Evo, the short name for the prestigious Evolution Championship Series fighting game tournament, will be an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Evo was just one of many events that had to do something differently due to COVID-19, and although the upcoming Evo will once again be in a convention center, says general manager Rick Thiher The edge that things are just different now.
“The market isn’t the same as it was when we took a break from COVID,” Thiher said. “With COVID not really fully gone at this point, this hiatus has created new concerns and new needs and has really restructured expectations for both the workforce and organizers of endemic tournaments that we are working with to bring Evo together .”
According to Thiher, there are many challenges to overcome for this year’s event. Potential attendees haven’t been going to events regularly because of the pandemic, so they may not be planning for them. The cost of holding an event has increased. And a lot of the people who help put the show together have moved on to things like other jobs and started families or just stopped helping out at Evo every year.
For players, it’s about ensuring the Evo experience lives up to nostalgia and expectations. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that Evo delivers everything that was important and popular in 2018 and 2019 and twists in all the necessary ways to make sure both that nostalgia and that anticipation of the future actually land,” she said . That means focusing on some of the smaller details, like adding lounges for attendees and hosting community tournaments for games that might not be in the event’s core lineup.
“I think all these small, tangible opportunities to discover and renew fandom is one reason people go to a convention. When you participate in something you love, part of what you do there is to affirm that love. We’re just really trying to get to the bottom of it.”
It’s been a turbulent few years for Evo. An online-only event was planned for 2020, but was canceled after allegations of sexual assault were leveled against Evo’s co-founder and president. In 2021, the event was acquired by Sony and RTS, an Endeavor company, as part of what the groups dubbed a “joint venture esports partnership” and an online-only event was held over two weekends in August .
Despite the new company ownership, Thiher strives to make an event that still feels like something that represents what the fighting game community wants. “I sit in a room and say yes and no and consider myself an active member of the community that we are building the show for. If I can’t leave this room feeling like we’re building a show that I want to go to or be a part of, I know we’ve missed the mark and I don’t want to be a part of it.”
Evo will be held August 5-7 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch everything that will be presented at the show on the Evo website, and just this week the organizers of the event announced a special treat for the participants: they will have the opportunity to play the highly anticipated street fighter 6 at the Capcom and Sony booths.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/16/23220503/evo-2022-event-rick-thiher-interview Evo’s general manager is making an event that he would want to go to