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2018 will be the first year in EVO history where Capcom only has one game on the main lineup - Let's look at EVO history and its potential future

Although we're far from the days where Capcom had five different games on the main stage, this is the first time they're down to just one

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • February 14, 2018 at 11:01 a.m. PST • Comments: 152

Ever since the EVO 2018 lineup was revealed last week, there's been a lot of talk about the games present and the games that aren't present.

Don't worry, this isn't another "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite isn't at EVO" article, but the fact that it isn't actually made me think of something that I don't think a lot of people realize, namely that this will be the first EVO where Capcom have only one title on the main stage.

I've done a full compilation of what titles were featured at each EVO event that's been hosted, which you can find further down, and it's interesting to see that for quite a few years, this was an all-Capcom event, which is far from the truth today.

This must of course be partly attributed to two facts in conjunction - the first being that fighting games have really taken off on the grand stage as eSports has grown as an industry, and the genre itself is much bigger today than it was back in the day.

The other fact is that Capcom simply do not make as many fighting games anymore, so it would be difficult to stack the entire event with Capcom games even if the organizers had actually wanted to.

Whatever the case, continue below for a full listing of the featured games at EVO throughout the years, and then let's delve further in what this could mean for the future.

EVO tournament game list by year


1996

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Street Fighter Alpha 2

2000

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Street Fighter Alpha 2
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2

2001

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Capcom vs. SNK

2002

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Capcom vs. SNK 2

2003

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Capcom vs. SNK 2

Non-Capcom Games
- Tekken 4
- Tekken Tag Tournament
- Soul Calibur 2
- Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution
- Guilty Gear XX

2004

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Capcom vs. SNK 2

Non-Capcom Games
- Soul Calibur 2
- Guilty Gear XX
- Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution
- Tekken 4
- Tekken Tag Tournament

2005

Capcom Games
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike

Non-Capcom Games
- Tekken Tag Tournament
- Guilty Gear XX Reload
- Tekken 5

2006

Capcom Games
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Hyper Street Fighter 2
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike

Non-Capcom Games
- Dead or Alive 4
- Guilty Gear XX Slash
- Tekken 5

2007

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Non-Capcom Games
- Virtua Fighter 5
- Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core
- Super Smash Bros. Melee

2008

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo

Non-Capcom Games
- Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl

2009

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 4
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike

Non-Capcom Games
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
- Soul Calibur 4

2010

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 4
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Non-Capcom Games
- Tekken 6
- Melty Blood: Actress Again

2011

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Non-Capcom Games
- Mortal Kombat
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2
- Tekken 6

2012

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition v2012
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Street Fighter X Tekken

Non-Capcom Games
- Mortal Kombat
- King of Fighters 13
- Soul Calibur 5

2013

Capcom Games
- Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition v2012
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Street Fighter X Tekken v2013

Non-Capcom Games
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- King of Fighters 13
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2
- Mortal Kombat
- Persona 4 Arena

2014

Capcom Games
- Ultra Street Fighter 4
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Non-Capcom Games
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Killer Instinct
- BlazBlue: Chronophantasma
- King of Fighters 13
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2

2015

Capcom Games
- Ultra Street Fighter 4
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Non-Capcom Games
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Mortal Kombat X
- Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN
- Killer Instinct
- Tekken 7
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Persona 4: Arena Ultimax

2016

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 5
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Non-Capcom Games
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator
- Mortal Kombat XL
- Killer Instinct
- Pokkén Tournament
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

2017

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 5
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Non-Capcom Games
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Tekken 7
- BlazBlue: Central Fiction
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Injustice 2
- Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
- King of Fighters 14

Stated 2018 Lineup

Capcom Games
- Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition

Non-Capcom Games
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Tekken 7
- Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Injustice 2
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

Clearly, Capcom games have been a big deal for EVO throughout its history. One thing I'd like to point out is the sheer longevity of the games, even today with the short attention span that comes with the internet and social media, the Street Fighter 4 series and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 each lasted 7 consecutive years, and both would have probably kept going if not for their sequels being released.

Even more impressive is Marvel vs. Capcom 2, with the record-breaking 11-year streak at EVO that finally ended, much like for the previously mentioned games, when its sequel finally showed up.

One thing we can tell pretty clearly is that EVO as an event became a beast at a new level in 2013, and most years since then have seen 9 games take the main stage, and thousands of entrants show up for some of the titles present.

