Last Week in E-Sports: The big Evo 2017 roundup

The world’s biggest fighting game tournament just came to a close and it seems like every fighting game developer (except Nintendo) had some major announcement to show off during the finals.

For fighting game fans the hype was practically unbearable. The EVO finals were broadcast on ESPN2 and streamed on Twitch, but if you were still unlucky enough to miss the event, we have a full rundown of all the big news and results right here.

Project M Team Announces New Fighting Game: Icons

The team behind Project M, the Smash community’s most beloved Brawl mod, has unveiled a brand new Smash competitor built from the ground up: Icons: Combat Arena. Another new platform fighter, Icons integrates 15 years of Smash knowledge gathered by professional-level Smash players.

If you examine the Icons trailer closely, you’ll see plenty of pro melee techniques, from Wave Dashing, L-Canceling, SHFFLing, edge-hogging, and more. However, it also has new mechanics to show off, including a completely new cast that showcases archetypes you don’t normally see in Smash, such as grapplers. A beta for Icons is coming to Steam this fall and the full game should release next year.

Dissidia NT Will Have a Closed Beta

Unfortunately, Square-Enix didn’t have any new characters or mechanics to show off for their upcoming Final Fantasy fighting game, Dissidia NT. However, they did announce that they will have a closed beta for the game. Every EVO attendee got a code, and they plan on announcing an official date for the beta and opening up sign-ups to the general public later this year.

Square also had a full EVO panel (which was impressive since major companies like Capcom seemed to cancel theirs). The panel introduced the game to the fighting game community, explained its mechanics, and gave us some insight into its development process.

Geese Howard is Joining Tekken 7

Everyone’s favorite villain from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters is joining the Tekken 7 roster. He will retain all of his KOF move-set, including projectiles, counters, Raging Storm, and even the ability to enter MAX mode. He will be released this winter and will be followed by yet another guest combatant sometime in 2018.

First Gameplay Footage of Trunks in Dragonball FighterZ Revealed

Although Trunks wasn’t finished in time to be playable in EVO’s DBFZ preview build, we did get to see his official reveal trailer and it gave us an idea of how he is going to play. First of all, his heavy attacks are all sword slashes giving him more normal range than most of the other characters. His beams are thinner than most character’s, making them a little less useful for zoning but good as interference tools. Unlike most characters, he doesn’t have a forward facing super beam. Instead, he has a point blank explosion that is better used as a combo tool. His only beam super is done after what appears to be a command grab, after which he throws the opponent upward and fires a beam directly into the sky. He is certainly one of the more unique characters to hit the roster so far.

DBFZ Closed Beta Sign-Ups Announced

In addition to the Trunks reveal, Bandai Namco revealed that DBFZ would open up sign-ups for its closed beta on July 26. They also announced the beta will include nine playable characters, so expect two more character reveals before the beta kicks off.

Arika Reveals Two New Characters for Arika EX

Former Street Fighter EX developer Arika announced two new characters for their upcoming fighting game, now tentatively named Arika EX. The first was Skullomania, fan favorite from the Street Fighter EX days, and the second is the somehow goofier Indian wrestler, Darun Mister… who attacks you with his pelvis. The game is expected to release by April Fools 2018 and will have a limited beta test later this year.

Jubei to be Playable in Blazblue Central Fiction

Arc System Works appears to be taking the focus off Guilty Gear and placing it on Blazblue, which most fans thought was completely finished. Apparently the roster for Blazblue Central Fiction isn’t yet complete. The one character that fans have been waiting to show up since Blazblue’s first release in 2008 has finally joined the battle: Jubei, the sword swinging cat.

Jubei is an incredibly aggressive character. Not only do his normals combo quite easily, but his specials and drives seem to be focused on moving him quickly around the battlefield. More details about Jubei’s mechanics will be revealed in the coming weeks, and he is expected to be released sometime this summer. This officially means that all of the six heroes are now playable.

Blazblue Cross Tag Battle Announced

Arc System Works also had a totally new game to announce. It appears as if the Blazblue franchise will now be getting in on the tag battle craze. Their newly announced IP, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, will bring together characters from the Blazblue universe, Under Night In-Birth, Persona 4 Arena, and the Rooster Teeth original RWBY into one gigantic 2v2 crossover tag extravaganza. While we have no details on its mechanics so far, ASW has announced that it will likely release in 2018.

Jedah and Gamora Gameplay Revealed for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite

Even though Capcom canceled their panel, they still took time to show off the latest MVCI characters, Jedah and Gamora.

Jedah comes from Darkstalkers, and though he has been toned down to be a little less violent, he is certainly one of the best looking characters in the roster so far. Nearly his entire move-list has come back intact, although his blood constructs are now made out of purple goop to retain the game’s T rating.

Gamora is completely new and appears to smash together elements of Deadpool from Marvel 3 and Hayato from Marvel 2. She has a number of gun-related specials that allow her to zone and a laser sword with a huge hit box, which points toward her playing as a keep-away character with a slightly aggressive edge.

