Tom Cannon talks Evo Japan, tournament saturation, and women’s movements in the fighting game community with BornFree

By on August 15, 2018 at 9:00 am
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FGC content creator BornFree sat down with Evo organizer Tom Cannon, where the two discussed the upcoming Evo Japan, tournament saturation, and shared their thoughts on inclusivity in the community. 

Fighting game fans might know Tom Cannon by his rich history in the community — from creating the largest fighting game tournament in the world, to heading their own game development studio, the Cannon brothers are known throughout the scene as major influencers, and have had a considerable hand in building it up to its current state. Notable FGC content creator BornFree sat down with Tom to discuss his work with Evo, his thoughts on tournament saturation, and to pick his brain on how to make the community more accessible to those who wish to be part of the historically vibrant scene.

Here, Tom recollects in the early Street Fighter IV era, Evo had run an all-women’s tournament, where girls who competed in the regular tournament were entered into a separate competition of their own. “It was an experiment to see if we could encourage more women to play,” Tom stated. Legendary Soul Calibur player Kayane ended up taking the tournament, highlighting her achievements and helping cement women’s strength in the scene.

While the tournament saw some success, many criticized the movement, holding that no group should get special treatment for want of inclusiveness. Tom recognized that things have changed since that time, and that Evo exists now as more than just a tournament series: it comes complete with after-parties and exhibition matches, and movements like Combo Queens are helping create a network for women who are always welcome at their event. “It’s hard to be anonymous,” Tom said in regards to women in the scene. “We’re not aiming to change the FGC, just build more pathways to get into it and stay there.”

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Photo Credit: Carlton Beener

Tom likewise spoke on the upcoming Evo Japan, which saw a monetary loss this year due to what he called “jump-starting the event.” While many Americans felt that Evo Japan was a throwback to Evo’s earlier times, the Japanese company the Cannons partnered with chose to skip the growing pains and dive straight into the big time. “I think that represents a strong commitment to build something,” he commented. “I would be surprised if an event like that was profitable at year one.”

You can watch the full interview here, and hear Tom’s thoughts on Beginner’s and Intermediate tournament leagues, tournament over-saturation, bringing Evo to other areas, and more.

Source: BornFree (YouTube)

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