The list of attending players is a veritable who’s who in Street Fighter. Americans Justin Wong, Ricky Ortiz, Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez and Sanford Kelly will defend their home turf against a strong international contingent that includes Diago Umehara, Yusuke Momochi, and Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang. Ryan Hart, who recently parted ways with Dignitas, will be the lone European player in the competition.
All told, 16 players have been directly invited to participate in the Ultra Street Fighter 4 event. Five countries are represented, though the majority of players are from either the United States or Japan.
The tournament will feature a format very different from the usual double elimination open bracket. The 16 players will be divided into two groups, with a round robin phase playing out over the first two days of competition. The third day will feature a more traditional playoff bracket with the eight remaining players.
At stake? A $20,000 prize pool. The event should serve as a fine preview of the upcoming Capcom Pro Tour, which will hand out $500,000 in cash prizes this year to the best Street Fighter players in the world.
The dramatic influx of money in Street Fighter is unheard of in the fighting game community. We may see the highest level of play ever as players are given the chance to not only make a living at the top of the game, but to live well. The winner of the season-ending Capcom Cup tournament will take home $125,000 from that tournament alone.
Play at the SXSW Gaming Fighters Invitational runs March 13-15.
Screengrab via LordCloudStrife/YouTube