This is turning into the biggest year ever for Street Fighter.
Red Bull Kumite, a 16-player invitational tournament to be held in Paris, announced its final player invitations France in March. The list features some of the biggest names in the fighting game community.
The field will be truly international, with players hailing from seven countries spread across four continents. And those numbers could grow depending on the results of a last chance qualifier which will determine the final two players who will join the existing list of 14.
That list includes a number of past Evo world champions, including Daigo Umehara, Ai “Fuudo” Kaita, Lee “Infiltration” Seon-woo, Kun “Xian” Ho and Olivier “Luffy” Hay.
Those former champions will face stiff competition. Hay will be joined by fellow countryman Valentin “Valmaster” Petit in defending France’s national honor. Americans Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis and Kevin “Dieminion” Landon will bring their specialized talents with Zangief and Guile respectively.
Other stalwarts in the scene such as Ryan Hart and Kenryo “Mago” Hayashi will also attend, making the field at Red Bull Kumite one of the most stacked of the year.
Results will be difficult to predict given the fast and furious format. The entire tournament will be played out in just one day using a double elimination format. What’s more, each player will be unseeded, so the first round could very well see the most competitive matches of the event.
Red Bull’s support is just another element of the big year to come for fighting games and Street Fighter 4 in particular. Capcom’s worldwide tour will run through November where it climaxes at the $250,000 Capcom Cup, while SXSW will be hosting its own invitational tournament next weekend in collaboration with Good Game Agency.