In the world of fighting games, one could say that EVO is the preeminent arena where the best of the best duke it out. With EVO 2019 just around the corner, there are plenty of fighting games to look forward to at this year’s showcase, but also the possibility of big announcements. Whether they’re announcing a new character coming for a game or even a brand-new game altogether, EVO serves as the best platform for fighting game devs to announce new characters, features, and titles. As we prepare for the biggest weekend in fighting games, let’s take some time to look at the nine fighting games and speculate about possible announcements for them.
Under Night In-Birth — Umm…
We turn our focus on the oldest title on the show floor to start our list. It is truly astonishing how far the UNIST community has come for the game to be a featured title at EVO 2019, and it will be fun to see what the 1,100+ participants will pull off.
The masses will have a grand old time watching this game in action, but it does seem rather unlikely for there to be any new announcements affiliated with this game. There’s a fair chance that Under Night: In-Birth Exe: Late[st] could see a sudden announcement of another expansion or even a possible sequel, but chances are we won’t see anything new and fans of UNIST likely know this too.
Soul Calibur 6 — The Soul Still Burns for One More?
Last DLC Announcement: Amy (February 2019)
While Soul Calibur 6 will have their finals on a Friday, there’s no denying how nice it is to see the series back at EVO.
The DLC fighters added to the game have ranged from a few fan favorites to a 2nd crossover character in the form of Nier Automata’s 2B. It might seem almost hard to believe, but SC6’s Season Pass still has one more character waiting to be announced. Their identity is still unknown, but many fans hope the final DLC character will be Cassandra.
Dataminers have also claimed that the second season pass will have six more characters. It’s possible that we might see character announcements for both season passes. The characters in the second season pass were given the following codenames: Stone, Yell, Star, Snow, Reptile, and Yellow.
If you’re familiar with the Soul Calibur series, you can probably guess at least half of the characters. But again, we’ll have to wait and see if we will even get that far. Regardless, there’s a fair chance we’ll get some news about Soul Calibur 6.
Dragon Ball FighterZ –– Who is the Fourth Character?
Last DLC Announcement: Kid Goku (GT) (April/May 2019)
Dragon Ball FighterZ had a big year at EVO 2018, but this year’s attendance numbers have seen a significant drop. It tends to happen with many games after their initial year, but hopefully, this will mean the action will be that much more exciting to watch at EVO 2019.
So far, we got to enjoy Jiren, Videl, and the GT version Kid Goku. We also got to learn that the last two fighters in the pass will be from the latest Broly movie: SSB Gogeta & Super’s version of Broly. The mystery lingers on though about the 4th character as it remains a blank spot on the season pass. Some believe it could be another movie antagonist while others think it could be Roshi’s time to shine. Either way, let’s hope we get some announcement on whoever this character will be soon.
Last DLC Announcement: Rimururu (June 2019)
Samurai Showdown may be the youngest game at EVO 2019 this year, but it is certainly commendable for the support it will be getting for its first year. With over 1,700 players ready to cross blades, we are in for a special treat for one of the more unique fighting games on the line-up.
Now the funny thing about Samurai Shodown’s DLC is that there’s nothing being hidden away. It wasn’t that long ago that SNK announced that we’re getting Basara, Kazama, and Wan-Fu in the months following Rimururu’s release in August. As such, we likely won’t get any new information at EVO. There’s nothing wrong with that, but perhaps SNK could use that time to hype up one of their other projects during that time. After all, The King of Fighters XIV came out back in 2016 and its most recent DLC launched last year. It might be too early to tease the 15th entry, but who knows what the future holds for SNK.
Mortal Kombat 11: Nightwolf? Sindel? Or Spawn?
Last DLC Announcement: Shang Tsung (May/June 2019)
Some might say Mortal Kombat 11 had a bumpy launch earlier this year. Still, the game continues to draw people in despite its controversies. At the time Shang Tsung got his reveal, we also got a confirmation for Nightwolf, Sindel, and an oft-requested guest character: Spawn. Just like Samurai Showdown, the roadmap for upcoming fighters is out in the open, so there’s not much to speculate about.
As of late, Nightwolf has had a fair amount of teasers, but not much else. The same can also be said about Sindel as her character model was also shown off last month. Spawn on the other hand remains the biggest mystery since we have no idea what kind of appearance he will take and if he will have that crazy cape of his. If we were to make a safe bet on announcements, Nightwolf is the 2nd in line, thus a trailer for him would make sense. One can still hope that Ed Boon decides show off Sindel and even Spawn just to help drive the fanbase insane and help convince others to get the season pass, but let’s not raise our expectations too high.
Also, a small confirmation that The Terminator will be in Mortal Kombat 11 would be nice too.
Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle –– What is the 6th Series?
