EVO Organizer On Why King of Fighters Was Dropped, Mortal Kombat X, And More

Last week, Joey Cuellar, the organizer of the EVO fighting game tournament, revealed the line-up of games that would be present at the event this year. This consists of: Ultra Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.

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Speaking with Shoryuken, Cuellar discussed how games are chosen for EVO, with the most important criteria obviously being if players are still playing a particular game or not, and what the active scene is like. This, Cuellar says, is why King of Fighters XIII didn’t make the cut.


“A prime example of this is King of Fighters,” Cuellar says. “After last year’s Evo, the game just stopped being played. Even in SoCal (Arguably the home of KOF in the United States), no one was playing this game. Even though it’s still a good game, the interest died out.”


Cuellar also explains some of the other decisions that went into picking the final list of games. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he says, is back because it had the highest viewrship at EVO 2014. Meanwhile, BlazBlue was taken off the list in part because of a version update that “not too many players were fond of”.


On the subject of Killer Instinct, Cuellar says that game would not have been picked for EVO 2015 had it not been for the frequent content updates it receives, which helped it make the list. Meanwhile, Mortal Kombat X, which is another Western-developed fighter, was chosen because Mortal Kombat 9 had a strong three-year run at EVO, and the organizers feel that the new game will be a “huge hit” at the tournament.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.