Once again thank you Fuudo for this interview session. Most of the questions are provided by VFDC.com, fans of the Virtua Fighter series!
Hope everyone like this interview. I will do another one when I go to Japan, provided that everyone likes this!
Translation and intervewing was done by Tetra(me). There might be mistakes, typos, translation errors, etc in this interview! Read at your own risk!
Note: Its not a word to word translation. Based on what Fuudo told me, I put it into english.
Tetra: How long have you been playing Virtua Fighter?
Fuudo: I think around 6years ago. I started just when VF4 Evolution was released.
Tetra: Do you like the direction the game has gone so far/do you think each new Virtua Fighter has been better than the last?
Fuudo: Yes, each VF series gets better and better. But I would have prefer 5 to be more different from 4. This is because currently pple who are strong in 4 are also strong in 5. VF4 and VF5 are too similar.
Tetra: Just like Tekken series? They dont change the basic movement, throw system, etc in every iteration.
Fuudo: Yap exactly. I want everyone to have the same starting point, just like VF3 to VF4. Maybe increasing/decreasing number of buttons, stuff or changing the system more.
Tetra: Over the last year or so, do you notice the number of new and younger players playing Virtua Fighter increasing? Or have the names and faces stayed the same.
Fuudo: VF5R seems to have more players recently. Every month there is a 3v3 tournament, around 50 teams will participate in this tournament. Along with spectators there are around 180 pple in the arcade. Alot of players that I never seen before appears in the tournament. Its weird that I dont see them in arcades but they will just magically appear in tournaments. It has been bothering me for a while.
Tetra: What was the last thing you ate?
Tetra: Ok, I didnt ask this. But I ate the same food as him in China. See the pictures
Tetra: Where does he play VF and how long for every day? Did he buy the console version of VF5?
Fuudo: Shinjuku and ikekuburo Sega. If he plays, he play like 20 matches. Around once or twice a week. I dont have any console. My family have a Wii though.
Tetra: Are you good in any Wii games? Maybe we could spar with each other on Wii!
Fuudo: I am really good in the bowling game
Tetra: Are you working with Sega?
Fuudo: I am selected as a Star player. Star player will be asked to do official VF5R events(anywhere in Japan) for Sega. We will receive salary(for the event day), free accomodation and travel expenses. It is like a freelance thing.
Tetra: What is it like to be a VF star player in Japan?
Fuudo: It doesnt really matter to me. Even if I dont get to be a Star player, it wouldnt affect me in any way. Sega is abit complicated. I dont really want to do it for them.
Tetra: Any reasons why?
Fuudo: Star player as a whole now isnt really strong now. Because it is easy to become a star player as long as you win a official Sega tournament you can be one. Even if it is a small tournament. The meaning is lost as there are weak star players now. In the past, only the really strong players such as Fuumin, Koedo, myself and a few others.
Tetra: Is there a lot of pressure to win turnaments, are they friendly towards each other or are there big rivalries?
Fuudo: Everyone is friendly towards each other. We have all been long time friends in Virtua Fighter. For VF tournaments, I dont really have any pressure cos I have confidence that I will win. But in SF4, I am afraid to make risky play because I dont have confidence yet.
Tetra: Is there a reason why you dont customize your Lion?
Fuudo: I like the 1P costume. Recently I got the knitted cap thing.
Tetra: Does gaming ever get in the way of other obligations in your life?
Fuudo: I think its wrong to think this way. If it does get in your way, you should start to quit gaming. Playing game will definately make you lose something, such as time and others. Like you will hang out with your gaming friends more than your college friends. There will always be something lost. Personally, I never think of what is lost in my life.
Tetra: What direction do you feel Virtua Fighter should go to increase it’s popularity globally while keeping it’s essence?
Fuudo: Every version should be released in arcade and game center. Instead of thinking how to keep the popularity of Virtua Fighter, the important thing is to find out how to stop everyone from quitting.
Tetra: Who do you think are the most difficult opponents you’ll have to face?
Fuudo: Tetra becos of he is using Vanessa. Lion is weak against Vanessa. 3k is too strong against Lion. Everyone is stronger than I expected in this tournament though. Korean players are strong too but I had enough casual games to figure them out. I more confident against them because of the characters they are using.
Tetra’s notes: After the tournament, Fuudo told me Shinz’s weakness. Shinz always evade after he hit him with a standing punch. Shinz also always evade in 1 direction. I cant remember whether its up or down though.That’s also the reason why Shinz almost never beat Fuudo at all in casuals. Rikojjang had similar weakness too.
Tetra: Do you have any problems with balance in VF5R?
Fuudo: Nope. Becos I was using the weakest character in VF5. Also, everyone have the same type of basic moves in VF. So more or less it is a even playing ground in my opinion.
Tetra: What do you think of SF4 gameplay as compared to VF5?
Fuudo: SF4 and VF5 requires different mindset to play. It is important to understand and make use of all the set ups for SF4. Also SF4 requires alot of techniques to play effectively. Whereas VF requires alot of yomi and how you can find other player’s bad habits.
Tetra: For example, Itazan doesnt have high level of techniques and execution. He usually input 1 throw break but he excel as a top player for VF5 due to his high level of yomi.
Tetra: Do you have or have you had any issues with the seeding involved in WCG 2009?
Fuudo: I didnt really like having players in the tournament who doesnt know how to play. Its like people who dont even love Virtua Fighter are representing their country in VF5. It isnt about how strong they are.
