Evolution 2016 Fights its Way to Live TV

Highlights From the Year’s Largest Fighting Game Event

The Evolution Championship Series (often called EVO) took place last weekend from July 15th to 17th. As one of the premier fighting game tournaments featuring favorites like Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter and Tekken, this year’s EVO drew in 5,000 players for Street Fighter V alone. With over 14,000 competitors, the Las Vegas, Nevada event broke its previous attendance record.

"With over 14,000 competitors, EVO broke its previous attendance record."

Nine games were featured at EVO, with a few side events for other games. The nine featured games were: Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Killer Instinct, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Pokken Tournament, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, and Tekken 7 Fated Retribution. Among them, Pokken Tournament is the only new franchise to the EVO lineup.

During the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament, Japanese competitor Kamemushi defeated the previously untouchable Chilean EVO champ, Zero. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that Kamemushi used Mega Man, who sees almost no play competitively. Even better, Kamemushi defeated Zero with a shutout victory, three games in a row. The video for the three tense games can be found here.

"Kamemushi used Mega Man, who sees almost no competitive play."

What makes this EVO interesting was that the grand final for the Street Fighter tournament aired on ESPN2. ESPN2 saw over 201,000 viewers, and don’t forget the almost 183,000 viewers on Twitch. ESPN has recently been adding esports content, including streaming Counter Strike Global Offensive tournaments live on Friday nights. 

The Street Fighter V grand final deserves its own highlight reel as well. South Korea’s Infiltration fought against Japan’s Fuudo in the top 8, with Fuudo taking the set. Not ready to give up just yet, Infiltration earned a rematch with Fuudo by winning the loser’s bracket. The rematch started with the competitors trading beatdowns until Infiltration went and secured the first set. Infiltration rode the momentum through the second set, with Fuudo being unable to bring himself back in.

Infiltration ended EVO with a german suplex into the ring corner. In the post-game interview, Infiltration only needed two words to light up the arena, “download complete”. After a few extra matches, Infiltration had seen enough of Fuudo’s playstyle to shut him down. The grand final match can be found here.

"After a few extra matches, Infiltration had seen enough of Fuudo’s playstyle to shut him down."

EVO 2016 was an incredible event. With tournaments for 9 games, there were plenty of interesting matches (often at the same time). Namco Bandai also announced that EVO would be going to Japan this year. With more information to come at the Tokyo Game Show in September, this is great news for fighting game fans everywhere. Anyone who would like to learn more about this year’s EVO can find the official website here.