Last DLC Update: Naoto, Teddie, Seth & Heart (February 2019)
Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle is the biggest crossover game Arc System Works has put out, but it also sits with the fewest number of participants. Still, it will be the game starting off Sunday, featuring a whole bunch of action and characters from five separate series. It’s fun to consider how closely tied BB:CTB is with EVO considering its history. The game was first announced at EVO 2017, they revealed 9 DLC fighters during EVO 2018 alongside an expansion to a 5th series, and even that series (Arcana Hearts 3) was revealed at EVO Japan 2019. You could say EVO is the best place for them to drop news on upcoming updates, so don’t be shocked if we get a few more announcements at EVO this year.
So what sort of Blazblue Cross Tag Battle updates should we look forward to? There’s still a small handful of characters from Blazblue, Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax, Under Night: In-Birth,and RWBY they could use. That and the aforementioned Arcana Hearts 3 has a wide range of ladies that could join the cast so that Heart isn’t running solo. And then there’s the teaser of a 6th series joining the game, but who knows what that will entail. For all we know, it could be Melty Blood, or maybe we’ll get Guilty Gear representation in there. Whatever the “Light Blue” of the 6th series represents, it’s fair to guess that Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle is far from done.
Street Fighter V –– Is There Even a Season 4?
Last DLC Announcement: Kage (December 2018)
It almost seems strange to think of a game that has not seen any major updates for a little over half a year, and yet here we are with Street Fighter V. Of course, the game still has plenty of ongoing support — the Capcom Cup is still strong which has had plenty of participants this year, but some will not hesitate to point out how this is the first year in a very long time (if not, ever) that a Street Fighter game will not close out EVO (although in fairness, more people will get to watch SFV’s Top 8 now).
While fighting game fans were pacing in place for some time now, the wait could be over soon as we are slowly getting hints about a special announcement coming soon for the game. What that will entail is unknown, but at least we know it isn’t Street Fighter 6. Some players are hoping that even more playable characters will join the roster. Others are holding out that there will be a significant balance update. And then you have people that want to believe that a second V-Skill, Critical Art, or even a v-reversal will come into play. It feels like Street Fighter V is starting to show its age, and EVO 2019 would be the best place to ensure fighting game fans that it still has a few more years to go. Let’s hope for a big announcement coming up next week.
Tekken 7 — What Does the Future Hold for the King of Iron Fist?
Last DLC Announcement: Julia & Negan (February 2019)
While there are plenty of fighting games that have crossover appearances, it’s hard to get any more random than Akuma, Geese, Noctis, and Negan all in one game (besides our last game, but we’ll get to that in a moment).
Much like Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 has been around for a good sum of years, but the updates we’ve had from it thus far makes the game feel as fresh as ever. It’s possible that we may see the announcement of the third season of characters since there are still plenty of Tekken alumni that have not made their migration into the latest installment. There are plenty to pick from, and it would be madness to list them all out here.
There is also a possibility that Tekken might continue the trend of third-party characters, but it would be hard to say where else they can grab fighters from at this point. For all we know though, they could just grab yet another random person like Negan and once again win people over.
The options are wide open for Tekken 7 and it will be exciting to see which road they take.
Super Smash Brother Ultimate: The Hero, The Bear & Bird, and a 4th Character?
Last DLC Announcement: Dragon Quest’s Hero & Banjo and Kazooie (June 2019)
It seems almost unreal that out of all nine games, it will be Super Smash Brothers Ultimate that will be the headliner of EVO 2019. Nintendo’s little platform fighter has certainly come a long way with the biggest number of participants for this year’s EVO. With such a diverse cast and just as many players that can specialize in each of them, Smash Ultimate’s first year will likely see players using all 70+ characters.
As much fun as it might be to think about what kind of announcement Smash Ultimate will get at EVO 2019, we may need to dial back our expectations. Nintendo has a certain history with EVO that one could say is less than ideal. Even if we were to ignore the time Nintendo almost stopped Melee from getting broadcast, there’s never been anything special before or after Smash’s Top 8. The most we’ve gotten was Reggie wishing everyone luck while promoting Smash 4’s release, or an announcement of a Direct happening on another day. There’s nothing wrong with that and Nintendo are more than welcome to do as they please.
Still, with The Hero getting his own presentation later this week and the significance of Banjo in the west, it could be the best time for Nintendo to pull the trigger. Even the idea of announcing the 4th character in the Fighter’s pack could be huge, especially if that character could be a big icon in the fighting game community. Hopefully, Nintendo will do something special this year — but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Are You Ready For EVO 2019?
Which game are you the most excited to see this year? Any announcements you hope to see for any of the games we talked about? And could we see EVO serve as a place to announce the next big fighting game coming for this or the next generation? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming as we will be covering the news that comes out of EVO 2019.