Signups for the annual premiere fighting game tournament EVO have concluded, and they sport some of the biggest numbers the event has seen.
Shared on Twitter by Evo president Joey Cuellar, EVO 2019’s numbers have shattered multiple records for individual franchises across all tournaments, and for EVO itself. The final entrant numbers are as follows:
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – 3492 (biggest ever)
Street Fighter V – 1929
Tekken 7 – 1885 (biggest ever)
Samurai Shodown – 1719 (biggest ever)
Mortal Kombat 11 – 1567 (biggest ever)
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] – 1156 (biggest ever)
Dragon Ball FighterZ – 1191
SoulCalibur VI – 742 (biggest ever)
BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle – 640
There’s a lot to break down here, so let’s start at the top. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s big debut has already topped its popular older siblings Melee and Smash for Wii U’s records by roughly 1000. It makes sense considering this is the only Smash game present at this EVO after Melee’s six-year reign, even if some competitors that only play Melee won’t be attending.
Next up is Street Fighter V. While this is a far cry from topping the 5000+ warriors competing in the game’s debut EVO (the highest number for a single EVO game), and is 500 competitors lower than last year, the general consensus is that the divisive game is in the best state it’s ever been. If nothing else, everyone’s excited for the big reveal that’s been promised during its finals after months of silence.
Following that is another record-breaker, Tekken 7, which has the highest number of entrants for any of its events and continues its shocking trend of growth (a surprise in the fighting game community), gaining almost 400 competitors over last EVO. It’s also dogging Street Fighter’s heels more than ever before, and actually spent several months ahead of it in terms of entry numbers. Tekken 7 has been cited as one of the most exciting modern fighting games to watch, and its players hold it as one of, if not the, best games in the series, so we look forward to seeing this year’s offering. Hey, remember that time someone won the Tekken World Tour with Panda? That was great.
Next up is Samurai Shodown, Mortal Kombat 11, and Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]’s debuts at EVO, all with over 1000 entrants. Samurai Shodown and MK11 are both recent games, so it makes sense for them to be doing well. MK11 has topped MKX’s record by 400 entrants, making it the biggest NetherRealm game to ever appear at EVO. Surprisingly, Samurai Shodown’s series debut at EVO has surpassed it by a couple hundred. That probably has something to do with the “new game smell” and the franchise’s revival, but we hope the game has a good showing. Finally, in spite of being around for several years, UNIST’s Tekken-esque rise in popularity has led it to finally gain a spot at EVO. This anime fighting game has been upheld by its community as one of the most solid 2D fighters on the market right now, and it’s nice to see that their efforts have raised it from obscurity.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has experienced a severe drop off of almost 1500 players compared to its debut last year, but holding over 1000 players is still nothing to sneeze at. Of note, this brings the number of EVO games with over 1000 entrants to seven of nine, which is higher than the six of eight back in EVO 2018. The fighting game community is often viewed as an insular group that has trouble growing, so this is fantastic to see.
Finally, we have Soul Calibur VI’s EVO debut (along with nearly doubling the entrants from 2012’s SCV, the last time the series was at EVO) and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle’s return. Cross Tag’s entrants have been cut in half compared to its debut last year, but it still managed to escape the 200-500 entrant range, making this the second EVO to avoid dipping into said range (the other being EVO 2016, with SFV’s debut empowering the event). Also of note is the fact that Cross Tag Battle, the smallest tourney this year, will be among the four main stage Sunday Finals games. This isn’t a bad thing considering how late those proceedings run, but it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst SFV, Tekken 7, and Smash Ultimate.
The decision to shake things up for this year’s game lineup seems to have done nothing but good for EVO. It’s reached the point where president Cuellar has been polling fans to see what the final Sunday game should be after a history of it always being Street Fighter, and Smash was the strongest contender. He also recently polled fans about the possibility of splitting prize pots more evenly among Top 8 players, with the proposed new structure receiving overwhelming support. It’s a season of change at EVO, and we couldn’t be happier to see it.
EVO 2019 is only a few weeks away, taking place from August 2nd to August 4th in Las Vegas, Nevada. AnimEVO will be running alongside EVO proper with an enormous lineup of 31 games, spanning everything from Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom, to Puyo Puyo Tetris, to Kill la Kill The Game: IF. If you plan on attending, be aware that you need a separate pass to stick around for the Sunday finals. Even if you can’t attend, make sure you keep up with it on Twitch, because this is one tournament you don’t wanna’ miss!