Nintendo’s Pokken Tournament DX invitational tournament at E3 this afternoon served as a way to signpost the game’s upcoming re-release on the Nintendo Switch. But instead of featuring a roster of Pokken pros, the E3 competition featured several popular YouTubers, as well as top fighting game players who specialize in other games. Allister Singh, the only pro Pokken Tournament player in the event, ended up carrying his team to victory.
In the months ahead of the announcement that Pokken would come to the Switch, the Pokken competitive scene in North America has struggled due to a lack of updates to the game. What’s more, Pokken got outbid and won’t be featured at Evo 2017. The upcoming Switch port of the game could galvanize the Pokken scene’s competitive spirit, but Nintendo’s E3 invitational had a much more fun, casual vibe than their Splatoon 2 invitational yesterday.
The tournament was made up of four two-person teams; the commentators framed the roster of challengers as being made up of “YouTube personalities and Twitch streamers.” That’s not inaccurate, but it’s also worth noting that every two-person team included at least one top-level fighting game player.
In addition to Pokken pro Allister Singh, the other three fighting game players in the mix were Street Fighter veteran Justin Wong and Super Smash players Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada and Ken Hoang. All four of these fighting game players are quite familiar with Pokken—Justin Wong has played the game competitively in other invitationals in the past—but it came as no surprise to see Allister Singh win the day.
Of course, these were two-person teams, so in a way, YouTuber Matthew “MatPat” Patrick also won the tournament. Except MatPat got to play against other gaming e-celebs while his teammate Allister Singh faced off against the fighting game pros. Allister’s matches made for more exciting viewing, whereas the matches between e-celebs got framed as more of a novelty sideshow as opposed to a serious competition. (For example, MatPat’s first match was against his wife and YouTube co-host, Stephanie Patrick. Neither spouse seemed to be taking that match too seriously.)
At the end of the tournament, Nintendo brought out a surprise team of challengers: Pokken Tournament’s director, Haruki Suzaki, and the game’s producer, Masaaki Hoshino. Suzaki handily defeated MatPat, and the first round of their match makes for amusing viewing because MatPat almost wins. The commentators speculate that Suzaki was merely toying with him:
The best match got saved for last, with Allister Singh facing off against the game’s producer Masaaki Hoshino. Hoshino is also a longtime developer for the Soulcalibur fighting game series, so it’s understandable that Allister seems a bit star-struck about playing against him, as the commentators note. In spite of that, Allister managed to perform well against Hoshino, who ultimately beat the young Pokken pro: