The long-awaited Evo Japan lineup has finally been revealed.
Evo 2017 organizers announced on Sunday that Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, and Guilty Gear Xrd -REV2- will highlight a seven-game lineup for the inaugural Evo Japan. The event will take place January 26-28 in Tokyo.
King of Fighters XIV, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Arms round out the rest of the Evo Japan lineup.
The lineup certainly reflects the event’s location. The BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series have been very popular in Japan, as evidenced by Japanese players sweeping the top eight positions in both games at Evo this past weekend. Melee is the most popular Smash game in the U.S. but the Japanese community favors Smash Wii U. And while the balance of power has begun to shift over the past year, Japan has long been heralded as Street Fighter‘s most powerful nation.
Not only does Japan have a strong presence in King of Fighters, but is also relatively close to China—the nation almost universally believed to be the world’s best in the game. Strong Chinese players may find a trip to Tokyo far more feasible than a flight to Las Vegas. The same can be said of Tekken hotbed South Korea.
Street Fighter V‘s inclusion wasn’t quite the slam dunk that it is for the American version of the event. Licensing issues were cited as a reason why the game did not make the lineup of Evo Japan’s preview event, Sai.
As for the event itself, it has been a long time coming. A Japanese Evo event was originally announced in 2010 and was scheduled for May 2011, but the deadly Tohoku earthquakes in March of 2011 forced the event’s indefinite postponement. Evo Japan remained in a state of flux until Evo 2016, when a date was finally announced for the event.