Tetra: To become a top player such as you, did you go through any special training?
Fuudo: I mainly played on console with KouRyu Lau during VF4 Evolution days. That was when I just started playing the game. I didnt go to arcades at all initially. Kouryu is a player who is very strong at blocking and fuzzy guarding. I couldnt land hits on him at all. After alot alot of games, I started going to arcade. I won everyone easily. I began wondering hmm, did I became stronger? Afterwhich, I went and played with Kouryu again. I still couldnt beat him. I then realized I already became stronger without knowing.
Tetra: When fighting a new opponent you have never faced, what things do you look for to determine how to beat them?
Fuudo: Bad habits. How they react on P/2P hit and guard. Make us of human bad habits. Everyone will have some sort of bad habit.
Tetra’s Notes: Fuudo have a bad habit too. On Vanessa’s 3P counterhit, he will always abare. He says that it is because most people will throw him after 3P counterhit.
Tetra: What advice would give another player who wants to become as strong as you?
Fuudo: Take note of your opponents’ bad habits. Which direction of evade they always evade in, whether they abare alot, whether they ETEG.
Tetra’s Notes: Fuudo said Korean players ETEG most of the time.
Tetra: What do you think is your style of play?
Fuudo: Defense type waiting for opponent to make mistakes. Far range combat.
Tetra’s Notes: Fuudo mentioned that he usually plays far range. For WCG, it didnt seem like he needed to. That’s why he kept playing close range games with all the players in WCG.
Tetra: What made you want to choose Lion in the beginning?
Fuudo: I was using Kage in Bay Area tournaments. Chibita convinced me to use Lion instead for Kakutou Shinseki 2. Somehow on the first try with Lion, I won kakutou shinseiki 2 qualifiers.
Tetra: If you didn’t pick Lion, what other character do you think you would be playing?
Fuudo: Kage. Maybe Leifei cos in VF5 I joined my first otenami haiken tournament qualifiers with lei fei. Lei fei is fun to play. I lost 2 times with Leifei and switch to lion and won the tournament.
Tetra: Who are your secondary characters?
Fuudo: I only play Lion now. During VF4 days, I could play almost all characters. I had alot of high rank cards.
Tetra: What do you feel about playing VF5 for WCG and not VF5R?
Fuudo: Cant help it because there isnt VF5R for consoles. I am really glad that WCG have VF5. Thank you to WCG for having VF5.
Tetra: What stick do you use when you play on consoles?
Fuudo: vF stick and HORI EX pro. Dont have console though.
Tetra: When you evade throw escape guard how many throws do you usually attempt to escape?
Fuudo: On P Counter hit, its impossible to do more than 2 throw breaks on reaction. On certain situations, I will only get hit by P counterhit. I will break more than 2 throws. Its only possible because I am prepared to do it. If my attacks are blocked, 3 throw breaks. If a slow move recovering move is blocked, 4 throw breaks.
Tetra: Do prefer to play Fuzzy Guard/ETEG or Abare more often?
Fuudo: Fuzzy Guard/ETEG
Tetra: What is it that put Lion in S class in VF5R that became a main staple to your Strategic game in VF5R now?
Fuudo: Lion has weak mid attacks for 5. All the players in japan crouch and Lion cant deal any damage to them. Although his lows are strong but everyone will just crouch. VF5R lion’s mid attacks is damn strong. I could land big damage easily with the current Lion. This changed lion. This allows Lion players to use his powerful low attacks more effectively now.
Tetra: How Long does a Loss sits with you especially when its a close match?
Fuudo: Nothing much compared to a huge loss. If its a close match, at least its a good match.
Tetra: What are areas that you think you need to improve upon compared to your peers in VF?
Fuudo: Finding out his own weakness. Realising opponents are exploiting his mistakes and weakness.
Tetra: In your opinion on goh and why does goh not place well in tourneys?
Fuudo: Probably because not many pple use goh? I dont think its true that Goh doesnt place well in tournaments. Game Center Arashi Goh player went to tougeki and 3-0 alot of teams. Although vf4 evo goh is weak.
Tetra: What is goh missing in vf5r that would make him a higher tier?
Fuudo: Goh is strong enough in R. His tsukami is super high damage and strong.
Tetra: Do you know the reason why Minami Akira quit playing Virtua Fighter?
Fuudo: Dont know he is a player from Kyoto. I stay in Tokyo. Maybe he went back to 2D games? He used to be a 2D player.
Tetra: Who do you consider as the strongest player, past and present?
Fuudo: Innochi Akira
Tetra: Who were the best players during the VF4 era?
Fuudo: At the start it was Chibita. Tougeki winner, Inocchi Akira is generally the strongest player in VF4 ever. VF4 FT probably myself. Oo Nuki Aoi is also super strong no one can beat. He used to be really weak and had a winning rate of 30%. But he plays so much games that he ended up becoming one of the strongest player.
Tetra: Who are the three best players during VF5R currently?
Fuudo: Koedo, Joseph strong in casuals. Homestay strong in tournaments. Itoshun one of the strongest player ever in VF5R Hauru Kage used to win alot against Koedo last time but he switched to Akira.
Tetra: What do you think about Koedo?
Fuudo: Koedo is a very strong player. He works hard to get better and understand alot about the game including match ups. Too much pride though.
VF Fuudo Q&A Completed!
Look forward to VF Shinz Q&A next!