Evo will be online this year, meaning Super Smash Bros. is missing from the lineup once again.
Sony and RTS announced that they jointly acquired Evo (Evolution Championship Series), the world's longest-running and prestigious fighting game event for the past 24 years. While Evo will still be open to all platforms, all major press releases surrounding the important fighting game event have failed to mention Smash as part of this year's online action.
"We will continue to assess Evo and other opportunities," Nintendo representatives told Stephen Totilo in a tweet, "as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity."
Last year would have been the first time a Smash game wasn't at Evo since 2012. Evo never publicly noted why Smash was dropped last year, but it was widely believed that it was due to Ultimate's terrible online netcode.
While it's seen some improvements since then, the netcode still considered unreliable and unfair, creating an entirely new competitive meta due to its severe lag and other issues. Evo will be online again this year on August 6-8 and 13-15, meaning Smash is most likely not taking part in fighting esports' most prominent event.
The games listed instead include Tekken 7, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Guilty Gear-Strive. Additional details will be released later, meaning it's possible to see Smash in future lists. But it's highly unlikely.
PlayStation discusses the acquisition of Evo
Evo co-founders, Tom and Tony Cannon, will stay involved with the tournament in an "advisory role." The brothers will ensure that the tournament continues to support the fighting game community. But most of the decisions will now be in Sony Interactive Entertainment's hands.
Said Sony: "Our collective team is laser-focused on one mission: preserving the authenticity of Evo for the fighting game community and finding creative ways, alongside our fans, to grow the tournament and make its events and broadcasts more fun, engaging and accessible than ever. At its core, Evo will remain what it has always been: an open-format competition that gives fighting game fans from different countries a chance to connect, test their skills, and forge new friendships."
PlayStation is hoping to foster the fighting game community's growth, as well as the entirety of esports. The team is "committed to breaking down the barriers for gamers to comepte at all levels" and giving the ma global platform to showcase their skills.
Sony will also be focused on making Evo a safe and inclusive environment. In fact, that is the "highest priority." After Evo announced an online event last year (sans Smash), the event was completely canceled after CEO Joey Cuellar was accused of pedophilia and sexual misconduct.
More information on Evo Online 2021 will be shared in the coming months. But for now, it seems that Smash will be absent once again. Luckily the Smash World Tour is still on, although many pro players have continued to call on Nintendo to support the grassroots Smash esports scene.
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