Evo is the biggest, most exciting fighting game tournament in the world. We just got back from exhibiting Fantasy Strike there.
At normal trade shows, the hours are something like 10am to 6pm. Not at Evo! 9am to 11pm. We exhibited for over 28 hours. We had 4 stations, meaning 8 players at a time, and they were all full, usually with lines to play, for the entire duration of the event. We got so much love. People brought friends over and came back. We had players from many different fighting games (SF5, Smash, Guilty Gear, etc) all playing together, which was kind of magical to see. The two most common comments we got were both positives. Something of the form "wow, I didn't realize this game looked this good" and "after playing it, there's a lot more to this than I expected." We couldn't have hoped for more!
We held a tournament for the game on the second day of exhibition, after lots of players had had time to train up. Remember, it only takes a few minutes to learn all the moves and be able to do the basic combos, so most of their training was in matchup knowledge and being able to play "for real." We capped it at 32 entrants, but reached the signup cap very quickly. So many players felt left out that we held a second tournament later on, and it also had 32 players!
The winner of the first tournament was Final Abe, using Setsuki. He's a fan of several other fighting games, especially Tekken. The grand finals of our second tournament featured Snake Eyez vs Lord Knight. Snake Eyez, a Street Fighter player, is one of the best Zangief players in the world. Sirlin gave him a brief lesson on Rook (5 or 10 minutes at most), then played each character in the game against him once to show him what to expect. Snake Eyez immediately understood it all and reached the grand finals, but he ultimately lost to Lord Knight's Valerie. Lord Knight is one of the best "anime fighter" players in the US, and he plays Millia in Guilty Gear. He immediately took to Valerie, who even has a rainbow disc super that is reminiscent of Millia. It was an exciting Street Fighter vs Guilty Gear player showdown!
After the tournaments, the two winners agreed to face off in a first-to-four-wins exhibition. Lord Knight won a decisive 4-0 set against Final Abe, each sticking with their characters of choice (Valerie vs Setsuki). Afterwards, Lord Knight asked to face Sirlin in another exhibition. Sirlin agreed and then played every character, sometimes multiple times, against Lord Knight's Valerie. Sirlin won at least 12-0, maybe even more. We wonder: what if someone like Tokido (winner of the exciting Evo 2017 SF5 tournament) had then faced Sirlin? Would Tokido have then won 10-0 or something, continuing this progression? [Editor's note from Sirlin: challenge accepted!] It was interesting to watch the skill progression on display in this series of blowouts.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Fantasy Strike booth to check the game out. Shoutouts to Filipino Champ, Snake Eyez, Final Abe, Lord Knight, LPN, Solacracy, and everyone else who joined us. Special thanks to Tom Cannon for founding Evo, too. :)
And if you're interested in what the players at Evo had to say, check out this video: