This Week in Games - EVO Extravaganzaby Heidi Kemps,
Well, EVO was sure a big ol’ thing, wasn't it? There's a lot that can be said about the EVO Grand Finals, but I think I can sum it up succinctly by pointing out that the real winner of EVO was Norio Wakamoto and all the characters he voiced.
We've got a whole mess of news from the event, too. There's a whole lot to cover, so let's dive on into every single news reveal, organized by game!
This news hit just before my last column went live, and I'm miffed about that, because it's not every day you get to announce “Terry Bogard is in a new game and also Terry is a girl now because reasons.”
Tiddy Bogard, much like everyone else in SNK Heroines, can be dressed up in a variety of ridiculous clothes, a process made infinite more fun because you are turning Terry friggin’ Bogard into the prettiest princess of them all. A few folks are salty about the lack of Miss X from SNK Gals Fighters, but y'know, I'm pretty okay with Terry Boobard as a replacement.
DEAD OR ALIVE 6
Koei-Tecmo announced one new and one returning fighter for DoA6's cast. Rig, the taekwondo practitioner first seen in Dead or Alive 5, makes his return. Joining him is newcomer Diego, a rough-and-ready street fighter.
When I first saw Diego, I read his shirt as “Got Butts,” which, let's face it, wouldn't be out of place in the world of Dead or Alive.
SOUL CALIBUR VI
Soul Calibur VI had a big presence at EVO, taking up most of Bandai-Namco's booth and being featured as a big exhibition tournament. Before the Tekken 7 finals, two new character reveals were announced. Well, not really “new,” as they're more familiar faces that are making a return.
First off is Astaroth, everyone's favorite hulking monstrosity. Watch this trailer and just try to tell me you aren't physically wincing at him swinging Maxi around on the blade of his axe like a broken doll. The other returning fighter is Seong Mi-Na, who everybody expected to come back since she's been around from the Soul Edge days. Still nice to her properly revealed, though.
BLAZBLUE X TAG BATTLE
Oh boy, did Arc ever drop a whole mess of character reveals. Since all the revealed characters are out now, I'll just link to the announcement trailer.
What was particularly interesting was seeing the live EVO crowd reaction to all the character announcements firsthand. People were jumping out of seats in joy, hootin’ and hollerin’, hugging each other as waifus were unveiled. I wish I'd have had the foresight to grab a movie of it, it was wild.
But also: check the bit at the end – there's another series being added to this crazy crossover. It's heavily speculated to be fanservice fiesta Senran Kagura, but we won't know for sure until Arc tells us more.
FIGHTING EX LAYER
Arika held their own tournament for Fighting EX Layer at EVO, and when things wrapped up, they unveiled a new trailer featuring previously announced characters Vulcano Rosso and Pullum Purna, along with a few other surprises.
We get brief glimpses of Sharon and Area from the Street Fighter EX series, along with… Terry Bogard?! Yes, that means Terry got announced for two different games in two different genders. This is a weird timeline we're in.
There's also an arcade version coming! It uses Taito's NESiCAxLive digital distribution system, so if you live near an arcade that happens to have access to the platform (which, in North America, means “almost exclusively Round 1”), you might be able to play FLEX while you're out and about.
GUILTY GEAR XRD
No character reveals, surprisingly, but it was mentioned that something new and Guilty Gear-related is in the works. The Arc Revo World Tour tournament series was also announced, so players of Blazblue Central Fiction, GGXrdR2, and BBTAG will have their own globe-spanning event to compete for fame, glory, and sweet eSports money.
The finals will be held in Los Angeles, marking the first time Arc has held one of their major events Stateside – previous Arc Revos were all Japan-based. It's a fantastic announcement for fans of Arc's games and shows how much the company is working to grow their international community.
So, uh, here's where things are starting to get a little weird. Last year, we saw the unveiling of Geese Howard as a playable guest character in one of my favorite reveal trailers of all time, so people were expecting something pretty wild. I don't think we quite expected this, though.
First off, we've got the return of Anna Williams and Lei Wulong, two highly requested fan favorites from Tekken games past. Then… we saw a glimpse of Negan.
Yes, Negan. From The Walking Dead. In Tekken.
