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Evolution Championship Series 2022

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Evo 2023: The big reveals and announcements

The latest news from MK1, Street Fighter 6, Tekken 8, and more from the Evolution Championship Series

Tekken 7 from Evo 2022
| Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Evo 2023, aka the Evolution Championship Series, brought the best of the best fighting game players to Las Vegas this past weekend for a three-day tournament. This year’s Evo was the biggest yet, with nearly 15,000 registrants competing across the eight games featured in its main competition. More than 7,000 players duked it out in Street Fighter 6 alone.

On top of being the preeminent fighting game tournament, Evo 2023 has also become a major news event. Publishers and developers like Capcom, Bandai Namco, NetherRealm Studios, and Arc System Works dropped new game reveals, character announcements, and release dates at Evo.

Here’s everything announced at Evo 2023.

Mortal Kombat 1: Reptile and more

After much teasing from Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, NetherRealm confirmed that Reptile is headed to the Mortal Kombat 1 roster. He’ll be joined by 3D-era fighters Havik and Ashrah, both of whom have been reimagined for MK1’s reset timeline. A new gameplay trailer revealed more Kameo Fighters in action, including a relatively deep cut from the 3D era: Sareena.

Street Fighter 6: AKI and the Ninja Turtles

Capcom released the first add-on character for Street Fighter 6, Rashid, in July, just ahead of Evo 2023. We already know who’s next: newcomer AKI, who is slated for release sometime this fall. Beyond the mysterious Chinese fighter, Ed from Street Fighter 5 is set to return this winter, with venerable World Warrior Akuma pegged for a spring 2024 release.

On Friday, Capcom gave fans a morsel of news, showing off new costumes for Street Fighter 6 characters Guile, Marisa, Dee Jay, and Juri.

On Sunday, Capcom teased AKI, but did not show any of her gameplay. And in a far more unexpected move, Capcom revealed a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collaboration for Street Fighter 6.

As part of the crossover, players will be able to get TMNT-themed gear, emotes, titles, stamps, and in-game device wallpapers, along with camera frames in Photo Mode. Additionally, they’ll have the option to dress up their custom avatar in Street Fighter 6’s World Tour and Battle Hub as Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Tekken 8: Raven and newcomer Azucena

Bandai Namco has said plenty about Tekken 8, confirming 16 fighters for the game’s roster and recently holding a closed network test. We’re still waiting on a release date for Tekken 8, but the developers officially added two more to the roster on Sunday: Raven, who made his debut in Tekken 5, and newcomer Azucena Milagros Ortiz Castillo, aka “the Peruvian coffee queen.”

Azucena’s fighting style is based on mixed martial arts techniques, according to Tekken 8 director Kohei Ikeda.

“Her signature move is the Libertador, a pose that provokes the opponent,” Ikeda said on the PlayStation Blog. “She shifts into a stance where she can no longer block but instead instinctively detects and dodges her opponent’s high and low attacks. This special stance and her movements allow her to keep opponents from gaining momentum. The Libertador pose becomes even more powerful in Heat state, where Azucena automatically launches a counterattack after dodging an attack, putting more pressure on her opponent.”

Azucena’s reason for entering the King of Iron Fist Tournament? To advertise her family’s coffee. Ikeda explains: “When she K.O.’s her opponent with her Rage Art, a special cinematic scene is shown that looks like a TV commercial advertising her coffee.”

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves re-revealed

The game formerly known as Garou 2 is now called Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, SNK announced at Evo. The King of Fighters developer showed off some in-game visuals, confirming a cel-shaded look for characters Rock Howard and Terry Bogard, and potentially teasing a few others by highlighting various locations. SNK said Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is “furiously in development,” but did not reveal platforms or release timing for its next fighting game.

Guilty Gear Strive adds Johnny

Guilty Gear Strive was the second-biggest game at Evo 2023, with more than 2,400 registered fighters, and Arc System Works isn’t done with the 2021 fighting game yet. Season 3 of Guilty Gear Strive is in the works, a “large-scale update” that promises to usher in “balance changes for the entire cast, new battle mechanics, and new special moves for some of the characters,” according to the company.

Season 3 will also bring new characters to Guilty Gear Strive. That includes Johnny, who will join the roster on Aug. 24.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 adds Plankton

Fair Play Labs and Ludosity’s Super Smash Bros.-inspired 2021 fighting game is getting a sequel: Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2. In a video presentation released at Evo, pro fighting game player and Super Smash Bros. champ Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma walked viewers through Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2’s new mechanics, including the sequel’s new controls and game-changing Slime Meter.

There was another reveal: Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants is coming to Brawl 2, outfitted with a mech suit/his computer wife Karen.

Killer Instinct is back?

Xbox Game Studios and developer Iron Galaxy are revisiting Killer Instinct, the 2013 Xbox One fighting game, for a 10th anniversary update that will include “a balance update, improved matchmaking, and 4K support for Series X|S,” according to an announcement at Evo 2023. That balance update will at the very least address KI fighters like Eagle and Rash, and will arrive sometime this fall, according to Killer Instinct lead combat designer Adam Heart. Killer Instinct is currently available on Windows PC via Steam and on Xbox One and Xbox Series X, with a base free-to-play version available on console.

Project L’s new Champion Yasuo

Project L, Riot Games’ fighting game based on the League of Legends franchise, was playable at Evo 2023. On Friday, Riot revealed a new Champion who will appear on the game’s roster: Yasuo, the Unforgiven. He’s one of four playable characters that was featured in a demo at Evo.

Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes announced

Arc System Works and Melty Blood developer French-Bread revealed their next game at Evo 2023 on Friday: Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes, the follow-up to the frequently updated 2012 original Under Night In-Birth. The 2D “light novel-style action” fighting game is scheduled to be released in 2024 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC. The sequel will include rollback netcode for online play.

Here’s the official synopsis for Under Night In-Birth 2 Sys:Celes:

Players take the role of high school youth and story protagonist Hyde as he encounters the mysterious girl, Linne, prompting his inner EXS powers to suddenly awaken. The two band together in a grueling struggle to defeat the fearsome and so-called strongest user of all, Paradox. However, an enigmatic force known as Kuon the Aeon appears and crushes the two victors, proclaiming his advent of the world’s end. This leads to Linne’s disappearance where Hyde, now determined to save their world from Kuon, ventures alone into the Night…

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