Update: The headline to this article previously referred to Evo Japan as simply “Evo” and has been changed.
Evo, the world’s largest fighting game tournament organization, has announced the lineup for its upcoming Japan tournament, and while it’s a solid lineup, the deals to have two of the fighting game scene’s most popular titles seem to have not closed, preventing them from being included.
The tournament’s main linenup, announced via Evo’s official Twitter, includes BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, The King of Fighters XIV, Soulcalibur VI, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, and Tekken 7.
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
You may have noticed two popular titles missing: Dragon Ball FighterZ and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, two of the most popular and well-received fighters of the year. According to Mark Julio, business developer for Evo, this looks to be because “we couldn’t get approval from the publisher/owner.”
Not every title was included in the main event that we originally hoped for. We couldn’t get approval from the publisher/owner. As unfortunate as this may be, we will still be supporting the communities and events at Evo Japan 2019 — more information on that later.
— Mark Julio (マークマン) (@MarkMan23) December 14, 2018
For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this is likely a case of Nintendo of Japan putting its foot down about having its game included. For Dragon Ball FighterZ, the pushback most likely comes from Toei and/or Shueisha, the companies who own the rights to Dragon Ball as a franchise, since Arc System Works and Bandai Namco have both approved their other titles for Evo Japan.
Evo Japan takes place February 15-17, in Fukuoka, Japan.
It’s unfortunate for two of the most popular fighting games to be not be included. Dragon Ball FighterZ was at this year’s American Evo event, so I’m not too worried about what this means for that game’s presence at the event next year, but I’m hoping Ultimate doesn’t get blockaded for Evo this year.