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Monday, August 5, 2019

Unless You're A Solid Snake Fan, EVO 2019 Was Great!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I thought it was great. Couldn't be worse than before.

There was a time, as recently as last year, that the collective Super Smash Bros. community was having large doubts about the future of the fighting game at the Evolution Championship Series tournament series (popularly shortened as EVO). EVO 2018 was, in a word, a disaster. If you needed another descriptive word, it was an embarrassment.

EVO 2019 totally changed that. For starters, no more Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. For that matter, no more Super Smash Bros. Melee. Only one Super Smash Bros. game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, at the prime Sunday night last game slot. As a result of consolidating all of Super Smash Bros. into one game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the highest-attended game in terms of stream-viewing and entrants, at over 279,000 viewers and 3,500 entrants. Even some Super Smash Bros. Melee players participated, notably Plup at 17th place. Plus, the four winners of the Super Smash Bros Ultimate North America June Open 2019 that got tickets to EVO 2019 as their prize all did very respectably, with HPT Seth at 49th place, Heeew and Wisdom at 97th place, and RamonM64 at 257th place. Very good for winners of an item-friendly tournament.

We all ultimately watched a diverse Top 8 for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which ended in MkLeo beating Tweek's Pokémon Trainer (the tournament was pre-4.0.0 so Ivysaur got a lot of down-air spikes throughout the tournament) after a bracket reset (MkLeo was from loser's side), which Tweek totally choked because he kept insisting on going to the less-favourable Pokémon Stadium 2.

You can watch the grand finals for yourself here. They're definitely emotional and intense and hype. It went past midnight in Eastern time, and some of the matches before the grand finals were getting me very sleepy and I didn't think I could keep myself awake to watch the grand finals. But I was jolted wide awake once the action happened:

While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate did go very well and wasn't an embarrassment, there was still a lot of controversy from the event. This time, it came from EVO's staff, during the Tekken 7 segment that immediately preceded Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

It's an EVO tradition for fighting game makers to announce things at their game's EVO finals appearance. Indeed, Tekken director/producer Katsuhiro Harada of Bandai Namco appeared to announce Season 3 of Tekken 7, featuring things like a new character named Leroy (presumably to compete with the multiple Roys in Super Smash Bros.?) and the return of Tekken 6's Middle Eastern fighter named Zafina. These announcements got widespread excitement. Even more announcements were promised throughout the year.

For attendees only—it wasn't on the stream—there was something... else that appeared. Right before the grand finals match, there was an extremely brief clip of Solid Snake talking in a codec to Katsuhiro Harada. “This is Snake. That was some Good Ass Tekken.”

As you can observe from the video, the MCs announcing the Tekken 7 segment obviously didn't know that was coming—probably didn't help matters. Now, this wasn't an announcement or anything. Just Snake appearing. But people took it as a character announcement. The crowd was getting all hyped. Turns out it was a joke, which I interpret as a parody to Snake's appearance for the first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer back in E3 2006.

EVO later tweeted it was a joke, but David Hayter, voice of Snake, expressed his and Konami's displeasure. Some speculate this may even end up in a lawsuit, though I don't think that's likely to end up in court:

Oof. I mean, as someone not involved in either the Tekken or Metal Gear Solid fanbases, I can appreciate the levity of the gesture. I suppose if it was Phoenix Wright yelling, “HOLD IT! No Objections to that Smash, EVO!” I might understand. But I already lived through Phoenix Wright appearing at a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament announcement. Ultimately didn't end well when THAT went to court.

EVO 2019 Tekken grand finals Solid Snake Katsuhiro Harada joke
I can't speak for the quality of the Tekken, but the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was top-notch.
You should watch the grand finals and more.

There was a serious Nintendo announcement at the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate portion of Sunday, but Ludwig will write about that in the detail it deserves at a slightly later date. Not tomorrow.

The serious Nintendo announcement was the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019! Read everything you need to know about it here. You can enter too!
EVO 2020 is cancelled, but there is an EVO Online tournament instead. Super Smash Bros. will not be there.


  1. Never would I have imagined Pokémon Trainer ever making it to any grand finals back when Brawl was the latest Smash game.

    Also companies can really be over protective of what their characters say. In the TooManyGames con I attended, Charles Martinet said he will not say anything that is out of character for Mario. Well we know that Nintendo is probably censoring Mr. Martinet from saying actual things Mario would say truly.

    1. Yeah, but no surprise a DLC character got there...

      “I'm-a gonna kill-a all the Koopas! Mwahahaha! YAHOO!”


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