Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar Discusses the Evo 2016 Lineup

By on January 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

As many of you have likely heard, event organizer Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar visited the Red Bull eSports studios tonight to announce the entire Evo 2016 lineup. We’ve seen obvious choices and surprising wild cards, but how did the tournament runners come to these decisions?

We recently had the chance to speak to Cuellar about the games they’ve picked for Evo 2016, picking his brain about inclusions, exclusions, logistics, and more. Check it out below.

Street Fighter V is set to make its debut at Evo 2016. What factors prompted the replacement of Ultra Street Fighter IV?

Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar: Street Fighter V is a brand new game and a vast majority of people are playing it. The success of their beta tests confirms this. Street Fighter IV has had an incredible run of seven years, and we hope people continue to play this game, but for this year Evo will be running Street Fighter V only (puts on Guile shades).

Do you think Street Fighter V will have as big an impact on the tournament as Street Fighter IV did in its first appearance?

Mr. Wizard: I think it will be much bigger. There are 30 million PlayStation 4s out there as well as countless PCs. Everyone has access to this game from the getgo this time around, so a lot of people will be fiending on it this year!

You’ve chosen to include both major Smash games again. Why is that?

Mr. Wizard: The Smash community has proven time and time again that they are here to stay, and with the diverse number of crossover players, it was very clear that each game has their own following. It so amazing that a fifteen year old game can get record numbers, and so we decided to bring them both back.

Will Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ever die?

Mr. Wizard: I don’t think it will ever die. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is still being played every so often, so I think it still has many years left. Marvel has provided many incredible moments at Evo, and is still incredible to watch, and our fans still love the game, so it has returned this year. I don’t know if it will get the prime time slot anymore, but it deserves to be in the lineup nonetheless.

What do you expect to see from Mortal Kombat X in its sophomore effort?

Mr. Wizard: With the announcement of Mortal Kombat XL and their revamped efforts on netcode, I think a lot of people will be playing this game again. I also imagine that with this release will come a big balance patch as well. NetherRealm Studios did an excellent job of balancing Mortal Kombat 9 a few years after the game came out, and I will expect nothing less from them this time around. Look forward to seeing this game on the big stage at Evo this year!

ggxrd-millia-tallGuilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- will have only been available in North America for a few weeks by the time Evo 2016 rolls around. In your mind, is keeping up to date more important than familiarity in these situations?

Mr. Wizard: The core mechanics of Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- will remain the same, so we can assure that players will have enough time to check out the new characters and changes and get ready for the big event. Developers keeping the game fresh is exactly what Evo thrives on, and when someone brings new tech to Evo, it is always a crowd pleaser. We were confident that the players would want to use this new version, so we have included it in this year’s lineup.

Killer Instinct has enjoyed an incredible couple of years. What is it about the franchise that keeps Evo interested?

Mr. Wizard: Iron Galaxy Studios willingness to keep the game updated and fresh keeps us interested. Three years after the game came out, they are still updating it. This year we will see new characters, more balancing, and a PC port, which is sure to influence some people to check out their game. Last year’s top eight also had all different characters, so anytime that a game is relatively balanced, fun ensues.

It’s likely that Tekken 7 Fated Retribution will still be exclusive to arcades this summer, meaning cabinets will be necessary instead of consoles. Give us some insight into how that changes things from a logistics standpoint.

Mr. Wizard: With Bandai Namco being a good partner, we are able to bring Tekken 7 Fated Retribution to the fans. This game also has Akuma, which is a huge attempt to steal Street Fighter players to come check out Tekken. As you have heard earlier today, we have ample space this year, so having cabinets there won’t be a problem at all. Also seeing how it worked last year, we are more than confident that we can bring this game to the fans and let them compete in its first global tournament.

Pokkén Tournament is definitely a wild card, as games of its style have never really caught on in the larger fighting game community or been featured at Evo. What did this title in particular catch your eye?

Mr. Wizard: Every so often, we like to take a chance on a game, and Pokémon is such a huge brand, we decided to take a chance on Pokkén Tournament. Having Bandai Namco work on the game works well, as they are familiar with how fighting games work and balancing, so it should be interesting. This game is also on the Wii U instead of a handheld, so players can actually use controllers instead of using a handheld system to play. It will be exciting to see how this plays out.

Any parting words for the fighting game players out there?

Mr. Wizard: We hope you have enjoyed this broadcast, and we have much more exciting news to share in the near future! We hope you will join us in Vegas this year for the hypest event on the planet!

Evo 2016 is scheduled for July 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. More details can be found here.