Evo 2019’s ill-advised Tekken joke is sending ripples throughout the gaming world.

In case you somehow missed it, Evo 2019 sent shockwaves rolling throughout the gaming industry with a bad joke. The fighting game tournament organizer falsely insinuated that Solid Snake would be joining Tekken 7 prior to that title’s Grand Finals.

Fans predictably blew up social media with news that the famous Metal Gear protagonist would be joining Tekken. Then, Evo had to publicly announce it had pretended a reveal was coming as a practical joke on Twitter:

Naturally, the news has been taken poorly by many fans, who are upset they were trolled so viciously. While it seems like Evo had only good intentions for the joke, it has since caused a lot of outrage and hurt feelings.

Evo 2019 sent shockwaves rolling throughout the gaming industry with a bad joke.

It’s not just that Evo made a bad joke, though. It’s that the company did so without even contacting those it implicated. Evo admitted Bandai Namco wasn’t consulted during the process, despite the latter’s potential for getting caught in the backlash. There’s also this tweet from David Hayter, the voice behind Solid Snake:

Failing to even mention the idea of the joke to any of the involved parties is a major misstep from Evo. For a company that just experienced one of its most successful weekends ever, it’s lucky it didn’t turn into a disaster.

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Cody's Take

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Evo really dodged a bullet (or an uppercut, if you will) with this one. Some light-hearted trolling has its place, but the biggest fighting event of the year isn’t one of them. Taunting fans with an inclusion they’d obviously love and snatching it away from them isn’t funny—it’s malicious.

Thankfully, Evo has been around long enough that we know it didn’t mean anything bad by the joke. The organization has done a lot of good for the fighting game community, and Evo 2019 was amazing. The Smash Ultimate finals setting a new viewership record is an impressive feat, and each Grand Finals felt notable. Who will forget GO1 breaking down into tears after beating long-time rival SonicFox in Dragon Ball FighterZ?

Thankfully, Evo has been around long enough that we know it didn’t mean anything bad by the joke.

I’m just thankful things didn’t escalate beyond where they already have. David Hayter is upset his voice was used without his permission, and he has every right to be. Bandai Namco and Konami could likewise be furious they were implicated in this false reveal. It’s the type of misunderstanding that could have resulted in serious implications for next year’s Evo.

Luckily, it seems like the type of thing that will blow over well before Evo 2020. As a fan of fighting games, I think it’s better to focus on the stories we loved that came out of this weekend anyways. Evo definitely got an important lesson over this weekend, though: don’t play with the hearts of the FGC.

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Based out of Niagara Falls, Cody is a gaming expert with years of industry experience writing about the latest in news, trends, and criticism. He's known for his honesty, analysis, and sense of humour, and he has a particularly large soft spot for JRPGs. Outside of video games, Cody is passionate about anime, Japanese pro wrestling, trading card games, and tattoos. You can find him tweeting about all of those things and more @cm_GG.