What should we expect from one of the biggest fighting esports events of the year?

Evo Japan 2024 is pretty special. The fighting games scene has changed significantly since the previous event and even since Evo 2023. In addition to the usual excitement of fighting esports competition, we have five powerful reasons not to miss tournaments and announcements of Evo Japan in 2024. They are described in this post alongside the schedule and interesting details. 

Reason 1: It’s the first huge Tekken 8 esports event

Tekken 8 was released on January 26, 2024. Three months is quite a term for pro players to dive deep into the new mechanics and prepare for the competition.

Evo Japan 2024 is the first big Tekken 8 tournament in terms of the number of participants and quality of their levels. Sure, the game was playable on quite a few other events, but none of them is even close to the level of Evo Japan.

For the viewers, it’s a chance to witness what top-level competitors are already capable of in the newest Tekken installment: Arslan Ash, ULSAN, JDCR, SAINT, and others. Even if Knee says Tekken 8 is not fun and he has difficulties adapting to it, it will be super interesting to see him actually playing the game. The Tekken 8 tournament is a fighting esports show that should not be missed!

Reason 2: Global leagues start at Evo Japan 2024

For quite a few fighting games, Evo Japan is the traditional start of a new competitive year. It’s great to witness how it all begins and then follow the leagues until their glorious finals.

Evo Japan 2024 is a start for:

  • Guilty Gear Strive League in the Arc World Tour 2024 — this anime fighting game remains one of the most popular in the world, and it has come through some changes since AWT 2023.
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising league in the AWT 2024 — for the first time ever, the Granblue fighting game is in the full schedule of the official world tour by Arc System Works. It came through a reboot a few months ago, and Evo Japan 2024 is a huge tournament for the community.
  • UNI2 (Under Night In-Birth II Sys: Celes) has only two tournaments in AWT 2024, and Evo Japan 2024 is one of them. Evo 2024 is the second. The game is perhaps not as big as the others, but it’s pretty unique in the variety of character archetypes and general fighting mechanics.
  • Tekken 8 — Well, technically, the TEKKEN World Tour 2024 starts at a bunch of small Dojo-level events and its Challenger-level tournaments. But the main action happens at Master events. Evo Japan steps above and beyond even this level. It has the Master+ status.
  • The King of Fighters XV has the first tournament of the SNK World Championship 2025. The developers announced this official league being held at the beginning of 2025, and the winner of KOF XV Evo Japan 2024 will get a direct invite to the Finals event. We can expect a lot of great fights with such motivation for the participants.

Street Fighter 6 falls out of this line, sadly. Capcom Pro Tour 2024 starts sometime in June (probably at CEO 2024).

TEKKEN World Tour 2024 (Image via Bandai Namco Entertainment)
TEKKEN World Tour 2024 (Image via Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Reason 3: The biggest fighting esports celebrities gather there

It’s a pretty rare occasion to see so many great players competing together. Many even big tournaments remain rather regional — U.S. competitors play mainly with each other while events in Europe and Southeast Asia gather people from nearby countries. Participating in Evo Japan is a prestigious move for professionals. And for spectators, it’s a chance to see international fighting esports at its top-most level.

Here are some of the notable participants in the biggest games:

  • Tekken 8: Book, Arslan Ash, Shadow 20z, Super Akouma, Knee, and Ghirlanda.
  • Street Fighter 6: MenaRD, Problem X, Nephew, SMUG, Punk, Justin Wong, UMA, Daigo Umehara, Fuudo, Bonchan, and Tokido.
  • Guilty Gear Strive: TempestNYC, Lord Knight, UMISHO, Jonathan Tene, Daru_I-No, and Leffen.

One more thing to add here is the unique tradition of Japanese fighting games school. Not only do they have their own leagues with many strong competitors, but also, they play… just differently. It’s a chance for the viewers to absorb their tricks — especially in Street Fighter 6.

Reason 4: The most anticipated games are playable at Evo Japan 2024

Great action at Evo Japan 2024 happens even beyond the tournament brackets. Some of the upcoming games will be playable at the event. And even if you cannot attend the playtest personally, hearing feedback from pros is precious.

  • Hunter x Hunter NEN×IMPACT is the first fighting game based on the popular manga and anime series.
  • 2XKO, formally known as Project L, is a League of Legends fighting game, developed by Riot. Illaoi was confirmed as a 2XKO, and he will be playable at Evo 2024 for the first time.
  • Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves gets its first ever playable demo. Five characters will be available at Evo Japan 2024: Rock Howard, Terry Bogard, Hotaru Futaba, Griffon Mask, and Preecha.

It’s definitely super exciting to discover new details on these titles.

Reason 5: New games and DLC characters should be announced

Let’s not beat around the bush. 

  • We need information on Akuma in Street Fighter 6 — at least the release date, but having him playable right on the days of Evo Japan will be even better.
  • We need the next Tekken 8 DLC character revealed — sure, with their gameplay trailer and all the details.
  • Arc System Works is silent after the release of A.B.A. Who’s next in Guilty Gear Strive Season Pass 3? We need to know!

This is the minimum of what we can expect from Evo Japan 2024. And if a brand-new fighting game wants to make its first appearance there? Yes, please!

Main games at Evo Japan 2024 (image via Evo)
Main games at Evo Japan 2024 (image via Evo)

Two Unusual facts about Evo Japan

To add something interesting to the reasons in our article, let’s mention two rather unusual facts.

Mortal Kombat 1 is not playable at Evo Japan, as the whole series is banned in this country. Still, some pro players as SonicFox registered for the Tekken 8 game.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is in the main lineup. Yes, that very game where Evo Moment 37 originally happened. It’s a legacy tradition for Evo events at this point.

Evo Japan 2024 dates and schedule

Evo Japan 2024 happens on April 27-29, 2024, in Osaka, Japan.

There are seven main games at Evo Japan 2024. Here they are in a detailed schedule of Evo Japan 2024

Local Time
Pacific Time (PT)
UNI2 (Under Night In-Birth II Sys:Celes)April 277 PM JST3 AM PT
The King of Fighter XVApril 2810:30 AM JST6:30 PM PT, April 27
Street Fighter III: 3rd StrikeApril 282 PM JST10 PM PT, April 27
Granblue Fantasy Versus: RisingApril 285 PM JST1 AM PT
Guilty Gear StriveApril 2912 PM (noon) JST8 PM PT, April 28
Tekken 8April 293 PM JST11 PM PT, April 28
Street Fighter 6April 296 PM JST2 AM PT

Evo Japan 2024 streams are on the official Evo Twitch channel. Side streams are on Evo2 and Evo3. For all the exciting news from Evo Japan 2024, stay tuned to esports.gg!