Last weekend, the world’s biggest fighting games tournament, Evolution Championship Series—colloquially known as EVO—featured a cavalcade of announcements like rollback netcode coming to a couple fighting games in desperate need of it as well as some sleek character announcement trailers. But what almost didn’t make the event, thanks to some last-minute hold-ups on the part of music streaming service distributors, was the fighting game tourney’s official soundtrack.
The new album Believe: The Music Of EVO 2022 was conceived to be the official soundtrack for EVO 2022. In it, not only does hip-hop artist and project organizer Zaid Tabani deliver a long-awaited update to his 2011 FGC anthem “Evolve,” but mainstay EVO games like Tekken, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Mortal Kombat received original songs as well. Other writers and performers include well-known artists like Tee Lopes, the composer for TMNT: Shredders Revenge, Casey Williams of RWBY fame, and Mega Ran.
All very well, and to hear the contributors tell it, the album came together beautifully. The one thing they didn’t anticipate was a last-minute hold-up from the company they’d picked to release it onto streaming services. That sent Tabani scrambling, and in the end Believe barely squeaked out onto the internet on the last day of the tournament. (Luckily, EVO itself already had all the tracks in hand, so viewers still got to hear them in the livestream during the appropriate parts of each EVO tournament event.)