I learned there’s a thing called the Road to EVO 2013, where a bunch of lesser tournaments will submit their finalists to the main event of EVO. It reminded me of the Road to Wrestlemania, the only period of WWE programming (between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania) that matters in their internal continuity. As part of my desire for the fighting game community to be more like a wrestling promotion, I then came up with a Royal Rumble-style video game tournament format that may or may not end up a disaster.
An even number of participants are gathered and randomly assigned numbers.
All players choose their characters and setups before the event starts and may not change them between matches. (Update: This stipulation is optional just because some people think that enforced matches are less fun than counter-picking.) Two pairs of players, numbered 1 through 4, are made to start the Rumble by playing their matches simultaneously. Like the Royal Rumble, competitors come out after a regular period. What happens at that time depends on whether any matches have finished by then:
- If a match ends before the countdown ends, the winner sits around until another player is available. It won’t be very long if the period is set to a good time. This can be a new entrant or the winner of another match also waiting for their next opponent.
- After the countdown, one player enters if someone is waiting for an opponent. Those two players start their match.
- If all current players are still in matches when the countdown ends, the next two players in line enter and start a match.
- If only one player is left in line, he enters immediately when an opponent is available, and not before.
- Players would be encouraged to stall or rush to get opponents they want, but the random factor will limit this strategy somewhat.
The biggest disadvantage of this format is that there could potentially up to a dozen matches that people will all have to watch at once. It will be basically impossible to cover in a stream and probably not much more fun to watch in person, but I would think the drama of waiting for fan favorite players to come out and sweep everyone would still be present. At the very least, I would like for the top players in a tournament to cut 30-second promos that tell why they are the best and should be feared.