Finally, Capcom showed off some of the abilities of the current roster as well. For example, they showed off an old Magneto combo with Captain Marvel. They showed off some classic Marvel 2 zoning strats with Mega Man X. It appears as if they are really committed to this whole “characters are just functions” thing, but showing them in action lends quite a bit more weight to their argument.

Abigail Revealed as Next Street Fighter V DLC Character

The rumors were true; Abigail is going to be Street Fighter V’s next character and he… well he is certainly big. Abigail is one of the first "giant” characters to not fall into the grappler category. Instead, he is best described as a bruiser. His normals are slow but have a ton of range and super armor, making him a threat whenever he presses buttons. He also hits like a truck – I mean, have you see this guy!?! His biceps are like twice as big as his head. There’s something wrong with him!

Abigail will release on July 25 along with a brand new Metro City Bay Area stage. Like all the other DLC characters he will have a basic costume, a story costume, and a battle costume.

The Results!

Of course, it wasn’t all news. There were also, you know, tournaments! Here are your new EVO world champions!

  • Huomao.DBJ|E.T beat Qanba.Douyu|Xiaohai in The King of Fighters XIV. This was a matter of flexibility winning over strength, as E.T.’s insane lineup of four different teams (Meitenkun/Benimaru/Leona, Billy/Leona/Benimaru, Leona/Daimon/Benimaru, Clark/Benimaru/Daimon) allowed him to have a favorable counter match-up for any contender.
  • Guilty Gear Xrd REV2 went to KVOxTSB|OMITO in a surprisingly uneventful tournament. Omito had a powerful streak through winners straight to the finals, winning 3-1 against his opponent r/Kappa|T5M7.
  • In a surprising upset, SonicFox – Netherrealm’s multi-year multi-game champion – did not win the Injustice 2 tournament. Instead, that honor went to Noble|Dragon and his lineup of Aquaman and Poison Ivy. Dragon, too, had a powerful streak through winners, taking advantage of Aquaman’s powerful offense and using a variety of Trident attacks to play a fantastic footsie game.
  • Super Smash Bros Melee went to none other than |Armada running his trademark Peach. Armada consistently stayed one life ahead of his opponent, C9|Mang0, making use of Peach’s instant aerials to play a fantastic keepaway game against an aggressive Fox. What’s notable, however, is this is one of the first years that the Melee tournament was smaller than Smash 4, perhaps showing that it’s time in the spotlight is finally coming to an end after 16 years.
  • This year’s Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament was the end of an era, the last showing of the game at EVO, and the entrance of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite into the next fighting game season. We saw a face-off between Splyce|RyanLV and EG|NYChrisG that came down to the wire. ChrisG, who has come to be known as one of the heels of UMVC3 due to his strong zoning gameplay, put up a fantastic fight against RyanLV’s team of Chun-Li/Morrigan/Phoenix. RyanLV’s team is composed of what many would consider “low tier” characters (except for Morrigan) yet he still managed to pull off the win by threading the needle through ChrisG’s soul fists. That just goes to show you that the meta of UMVC3 is still not completely figured out, and since it is now exiting the scene for MVCI, it might never be.
  • Despite the incredible wealth of new characters added to BlazBlue Central Fiction, the tournament came down to series staples such as Bang, Arakune, Rachel, and the finals match between Ryusei’s Carl and Fenritti’s Jin. All of these characters have been in the roster since the very first Blazblue release, but all of these players weren’t. In fact, the finalists from last year were nowhere to be seen, proving that BBCF is a totally different game despite continuing the Blazblue name. In the end, it was Ryusei that came out on top after a harrowing series of matches that put both players in losers bracket. In the end, Ryusei’s puppet aggression was just too powerful, putting out hit-boxes in places that Fenritti’s Jin could not defend against.
  • This year’s Tekken 7 tournament came down to two of Echo Fox’s greatest – JDCR and Saint. You’d think that seeing two teammates face off would produce a less interesting match, but JDCR and Saint went at it full force. At the end, it was JDCR that won the championship with Dragunov, whose powerful normals and strong poking game kept Saint’s Jack-7 from mounting an offense.
  • Smash 4’s tournament came down to two characters that have been broken since they were released, Bayonetta and Diddy Kong played by MVG|Salem and TsM|ZeRo respectively. While Zero had incredibly strong neutral game, Salem’s ability to kill at low percentages with Bayonetta allowed him to consistently pull off wins from behind. Notably, EVO branded the tournament as Smash 4 and not Smash for Wii U. The audience fully expected Nintendo to announce Smash for the Switch at the event, but sadly there was no announcement to be heard.
  • Finally, we had the main event, Street Fighter V. PG|Punk proved that he is the king of coming in second place after his CEO performance. He faced off against one of Japan’s greatest, Echo Fox’s Tokido, whose Akuma was incredibly on point, pulling him up through losers bracket to eventually win the tournament. Although each individual round was nail bitingly close, Tokido won with a shut-out, taking home the title after winning 3-0.