EVO reveals Smash-less fighting games lineup for 2022

EVO 2022 will mark the first time that Nintendo's fighting game series will not be part of an in-person EVO since 2007.

EVO is to the fighting game community as the Super Bowl is to American football fans. Every year, hundreds of thousands of fans tune in to the Evolution Championship Series tournament to watch the best professionals battle it out for supremacy. After being acquired by Sony last year, EVO has announced its lineup of games for later this year with one notable but expected removal.

Smash has been a part of EVO tournaments since 2007.

Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 will headline EVO 2022 with Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate and Guilty Gear Strive rounding out the lineup. Other games include Dragon Ball FighterZ, The King of Fighters XV, Granblue Fantasy: Versus, Skullgirls: 2nd Encore, and Melty Blood: Type Lumina. None of these games come as a surprise inclusion as most if not all are widely considered one of the best fighting games around. However, the removal of Super Smash Bros from the lineup generated discussion even if it was expected.

There have been rumblings within the fighting game community for a while about how Nintendo wanted to pull Smash from EVO. One of the presumed reasons for this is the recent controversy surrounding the Smash competitive scene that involved reports of sexual harassment and abuse as well as the grooming of minors. Not to mention, it's an open secret among fighting game circles that Nintendo never prioritized the competitive aspect of Smash. It appears that the Sony acquisition finally gave Nintendo an out.

If it's any consolation, Nintendo isn't exactly leaving the competitive scene of Smash out to dry. Despite the console manufacturer's reported disdain for the game's competitive scene, Nintendo is working with Panda for the first officially licensed championship circuit for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

EVO 2022 might be one of the last few EVOs to feature Street Fighter V once the sixth mainline installment comes out within the next year or two.

Smash or not, fighting game fans and professionals will have a reason to celebrate EVO 2022. This year's event marks the first time the tournament will go back to playing the games in front of a live audience since 2020. EVO 2022 will be held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, from August 5 to 7.

In other news, Capcom officially announced Street Fighter VI last month. Most fans are hoping that Street Fighter VI will be exclusive to the Xbox Series S/X and PS5 and become the first current-gen fighting game to be played at an EVO tournament in the future. Meanwhile, SNK just confirmed that it's working on a new Unreal Engine 5 game, with many speculating that it will be a fighting game for current-gen consoles.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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