EVO 2019 Predictions: 6 Fighting Game Announcements That Would Impress Us

Evolution Championship Series is the ‘the E3 of fighting games’

dragonball evo mobile
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” / Bandai Namco

Mandalay Bay will serve as the fighting game community’s epicenter from Aug. 2-4 because the Evolution Championship Series (EVO)— the largest fighting game tournament for pro players—will return for another round of incredibly hype matches. 

EVO’s massive appeal is easy to recognize: Attendees go to watch the tournament action, meet their favorite players, mingle with commentators and experience the expo-like atmosphere with plenty of apparel companies, arcade stick manufactures and creators all participating. 

In recent years, EVO has adopted the mantle of “the E3 of fighting games.” Whenever the developers behind a popular fighter want to show the world what’s next for their title, they tend to release that information during EVO weekend. This year’s E3 was pretty light on anything regarding fighting games, which makes way for EVO to give fighting game fans a lot to look forward to. 

If any of these announcements come our way in August, jaws will fall to the floor.

1. ‘Street Fighter V’ // Season 4 Information Blowout

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Blanka in “Street Fighter V” / Capcom

The wait for more details regarding Street Fighter V’s fourth season is near its end. Yoshinori Ono, the game’s producer, has made it clear that we can all look forward to learning about the future of SFV in August—funny how EVO just happens to be taking place in August. Once the Grand Finals of SFV wraps up, chances are high that Ono will hit the stage with his favorite Blanka toy in tow. And we’re placing our bets on him sending the crowd home happy with a batch of Season 4 gameplay trailers for SFV. We’ve already spoken on the additional characters and features we’d love to see make their way into the game. But at this point, we’d be fine with anything Ono and the SFV team at Capcom has been cooking up. Four or five more characters, new V-Skills, throwback stages and requested balance changes would breathe new life into SFV.

2. ‘Tekken 7’ // Season 3 Confirmation

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Kazuma Kiryu from the “Yakuza” series / Ryū Ga Gotoku Studios

Shout out to Katsuhiro Harada. All of his years spent working as a producer for the Tekken series led to him getting a promotion as the leader of Bandai Namco’s eSports strategy team. His extensive work on 2015’s Tekken 7 has kept it thriving for much longer than expected too. We hope his new duties won’t keep him from making an appearance on the EVO stage. We’ve become too accustomed to witnessing him and Michael Murray drop a bomb on us every time they have something cool to announce.

Even though the Tekken 7 character select screen is a bit crowded already, there’s still room for a few more additions. We previously compiled a list of characters we’d be down to see get a modern-day makeover. But if Harada and Murray really want to blow our minds, they should give everyone what they’ve been asking for: a well-produced trailer for the latest guest character, Kazuma Kiryu from Sega’s Yakuza series. The announcement of a third and final season for Tekken 7 at EVO would be thrilling.

3. ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ // First Look at Spawn

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Spawn in “Spawn 293” / Image Comics

The first Kombat Pack for Mortal Kombat 11 pleases us greatly. The first character to become playable from that pack’s lineup was the returning Shang Tsung, the martial arts sorcerer lovingly played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Next up to enter the fray will be Nightwolf and Sindel, two returning characters who MK co-creator Ed Boon has recently provided sneak peeks. 

If Boon decides to offer extended looks at those two characters sometime in July, then that would clear the way for one of MK 11’s guest characters to show off their brutal moveset a month later at EVO. We’d flip our lids if the NetherRealm Studios team showcased Spawn in all his demonic glory. And hey, maybe we could get official release dates for Nightwolf and Sindel while we’re at it.

4. ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ // Season 2 Gameplay Reveals

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Goku and Janemba / Bandai Namco

Back in May, an episode of This Week on Xbox mistakenly announced a previously unknown character for Dragon Ball FighterZ. Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb mentioned a name that diehard DBZ fans rejoiced over once it was heard: Janemba. The portal-activating, sword-wielding demon warrior is a definite fan favorite whose moveset would fit hand in hand with Dragon Ball FighterZ. It seems as though it would be the right move for the game’s developers to officially confirm his arrival in the game at EVO, right?

A special bonus in the form of trailers for Gogeta and Broly would be welcome too. The second season of DLC for Dragon Ball FighterZ has taken far too long to release its characters, so it’d be a nice surprise to see the last remaining lineup showcased in one trailer. While we’re saddened to see Kefla get passed over, Season 2’s remaining fighters are more than enough for us.

5. ‘BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle’ // The Next Fate

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Arc System Works

Arc System Works’ major crossover fighter has gained plenty of traction. The hectic battles delivered by BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle are fun to watch and its varied roster provided plenty of fan favorites. Five franchises have been given the honor of starring in this game so far: BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, RWBY and Arcana Heart. It’s pretty evident that a sixth “Fate” is on the way thanks to the teaser seen at the end of the last DLC trailer for the game. Now what franchise could that next Fate possibly be?

Arc System Works is associated with a few other fighting game IPs worth mentioning. Guilty Gear, Battle Fantasia and Chaos Code immediately come to mind. It’d be quite the shocker if any of those three titles ended up being the latest franchise to join BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle—or better yet, a new batch of characters guest starring from another publisher/developer. Just imagine a few faces from Melty Blood or Skullgirls being featured alongside the rest of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle’s massive roster.

6. ‘Soulcalibur VI’ // The Next DLC Character

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Project Soul

Bandai Namco’s weapons-based fighter rose like a phoenix with the release of the sixth main installment in the series. Soulcalibur VI served as a proper reboot that honored the best parts of the franchise while adding in new features that altered the combat in clever ways. The first season of content that added a bit more life to the game came in the form of new characters and extra custom creation gear. 

However, we hope that’s not the end of the road for Soulcalibur VI. A second season wouldn’t even have to be revealed at EVO; we’d be perfectly fine with just seeing one or two more familiar faces join the roster. A quick glimpse at the character popularity poll for the series paints a clear picture of who should get announced next. A reveal trailer for Cassandra, Yun-seong or Setsuka at EVO would be the best way to put a final bow on Soulcalibur VI.

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