2017 & BEYOND ...

Following the astonishing announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the Marvel 3 competitive scene experienced a swift resurgence. Well-attended tournaments and bitter grudge matches put on full display the renewed vigor and ambition of devoted Marvel players. When it came time to announce the titles in the EVO 2017 lineup, many assumed that Marvel 3's long history of hype and forthcoming sequel all but guaranteed one final appearance. After eight other games were given their well-deserved inclusion, it was revealed that the ninth and final game at EVO 2017 would be decided by a competitive donation drive. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is currently one of nine different games all vying for the final spot at EVO 2017. To those familiar with the Evolution Championship Series' long and prestigious history, this decision appeared to conflict with some of the organization's fundamental traditions and philosophies. Before EVO was even called EVO, this annual tournament always served as the de facto world championship for two key fighting game franchises: Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom. For 17 consecutive years, the best Marvel vs. Capcom player in the world was determined solely by the outcome of a single competitive event, aptly named Evolution. While newer titles like The King of Fighters 14, Tekken 7 and Killer Instinct have their own dedicated championship leagues funded and promoted by their developers, all that Marvel has (and has ever had) is EVO. Without it, the Marvel 3 community would be deprived of their final world championship before the arrival of Marvel Infinite later this year.

Historical legacies aside, the EVO organization has always done an admirable job of featuring every type of competitive fighting game at their event, irrespective of individual titles. These include traditional 2D fighting games like Street Fighter, 3D fighting games like Tekken, anime fighting games like Guilty Gear, and (recently) platform fighting games like Super Smash Bros. However, for the first year since its inception, EVO won't have any kind of tag team fighting game if Marvel is excluded from the lineup. That's because Marvel vs. Capcom 3 isn't just a particular fighting game title, it's also the only active community of an entire sub-genre of fighting games. There are people who rather dislike Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and have from the very beginning, yet they continue to play the game and even enjoy themselves on occasion for the simple fact that Marvel 3 offers something unique compared to every other current fighting game. Whether it's team-based synergies, intricate combo systems, or the skill and risk involved in calling and punishing assists, there's always something in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that you can't find anywhere else. It would be a shame if this broader community that is often overshadowed by the preeminence of Marvel vs. Capcom couldn't be served at EVO because Marvel 3 isn't new or shiny enough to compete with other, more lucrative fighting games.

I urge everyone who took the time to read this lengthy tale to spread the word and donate what you can to help Marvel vs. Capcom 3 return to EVO 2017.

Though this story is unfinished, I've released it now, warts and all, because it's the best that I can do for a community that deserves much better.