With the massive growth of fighting games, it is a bit disheartening to see Capcom not embracing the genre as much as they used to - in fact, the very genre that made them the company to beat in arcades around the world throughout the '90s.

It's not hard to see why, though, with ballooning development budgets for games in general, and Capcom themselves having a hard time adapting some of their franchises to the ever-evolving landscape of modern gaming.

That said, the gigantic success of Monster Hunter World will only bring more good news for the company, and while it's not fighting game related in the slightest, good news for Capcom generally tends to lead to good news for Capcom fans, so hopefully we can see the return of some old and beloved fighting game franchises down the road.

But that's the thing. Even though Capcom aren't the fighting game giants they once were, filling arcades with everything from Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 to Darkstalkers and Rival Schools, fighting games, and EVO by extension, are thriving more than ever.

That's not to say that Capcom weren't driving the blooming success of fighting games with Street Fighter 4 reigniting the genre, or that they're not still pushing records with Street Fighter 5, rocky launch and all, by getting a ridiculous 5000 players to sign up for its first EVO back in 2016.

But regardless of how big successes Capcom can achieve with a single game, or a single franchise, to people who have been in fighting games since the '90s, it's a far cry from what we used to see from the company, and it's pretty clearly evident when looking at this EVO listing, which never even included some of their greatest fighting game franchises like Darkstalkers, either.

As it stands right now, though, the holes that Capcom aren't filling with franchises like Darkstalkers, Rival Schools and Star Gladiator are being filled up quite well by other developers. The spread of gameplay styles and aesthetics for EVO's game lineup has gotten better and better each year, and it's nice to see such a healthy mix of passionate developers sharing the stage.


Hard to argue against the variety, there.

Really, the only drawback I can see with EVO 2018 is that we're back down to 8 games after having 9 for 3 years in a row, if this is in fact the absolute final lineup, though I have a personal theory that Soul Calibur 6 just might be out in time to make a surprise addition to the roster, but that's a story for another time.

In the end, it's impossible to ignore the impact Capcom have had on the fighting game genre, from basically creating it back with Street Fighter 2, having legends like CYG|Daigo build a full life and career mainly off of their games with his own books, manga comics based on his life and all.

But the clear message we're seeing both from Capcom themselves and from big events like EVO is that while Capcom will always be welcome, and we'll always be hoping to see them put out their best work for us, they're not indispensable either.

The holes that Capcom might leave by pursuing other interests, and indeed have left in the past, can and will be filled by others if the audience is still interested in continuing the fight.

Right now, it's hard to envision a scenario where fighting games die off, with successes being hit left and right, especially in the competitive scene, and it really is an amazing time to be a fighting game enthusiast.

With all this said, while I have in this piece argued that Capcom are no longer essential for the genre to survive, I still believe that without them, it will be much harder to thrive.

Very much of what's bringing excitement in fighting games today, such as pro circuits and developer-sponsored tournaments, was indeed trailblazed by Capcom for the last few years. While we're not seeing the same level of title output from them, developers are following suit with what they're doing outside of the game, because they can see the growth it leads to.

Capcom's shift in focus has been an amazing thing for the FGC as a whole, but for old school Capcom fans hoping to see the return of some non-Street Fighter or Marvel vs. Capcom action, it's somewhat bittersweet.

My hope is that, now that Capcom have established a working business model that is sustainable, and pushed fighting games into new heights within the eSports arena, that they can hopefully step back, take a breather, and perhaps try to bring renewed interest to their old fighting game IPs.

I'm sure everyone remembers the Darkstalkers Are Not Dead video we were treated to way back in 2012, and while Capcom haven't become convinced that there's enough interest to make a new title, it's something Street Fighter series producer Yoshinori Ono often talks about as a passion project.


It's been 6 years, and they still seem to be buried.

Street Fighter 4 was much the same way, back in the day, Capcom had grown apart from fighting games until Ono managed to convince them to give it a shot, and it turned into a runaway success. So much so that Capcom are heavily committed to making Street Fighter 5 work even after it's turbulent launch and issues, which they're working hard on rectifying with the new Arcade Edition release.

Bringing it back to looking at the EVO lineup and Capcom's reduction to a single title, it tells a story of Capcom not necessarily being the kings of fighting games anymore. The harsh reality of how many capable rivals they have around them could either bring them despair or extreme motivation to get back on top.

While the FGC may not need Capcom to survive anymore, it might be the case that Capcom need the FGC to bring that spark of life back to their forgotten titles.

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