A Brief Overview of All Announced Games on the 2022 EVO Lineup

Last Updated March 15th, 2022

It’s been a while since we saw EVO happen in person. The fighting game Olympics, as it has been called, has gone offline for quite a while to remain to save in COVID pandemic times, and that has severely impacted its schedule. This year, however, EVO is going down face to face, back in Mandalay Bay in Vegas on August 5-7, 2022, which means we get to see the triumphant return of some of the biggest names in fighting games that just so happened to be unable to support an online tournament. Let’s take a look at the lineup and see what might be in store for this truly historic EVO.

Street Fighter V

Perhaps the least surprising entrant in this year’s EVO, Street Fighter has always been the game that EVO has centered around, since way back in the early days when it was still the Battle for the Bay. Street Fighter has largely been synonymous with fighting games, and its notoriety has been enough to make it a headliner at just about every EVO competition. This very may well be Street Fighter V’s last hurrah, as Street Fighter 6 looms on the horizon. It’s also worth noting that this may be one of the few years that it doesn’t end up being the main event, as this year’s event priority is to be determined solely by the number of entrants in any given tournament. Still, you can expect Street Fighter V to be one of the bigger events at EVO at the very least.

Guilty Gear -Strive-

One of the newer entrants on the list, Strive, made major waves in the fighting game community by kicking off the trend of “rollback or bust” and pushing fighting game netcode into a new era. Despite its online numbers beginning to level off, it’s largely considered the poster boy for “new” fighting games, being the first major fighting game title to release in the ninth generation of video game consoles. Another title that wasn’t particularly surprising, yet a title that might genuinely surprise us, because its steady stream of DLC and updates constantly upset the meta and keep the game feeling fresh. That also means we can likely expect a major announcement from developers Arc System Works at this year’s EVO as well, either of a new piece of DLC or of a brand new game entirely.

Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate

This one was a bit unexpected. Mortal Kombat has always had a bit of a sketchy past with EVO. While lots of people compete in it, it’s the major NRS title out right now, and it has some of the best netcode that any of these titles have to offer, its extremely violent nature to the point of genuine absurdity has pushed back against EVOs attempt to be a more family-friendly event. MK11 is getting a little old as far as NRS games go, but there hasn’t been any other NRS game to replace it so it’s still the major headliner of its iconic gameplay style. Again, though, this may be its last hurrah as rumors have been circulating about a new NRS project that might take its place.

Tekken 7

Tekken 7 is one of the oldest (though not the oldest) games on the EVO lineup this year, first hitting arcades in 2015. This means that its meta is pretty well and established, with the gods of its roster continuing to dominate, and the top-tier players knowing the game in and out. We likely aren’t going to see surprises this year from Tekken 7, just pure-perfected gameplay. This too is another game that might see its last time at EVO, as rumors of Tekken 8 have been circulating around for a while now. We wouldn’t be surprised if we heard something about Bandai Namco’s next project at EVO itself.

The King of Fighters XV

This is the newest title on the EVO roster, having come out less than a month ago. Competitors are still figuring out new tech in this game every day, and the meta right now will likely not be anywhere near the meta that we see during EVO time. Not to mention there are four DLC packs of three characters each which are slated for release with the upcoming year and we may see one or two drops before EVO time, which means more characters added to the roster and more new tech to be learned. This is easily the fastest evolving game at EVO this year and is certainly one to watch if you want a major upset. However, you likely won’t see any major announcements from SNK aside from maybe revealing another DLC pack.

Melty Blood: Type Lumina

The first five titles we mentioned were kind of a give-in. They were either entirely new titles, or titles with massive name recognition that would make EVO feel like it’s lacking if they didn’t show up. Melty Blood, on the other hand, is uncharted territory. It only ever showed up as an EVO game once before. That being said, its sister game, Under Night In-Birth has been at EVO a couple of times, representing developers French Bread and their high-flying fast-paced gameplay. Not only that, but French Bread has explicitly said they have major announcements in store for EVO, likely in the form of new DLC characters. This is definitely one of the games that have been carried by its audience since its release last year and it’s nice to see EVO giving it some love.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

DBFZ is not having the best time in the fighting game community these days. It’s one of the few games on this list to not have rollback netcode which makes it very hard to practice. In addition, the recent addition of Android 21 Lab Coat style to its roster has led everyone to complain about the meta becoming extremely unbalanced. Still, it represents an absolute goliath of intellectual property, one of the biggest anime of all time, and while there is no guarantee of a DBFZ 2 on the horizon, this game was easily one of the best-selling and best-performing tag fighters ever, completely destroying its competition, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. That pedigree alone was enough to get it a slot, but without developer support or the addition of rollback netcode, we may not see it back next year.

Granblue Fantasy: Versus

Now this was a major surprise. Granblue was a game that was hugely screwed by the pandemic. It started getting big just as we were forced to shelter inside, and its tournament scene dropped to nothing with its lack or rollback netcode. But we here in America don’t understand how powerful the Granblue IP is overseas, and despite its dwindling numbers, more DLC came out, which was religiously bought by its fanbase. Despite having no reliable way to play online the game kept being practiced and now, that we can finally get back to in-person events with some semblance of safety, EVO is giving the Granblue fanbase the chance to see the tournament they never got a chance to have before COVID screwed everything up.

Skullgirls

Remember when I said that Tekken 7 was one of the oldest games on the EVO list? Well, meet the oldest one. Skullgirls first entered beta in 2011 and was released in 2012. Ever since the fanbase has wanted to be the main event at EVO but time after time after time it’s gotten the snub. One year it was because of its female cast. Another year it’s because of its weird art style. It’s indie nature. It’s a low player count. Excuse after excuse and no nod to Skullgirls. Yet a decade later it’s STILL getting updates and new characters, giving it one of the most dedicated fighting game development teams and fanbases ever known. And this year, finally, FINALLY, Skullgirls got its wish and managed to make it into the EVO roster. With new DLC characters coming up we can be sure to see an announcement from Future Club, its dev team, but besides all that, you just won’t be able to beat the hype that comes out of a tournament a decade in the making.