From snubbed, to the main lineup, to back out once again, Mortal Kombat 11 will no longer be at Evo Online 2020. Developer NetherRealm announced that it would be pulling the bloody fighting game from the lineup out of “solidarity with those who have spoken out against abuse.” Capcom also announced it would be taking Street Fighter 5 from the roster as well for the same reason right before Mane6 also pulled Them’s Fighting Herds and Bandai Namco to call its few titles. This has caused the Evo organizers to cancel the entire event.
This comes after multiple abuse allegations in the fighting game community. While the Smash and Skullgirls communities have been sharing their own stories, these withdrawals come right on the heels of misconduct allegations surrounding Joey “Mr. Wiz” Cuellar, the co-founder of the popular annual fighting game tournament, Evo. And even though Evo said it was putting Cuellar on administrative leave, NetherRealm, Mane6, Capcom, and Bandai Namco have all decided to pull their respective games. Evo then gave a statement to IGN saying it had canceled the entire event and will work to make a “better model for [a] stronger, safer culture.”
Some participants had also vowed to not enter in wake of the news. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, known for their multiple titles in the Injustice and Mortal Kombat games and Dragon Ball FighterZ, said they were not going. BlazBlue player Jachin “SKD” Harte, Dragon Ball FighterZ competitors Dawn “Yohosie” Hosie and Steve “Lord Knight” Barthelemy, and commentators Ultra David and Stephen “Sajam” Lyon were among the few that said they also would not be participating. Fighting game YouTuber Maximilian Dood also said he was not going to (virtually) attend.
The cancellations had caused withdrawals at almost every level, forcing Evo’s hand. From a normal tournament to a strictly online one to not having one at all, Evo 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster.