Evolution Championship Series bans games from EVO Japan 2019

The EVO or Evolution Champoinship Series is the world’s premier fighting game esports tournament – and just a little while ago, the list of games for the EVO Japan 2019 has been announced officially.

So far so good, that in and of itself isn’t exactly unusual. What was VERY unexpected though, was the absence of two extremely popular titles from the game list. More specifically, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Dragon Ball Fighter Z (DBFZ) have been curiously not included.



The official EVO Twitter account listed the games that WILL be part of the next EVO – Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, King of Fighters XIV and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Of course, all of these games have pretty large devoted fanbases all on their own, but a huge amount of genre-fans were looking forward to the new Super Smash Bros. and DBFZ at the EVO early next year.

The EVO 2019 Japan will be the series’ inaugural event there – for that reason alone, the fact that DBZ and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate were left off the list seems extremely odd at first glance. The reason for it all isn’t some nefarious plot or favouritism though – the problem was simply that the respective developers (Nintendo of Japan and Namco Bandai/Toei) didn’t give permission for the games to be used at the event.

That sort of conflict isn’t entirely unheard of, and developers pulling games from events, exhibitions or the like happens all the time, however in this case, two major titles being pulled by their developers is definitely an unexpected issue.

According to an insider, both companies separately told the EVO organisers that their games couldn’t be used at the event. As a whole, the community of fighting game enthusiasts was left… confused by this move by both companies. Both game series have previously been part of other EVO events and been very successful there.

Other titles from the series were fan-favourites at previous events – Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U were even represented at this year’s EVO events. They actually achieved some of the highest viewership numbers across the entire line-up of games – in other words, an awful lot of people are missing out on quality gameplay and quality match-ups because of these games not being included.

Naturally, even without these two titles, the event is going to take place as planned, so don’t fear for the EVO Japan 2019 just yet. EVO Director of Global Business Development Mark Julio tweeted that “not every title was included in the main even that (they) originally hoped for.”

If you are more interested in the US EVO event you’ll have to wait a little longer. At the moment it’s not yet known whether this ban only applies to the Japan event or to others as well. Statements on the matter will probably be made eventually – for now, all we can do is hope for the best!

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