Newtypes, prepare yourselves!
Fans of the Gundam Versus series will have special incentive to go to Evolution 2017 in July, as this year will feature a special Bandai Namco US-sanctioned side tournament. Bandai Namco has announced a partnership with AnimEVO to bring the Western audience our own Gundam Versus event, that may potentially include its own floor space, event-specific offline setups, prizes for winners, and stream. Confirmed details to come.
— Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS) June 28, 2017
While most commonly recognized for his large-scale involvement with fighting games such as Guilty Gear and Under Night In-Birth, AnimEVO staff and NorCal tournament organizer Brett Young is also responsible for spearheading the growth of the competitive Gundam Vs. scene. He leads the team that has been running the annual side-tournament at Evo since 2012, as well as providing resources for the game through streaming and tutorials. To help folks better understand the significance of this partnership, Brett shared some of his thoughts on these developments:
The Gundam Versus series is a long-running series originating in Japanese arcades. It is ranked as one of the most popular arcade franchises in Japan as a whole, and not simply due to having a large fanbase, but also due to being an extremely well-made competitive game, which originally used an engine developed by old Capcom. To put it in perspective, the monthly tournaments held at Shinjuku Sportsland for Gundam — which can be viewed similar to something like Mikado for the Guilty Gear scene — often find themselves with over 500 players attending on that day.
Despite such success, lack of Western console ports and online functionality meant this otherwise solid multiplayer genre did not really take hold in the West. The advent of the Japanese PS3 console port in 2011, which included solid online multiplayer functionality, marked a new beginning for the game.
While still extremely niche, the next gen online port sparked the birth of a more competitive-oriented scene which also brought in many players from the fighting game genre, due to a lot of overlap in mechanics.
From 2012 onward, the US community continued to push the game forward from a competitive aspect, running tournaments at various events, the largest of which being Evo, and giving the game exposure through content creation. However, similar to the era of Arc System Works games of the past, Japanese Arcade versions always moved at least one, or sometimes even two versions ahead of the console ports, all the while continuing to remain Japanese-only. And while the western community for ASW games have always maintained a decent relationship with Aksys for support (at least starting in 2009), the Gundam community has never had an avenue to create similar relationships.
As such, both the release of the English port of Gundam Versus, as well as Bandai Namco’s involvement in Western community events, mark the largest step of progress the community has ever made. We’re very excited to have gotten to the point we are at now, and really looking forward to giving the game the exposure it deserves. Their support for Evo signifies more than just sanctioning an event — it is the clearest indication of their willingness to cooperate with the Western community.
I’m working closely with Bandai Namco Entertainment America to ensure that Gundam Versus kicks off to an excellent start with Evo 2017. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I definitely have big plans for the rest of 2017. If you’re a tournament/event organizer interested in Gundam Versus, definitely contact me!
Evo 2017 registration ends this Friday, so don’t forget to register now for the main event, and head to AnimEVO‘s own smash.gg registration page to check out AnimEVO’s full lineup. See you at Evolution 2017!
Source: Bandai Namco US (Twitter)