Colors, cages, cameras and competition; why Red Bull Kumite 2016 was one of the most outstanding FGC productions we've seen to date

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • April 24, 2016 at 6:20 p.m. PDT

With 16 of the world's greatest Street Fighter players in attendance, this year's Red Bull Kumite may have been the most exciting Street Fighter 5 tournament we've seen thus far. From the game play to the event production, everything about RBK 2016 was absolutely top notch and professional.


Given the UFC style setting, complete with caged ring and entrance theatrics, it goes without saying that a company like Red Bull has the financial means to put all the bells and whistles on a production. Click the image below to see a few shots that highlight this.

RBK Pro image #2

While the added theatrics and such certainly aid in bringing the hype, RBK also paid very close attention to the smaller, and more accessible to the everyday tournament organizer, details.

For starters, the stream station had every color unlocked for every character. When we reached out to Rachid Koga, the event's main behind-the-scenes man, he informed us that they had one staff member play through Survival Mode on each difficulty to attain said colors.
Those of us who have ground through Survival Mode, even for just our favorite character, know the struggle that is beating all 50 levels of the Hard difficulty. What a testament this was to the amount of effort the organizers were willing to put in to make their event just that much more entertaining.

Sadly, more often than not we saw the competitors choose either color one or two for their characters. Still, the unsung individual who put in all this work is the true hero of RBK 2016, I think we all would agree on that.

Red Bull Kumite also featured interviews with players after they were eliminated.. We got to hear immediate reactions from players like MCZ|Daigo, who admitted he felt he could've won the tournament, and was widely disappointed with his ninth place finish.

Though the tournament matches were the bulk of it, RBK was also enhanced with a combo competition and a special All Star Battle exhibition to give viewers breaks from the intensity of tournament play.

Another one of RBK's more dramatic components was in the trophy presentation. From what we saw, there were 16 latches on the trophy box, and each competitor was responsible for opening a latch upon elimination. Seeing Tokido unhinge that 15th lock before bowing out to allow RZR|Infiltration to claim the trophy certainly added some welcomed reality TV-esque theatrics.

Not only did Red Bull Kumite go above and beyond to ensure viewers were entertained, but it was also run very efficiently. Virtually never were there times where there wasn't something going on to ensure people didn't change the channel.

When everything was said and done, this was truly a spectator's event, and it was clear that most every decision was made with audiences in mind. Should this become more of a regular practice at FGC events, we could only expect viewership and interest to grow.

It would be wildly unfair to compare the 16-man invitational to one of the 500+ participant, multi-game major events like those on the Capcom Pro Tour, and it would be foolish to expect every fighting game production to simply imitate Red Bull Kumite.

We have indeed seen growth in production value and audience acknowledgement from many of our yearly majors though, and that stands as further encouragement for the scene. The take away here is that we're beginning to see FGC events with more and more professional appearance and execution.

It's exciting to see our scene progress to these new heights, and we're very happy to have Red Bull give us the opportunity to share the excitement of fighting games on such a prestigious stage.

Source: Red Bull eSports.
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