Evo 2019’s games lineup comes with a few surprises.
The selection of main stage games for this year’s Evolution Championship Series was revealed by directors Joey “MrWiz” Cuellar and Mark “MarkMan” Julio on the official Evo Twitch channel. The nine games included this year will be Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Dragon Ball FighterZ, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[st], Soul Calibur VI, Mortal Kombat 11, and Samurai Showdown.
The biggest resulting discussion was the omission of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The Gamecube title stands as one of the most enduring in fighting games, and has been among Evo’s biggest and most popular attractions since first being added to the lineup in 2013. Though it hasn’t seen a serious decline in either participation or viewership, the game was kicked off the main stage entirely.
This drew resoundingly negative reactions from fans and pro players alike, with many wondering aloud if this was the result of Nintendo’s rumored frustration with the older game’s enduring popularity. Though Smash Bros. will remain a part of Evo with Ultimate, the removal of Melee still raised eyebrows.
Of course, Melee wasn’t the only mainstay to be removed from the proceedings. Guilty Gear Xrd was ejected after four years of play, while Injustice 2 has been bumped after two. Injustice was replaced with NetherRealm Studios’ upcoming release Mortal Kombat 11, while Guilty Gear’s future is unknown.
A surprising omission among new releases is Dead or Alive 6. The Team Ninja series generated controversy with a risque demonstration at Evo Japan, but is still set to be one of 2019’s biggest new fighting games.
Though much of the discussion on Evo’s lineup was on which games won’t be there in 2019, there are some exciting new additions.
Soulcalibur returns to the main stage for the first time since 2012 with Soulcalibur VI. Classic SNK series Samurai Showdown will make its Evo debut with its upcoming reboot. UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[st] will appear on the main stage after being one of 2018’s most popular side events.
Evo 2019 will begin August 2.