Turtle Rock Studios and 2K are partnering with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) to bring the 4v1 shooter Evolve into the competitive scene. The publisher today revealed the title’s Proving Grounds Tournament, a three-month global affair with more than $100,000 in cash and other prizes on offer.
The Evolve Proving Grounds Tournament is open to North American and European teams of five, four hunters and one monster, all of whom must have an Xbox Live Gold membership (in good standing) and an ESL account. Indeed, the tournament will be played exclusively on Xbox One. Each region (NA and EU) will play home to its own series of brackets and finals. The tournament begins April 26, 2015 and will host four qualifying rounds across four consecutive Sundays on April 26, May 3, May 10, and May 17. The NA semifinals will be held in ESL’s Burbank, California location on May 31, whereas EU semis will take place at ESL’s Cologne, Germany studio on May 24. Finals will be held at Los Angeles the week of June 15, 2015. Both the semis and finals will be broadcast live via the official Twitch channel.
As you may have guessed, the Evolve Proving Grounds Tournament will be a three-bracket tourney. Each of the four weekend qualifiers is open to 128 teams. That’s per region, per day, with each region’s top four at the Qualifying Rounds being sent to the Semifinals. In addition, winning teams from each qualifier will receive $100; second place teams will walk away with $50. Teams can enter more than one qualifier.
After the conclusion of the qualifiers on May 17, the four winning EU and NA teams will head to the semifinals. The top two teams from each regional semi will receive $2,500 and entry into the finals. The third place winner will receive $1,500, with fourth place earning $1,000. Microsoft will also be contributing to the semifinal rewards. Maybe a custom Xbox One?
Finally, the two teams from each region will pile into Lose Angeles for the Evolve Proving Grounds Global Finale. This is where the big money’s at: the tournament winners will walk away $62,500 richer. The second place team will win $20,000, third place $12,500, and fourth place $5,000. In other words, for even making it to the finals, you’re guaranteed $5,000. And the grand winner will earn a minimum of $65,100 overall. It’s certainly no DOTA 2 league, but the Proving Grounds isn’t a bad start for Evolve‘s competitive presence.
If there’s one thing I’m confused on, it’s how the monsters will be handled. Will each team have a designated monster, so to speak, who will be swapped for another team’s? 2K certainly can’t let teammates fight each other. Time is surely a factor in the tournament, and with $65,000 on the line you can bet many a team-controlled monster would suddenly go catatonic. I can see it now: “Oh, my knee! I guess you guys will just have to kill me very quickly and efficiently.”