The Evolution Championship Series (EVO) is one of the most (if not the) prestigious and highly anticipated fighting game tournaments ever. It’s a tournament where skills are tested, spirits are broken, and legends are made.
It was a disappointment when EVO was initially cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that was quickly remedied when EVO made the move to host the tournament online. It’s a bittersweet remedy since most fighting games have abysmal online netcode, which makes most of them virtually unplayable online. But it was something… And so, the Fighting Game Community (FGC) rejoiced.
Until this happened…
EVO was cancelled Thursday, July 2nd, when EVO co-founder Joey “MrWizard ” Cuellar’s past history of sexual misconduct towards minors surfaced online. Despite Cuellar’s firing, it could not stop the unprecedented chain of events that would send the once prestigious fighting game tournament crashing down on its own “core values.”
(The memes are real in the FGC).
A series of tweets sent out publicly by video game companies and developers from Capcom to Bandai Namco announced that they were pulling their games out of EVO this year. Commentators scheduled to be at the tournament also put out statements publicly announcing their departure from the tournament as a response to this shocking turn of events.
In an interview with ESPN, SonicFox, a five-time Evolution Champion and defending Mortal Kombat Champion, announced that he would not be competing in this year’s EVO Online Tournament after news broke out of Cuellar’s sexual misconduct.
“I can not in good conscience participate in an event with the allegations of one the primary hosts of said event. It just doesn’t sit right with me,” SonicFox told ESPN.
He officially announced that he will not be participating in this year’s tournament in a tweet this Thursday.
Many fighting game fans were eager to watch their favorite players duke it out on the main stage, and considering that this year’s fighting game line-up consisted of underdog titles like Killer Instinct and Skullgirls, many more were thrilled that these obscure titles were finally going to be recognized on a big EVO stage. This tragic news just adds more salt to the wound. Even for the FGC, that’s just too much salt…
So what happens now?
Many were eager for any news concerning new fighting game projects or updates to pre-existing tiles to be announced at this year’s tournament. Hopefully, we’ll still get those announcements sometime this month. (WHEN’S MAHVEL???)
But that’s assuming 2020 doesn’t throw us yet another curve ball.