Yeah, a lot of folks were betting on a Yakuza series guest, so this blindsided basically everybody Some folks were quite mad, but we must remember: Tekken is an incredibly mainstream series that has always gone for broad appeal in its character designs, juxtaposing the serious with the wacky to please as many people as possible. Negan is a big acquisition for them, allowing them to reach out to an entirely new and different audience that might be interested simply because of a Walking Dead tie-in.
Also, let's not forget that this is a game series that had an entire stage themed around Snoop Dogg. Yeah.
Alas, there's still so sign of certain Tekken cast members…
Well, we knew base Goku and Vegeta were coming, but we got another big character reveal after Grand Finals: Frieza's even nastier big bro, Cooler. No specific date on his release yet, but Bandai-Namco's been pretty good about getting these characters out quickly.
STREET FIGHTER V
Before Top 8 of Street Fighter V, producer Yoshinori Ono took the stage to debut the last of the Season 3 fighters, G and Sagat – and wait, they're both out? Yeah, if you're into SFV, you probably have both of these old men in your roster already.
G's quite an interesting dude; I wasn't expecting “Q from SF3 3rd Strike plus Abe Lincoln” to be as weirdly charming as he is.
Also, Sagat's a whole lot of Sagat. I want to pet that tiger.
With no news on season 4, however, this leaves Street Fighter V – and CAPCOM – in a weird place. They didn't drop any other news at EVO (Darkstalkers = still dead), so what comes next for Street Fighter and CAPCOM fighters in general is a complete mystery.
SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE
Okay, the Smash news didn't come at EVO, but they did drop that a Smash Direct video broadcast was coming. That was broadcast this morning, and holy crap Sakurai is a madman.
The above video features the entirety of the Direct, but to summarize:
Luigi is DEAD!
Simon Belmont: In the game!
Richter Belmont: Also in the game as Simon's “Echo Fighter!” Please give us Ayami Kojima outfits for these two.
Chrom and Dark Samus: Very much in the game as well, though this means the rest of the Smash cast can't make jokes at Chrom's expense anymore.
Stages: Dracula's Castle! New Donk City! A bunch of stuff from Melee, Smash 64, and 3DS Smash! You can also turn off stage hazards for each stage which makes a lot more stuff viable in competition!
Music: Holy CRAP there's a lot of music in this thing, and now you can listen to it on the go!
Game modes: Tournament mode! Squad Strike team battle mode! A mode where you can charge up a meter to use Final Smashes! A super neat training area that shows detailed launch trajectories!
Assist trophies: Zero! Krystal! Shovel Knight!
Wait King K. Rool is in this thing too WHAAAAAAAAAAT?
All this amazing stuff with more announcements to come… and some people still won't shut up about Waluigi. Sigh.
NOT FIGHTING GAME NEWS: THE 3DS KEEPS ON KICKING WITH PERSONA Q2 COMING
So hey, you might want to hold onto your 3DS for a little bit longer, because Atlus Japan is apparently hellbent on supporting this thing until its last dying breath.
Persona Q2: Cinema Labyrinth was announced over the EVO weekend, and if you played Persona Q, you know what to expect: a blending of Etrian Odyssey-style dungeon crawling with cute chibi Persona characters and a wacky crossover storyline. The Persona 5 cast is along for the ride this time, as is…
The one true protagonist of Persona 3. Don't try to argue this with me, this will not end well
With Persona Q2 releasing in Japan late this year, the question arises of whether or not Atlus will opt to do a Western 3DS release for (presumably) mid-late next year. You would think it'd be a foregone conclusion, but remember, the remake of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment on PSP was passed over as the PSP was rapidly dying in the west.
Also, how sick do you think the Persona 4 cast is of weird alternate universes by this point? I bet Narukami just wakes up, looks around, and mutters “looks like we just landed in Smash Bros today ” with a long, heavy sigh before having to drag out Izanagi yet again.
Okami’s out on Switch now, so you can once again experience a beautiful, incredibly inspired game that drags on for much longer than it really should. Monster Hunter World finally hits PC, as well, while Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive dashes onto both PS4 and Vita.
Phew! That's one heck of a news week, huh? We'll see you all again next week, when things are hopefully a bit calmer.
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