The lineup for EVO Japan 2019 has been revealed and once again, the immediate conversation following the reveal is revolving around what is not included. For the time being—and this is not final—there are six games represented at the competition set to kick off on February 15, 2019. These are Tekken 7, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, SoulCalibur VI, Street Fighter V, The King of Fighters XIV, and Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2.
The #EVOJAPAN2019 main titles are as follows:
・BLAZBLUE CROSS TAG BATTLE
・STREET FIGHTER V ARCADE EDITION
・THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV
・GUILTY GEAR Xrd REV 2
We will be working with the gaming communities to support the other titles not included.
— EVO (@EVO) December 14, 2018
The two huge omissions here are obviously Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Dragon Ball FighterZ. It’s ironic that the two major titles missing from this list, at least from a Western perspective, would maybe have been the main draw and stars of the show.
These omissions are especially odd when you consider the fact that Dragon Ball FighterZ was already featured at EVO 2018, and Smash Bros. had not one, but two games represented in the competition. Smash even made it into last year’s EVO Japan.
Mark Julio, the Director of Global Business Development for EVO, tweeted the following update:
And personally, I think the community working together to run Smash Ultimate and DBFZ is going to be awesome and I can’t wait to show the publisher/owners the strength of the community. Goodnight!
— Mark Julio (マークマン) (@MarkMan23) December 14, 2018
It sounds like Bandai Namco and Nintendo’s Japanese divisions may not believe that EVO is the proper setting to showcase their games. At the moment, it seems like the plan is to let the community organize side tournaments for these games at EVO Japan, and shine a bright spotlight on them to prove how popular they are:
Anecdotally, I only tuned in to watch EVO last year when the Dragon Ball FighterZ tournaments were going down, and I would have definitely tuned in to EVO Japan to see some world-class Smash Bros. Ultimate gameplay. Hopefully we still get to see both of those games in action. We’ll keep you updated.