Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar Discusses the Evo 2014 Lineup

By on February 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm
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By now, I’m sure all of you have seen the official announcement of Evo 2014’s lineup. While it includes a wide variety of games, it’s obviously impossible to please everyone. As such, our very own Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar recently provided some insight into the choices they made, which you’ll find in our short interview below.

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How sure are you that Ultra Street Fighter IV will be ready in time for Evo 2014?

Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar: We are confident that they will get the game out on time. Capcom did the same thing for 2011 when Arcade Edition came out, and it proved to be one of the more memorable tournaments at Evo. Since it was announced that it would be releasing it in time for Evo back in December, they want a good kick start for their new game.

Are you worried that including it so soon after its release won’t give players enough time to practice? Or is the possible shake-up more exciting than anything?

Mr. Wizard: The players today are so fast at adapting, I think it will prove to be more exciting. Ultra will re-energize the Street Fighter series. The system isn’t changing and it’s just being tweaked, so there is new stuff to master, but in reality it all falls in familiar territory. It should prove to be exciting how five new characters and double ultras will play out on the big stage.

Killer Instinct has a rather high barrier to entry due to the price of the new system it’s featured on, among other things. What was the idea behind including it over titles that may have larger userbases?

Mr. Wizard: Killer Instinct has some amazing mechanics behind it. It rewards old school style footsies and mind games. I’m confident as the year moves on, we will see more and more players pick up the game and system. Also, we like to keep the Evo lineup fresh and give new players a chance to shine.

Injustice: Gods Among Us has seen significant changes since it appeared at last year’s Evo. Did that factor into your decision to bring it back?

Mr. Wizard: Yes, to be quite honest, if the latest balance patch didn’t come out and even things out, it would have been tough to have the game at Evo this year. The NRS team did an excellent job at balancing, and a lot of top 8s in tournaments since the patch have had lots of new characters. We definitely look forward to this game at Evo 2014.

King of Fighters XIII will be featured for a third year at Evo 2014. What keeps you folks coming back for more?

Mr. Wizard: King of Fighters is a truly international game. Players fly out from all over to play, and it shows. Some of the most exciting moments over the past few years came from KOF. We look forward to this year’s KOF tournament, and see if returning players can keep their superiority over the new faces.

The anime/air-dash quotient will be filled by Arc System Works’ BlazBlue: Chronophantasma this year. What made you choose the new title over the previously-featured Persona 4 Arena or even Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R?

Mr. Wizard: The anime community just doesn’t like playing old games. Once a new version comes out, they instantly drop the previous version and play the shiny new game. Persona has seemed to taper off with the announcement of a sequel, and with GG Xrd on the way, players are not interested in playing Accent core anymore. BlazBlue was the obvious choice here.

This is only the second time in its history that Evo hasn’t featured a 3D fighter in the official lineup. Any specific reason you bypassed that genre this year?

Mr. Wizard: After Evo 2013, Tekken has tapered off in terms of hype and attendance at various events across the world. With the 20th anniversary of Tekken this year, we might see a new version of the game, and didn’t want to force people to play an outdated version. We look forward to seeing what is in store for the Tekken franchise.

Will we be seeing any campaigns to include additional titles or possibly official side tournaments?

Mr. Wizard: We are always looking for exciting side tournaments or additional titles that come down the pipe after the announcement. Nothing is out of the question for this year, so we will have to wait and see.

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Evo 2014 is scheduled to take place July 11-13 at the LVH Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. More information can be found on its official website.