the FGC, and has been a fixture of side tournaments at EVO – one of which was, unfortunately, hosted in the bathroom at a hotel – but it’s remained a bit of a niche title. Melty Blood: Type Lumina will surely be the dark horse event of EVO 2022, in that it features most everything fans could want in a fighting game, though most viewers might be inclined to skip it due to their unfamiliarity with the franchise.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
The second of three Arc System Works games appearing at EVO 2022, Dragon Ball FighterZ makes its third appearance at an in-person EVO. FighterZ just received its first DLC character in a year in the form of Lab Coat Android 21. The impact of one character on a three-character composition may be easy to dismiss, but her introduction may be just enough to shake up the meta.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus
Granblue Fantasy: Versus was originally scheduled to make its debut at EVO 2020, before that event had been cancelled in part due to the pandemic. Instead, it will debut at this year’s event, with its roster having almost doubled since launch. Where Granblue Fantasy: Versus differs the most from its contemporaries is that it features more of an emphasis on shorter combos and simple special moves, though as with all Arc System Works games it features some unique mechanical depth.
Skullgirls has enjoyed a new lease on life over the past year with the release of additional characters and content for the PS4 and PC version of the game, Skullgirls: 2nd Encore. While it was featured as part of last year’s digital event, Skullgirls will be making its in-person main stage debut this year, which is an incredible feat for a game that initially released in 2013. Last weekend, Triviality won the Skullgirls Championship series, managing to fend off Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, one of the best fighting game players today. Will we see a repeat performance at EVO 2022?
Given that last year’s EVO happened virtually and was broken down by region, there were multiple winners for each title across North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. With no single defending champion per game, this gives every title a bit of a reset, and will surely lead to some incredibly hype moments. The best fighting game players in the world will once again seek to carve their names into history when the 2022 Evolution Championship Series takes place August 5th to 7th, 2022, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Paradise, Nevada.