It’s been nearly a year since the massive, yearly EVO esports event was canceled for 2020. EVO faced some major troubles from two sides in 2020: first being the issue of dealing with COVID, and the second a major scandal. The future of the event was in jeopardy. However, today, EVO announced its return, and it’s under new management. Sony and esports group RTS have acquired the event, bringing it back this August with EVO Online.
The show was scheduled for EVO Online late last year. However, in July it was rocked by sexual misconduct allegations involving its then-CEO Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cueller. After multiple fighting game publishers pulled themselves from the event, including Capcom and NetherRealm Studios, EVO Online was canceled. Following an investigation, Mueller was removed and replaced as CEO by Tom Cannon.
In a message on Twitter, EVO co-founders Tom and Tony Cannon didn’t shy away from what occurred last year. Their statement outlines a commitment against “harassment or abuse of any kind.” Further, they explain that EVO is “taking every precaution to make sure members of our community will always be treated with the respect, dignity and decency you deserve.”
— EVO (@EVO) March 18, 2021
What about Smash?
With Sony taking the reigns of EVO, it begs an important question. What about Nintendo and the fate of Super Smash Bros. at the event? In most esports fighting events, the PlayStation 4 has been the console of choice. And it will no doubt continue to be that way with Sony at the helm. However, Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo-branded consoles had its place, even if it was sometimes iffy on how much longer that would be. EVO Business Developer Mark Julio wrote on Twitter that the show is “still open to all platforms. The teams at PlayStation and RTS are enabling us to continue working with our community to support fighting games.”
As for Smash being in EVO Online 2021, the answer is a solid maybe. In a statement made to IGN, a Nintendo representative said the company will “assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity.”
Things still feel a bit shaky at the moment regarding this year’s EVO. Currently, the plan is to have EVO Online take place over two weekends in August, from the 6 – 7 and 13 – 15. Entry into the event will be free and open to players in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Bandai Namco, NetherRealm Studios, and Arc System Works will take part.