Following the Evolution Championship Series in Las Vegas, winners of each stop on the NEO GEO World Tour will go head-to-head to crown the King of Fighters at Esports Festival Hong Kong.
This year’s NEO GEO World Tour featured eleven stops across Europe, Asia, and America. Winners of each stop have received a paid flight to the Tour’s finals in Hong Kong, coming up on August 25th. Taking place during Esports Festival Hong Kong, the finals will feature intense competition from champions in more than one game; titles within the circuit include the series’ most recent installment, The King of Fighters XIV, as well as the classic KOF ‘98.
While Metal Slug Attack and KOF 2002 followed the Tour as side-tournaments, winners of these titles did not qualify for the upcoming Finals. Tournament organizer Dixonwu stated that, while these tournaments are not part of the World Tour’s end-game, titles like Metal Slug Attack serve an important purpose in introducing newer players to the company’s classic games. “There is a worldwide scoreboard throughout the season,” Dixonwu stated. “Xavier, from the Monaco stop, held the high score record for the longest time, until a few stops later ET finally broke his record in the Taiwan stop. Then, a hardcore NEO GEO fan, Terry, broke ET’s record in the Malaysia stop. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and the game is always a crowd-pleaser at our events. Even people who have never played it will jump in and try. Getting new gamers involved in classic NEO GEO games is exactly what we are doing.”
The Finals is stacked with The King of Fighters’ top talent, featuring competitors like Qanba|Xiaohai, SANWA|M’, and JoJo. Although these fighters have not won a stop on the current Tour, they were selected by organizers as special competitors due to their past achievements. “There were important regions like Japan and China that we weren’t able to include in the first Tour due to scheduling, which we will include in the next Tour,” Dixonwu said. “Therefore, we took the advice of the SNK headquarters and local fighting game communities to choose representatives from these regions based on past tournaments they won, [their] achievements, etc.” The Tour’s latest champion will be in attendance, as well: ET won the most recent stop at this year’s Evolution Championship Series, and will be joining his opponents in Hong Kong later this month.
Another stop is quickly approaching, as well: taking place in Costa Rica, Furica Tica will give Central American players a chance to prove their strength and claim a spot in the Tour’s Finals. Although not listed on the Tour’s website, Dixonwu stated that the Latin American community came together to make the event a special, last-minute stop in the circuit. “The Latin American fighting game community came together to sponsor the winner of the Furia Tica event to come compete in the global finals, representing [their region],” he explained. “Our team is moved by their actions. Furia Tica of Costa Rica was a surprise stop for everyone. I’m glad we worked so hard with the Latin American community to have a stop there. It took a while, but finally we are able to make that event into a stop of the Tour.”
Fans can catch the Finals on the NEO GEO World Tour’s Twitch stream and Facebook page. Although no broadcast time has been set in stone, the Tour’s organizers have stated that the event will go live during Hong Kong’s daytime hours.
Source: NEO GEO World Tour