There are fighting game tournaments… well, just about every week, but few lack the prestige and attention of EVO. Consistently providing the highest amount of entrants and viewership in the entire FGC, the tournament is one of the biggest influences in the entire community – which is why its lineup of games brings with it a certain tenuous anxiety among certain players. And 2019’s lineup, just revealed, shows why – some rise, and others fall.
— EVO (@EVO) February 27, 2019
There’s the expected, of course. Tekken 7, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, and Soul Caliber VI all got spots, as did Switch titles Dragonball FighterZ and the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11. There were a couple more interesting picks, such as the return of BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle for a second year, the new version of Samurai Shodown (that hasn’t even released yet), and a hard-fought spot for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], whose community has won a vaunted slot in the EVO lineup.
Of course, all eyes were on what Mr. Wiz would do with Smash. Ultimate got its expected spot and first year in the rotation… while Melee, for the first time in half a decade, will be missing out. Despite the game’s high viewership and attendance, the community has always faced obstacles with EVO – it’s the only game that requires CRTs instead of HDTVs to use (creating potential logistical issues), there’s low cross-game attendance compared to a lot of other FGC favs, and certain Melee players have notoriously had issues with EVO rulesets and stipulations for some time.
In recognition of the game’s massive fanbase, the EVO staff prepared a ‘thank you’ video for Melee and its community, whose tastefulness is up to your particular discretion. While this is already sending shockwaves of Discourse across the web, it’s safe to say that Melee isn’t dying anytime soon – other high-profile tourneys like CEO still have it in their cards, and it’s unlikely that such an impassioned (and admittedly obstinate) community will wither and fade anytime soon.