Right before this weekend’s NSUT XII in Paris we’re publishing an interview with one of the biggest Tekken legends, Ryan ‘Prodigal Son’ Hart! The Kayuza player has answered the questions you submitted before WCG 2010 finals. Click the link below to jump to the interview.
Kazuya + who in TTT2?
Kazuya and Leo or Heihachi
I wanted to main a girl character for once just to be different this time and nobody used Leo so I started her, then I hear that actually it’s a ‘he’ so I’m like “yeah whatever”! lol Anyway, it’s a rare character in Europe so I wanted to be different. Also he/she is a good char in my opinion and very different from Kazuya which is a nice change.
Hi Ryan how was your first tekken experience and what have motivated u to compete as one of the best tekken players in the world for such a long time?
Why you feel so passionate with kazuya :)
My first Tekken experience was me pressing all the buttons whilst wiggling the stick on Tekken 1 and hoping for the best with Paul. I think my verbal description of my first match at the time went something like “…then yeah, this big punch came out and the other guy went on the floor init…”.
Natural enjoyment of the game has elevated me to where I have come to. Tekken 2, Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag definitely mark my most enjoyable periods of the series and it’s the enjoyment I felt why I continued to play and always wanted to be better and better, especially as players around me were also improving.
Did you have a role model who encouraged you to start using kazuya
No, nothing quite so meaningful. haha I simply started using Kazuya on TTT for serious competition as his stamina was more sufficient than Heihachi’s. It began there.
Who will you pick in SF vs T, Kazuya or Ryu??
I will use both I’m sure as they are both my mains, we will have to see what happens from there I suppose. Deep down I think I am slightly leaning towards Kazuya as I feel he will fall short in the popularity department when compared with household name Ryu.
How do you feel about Kazuya’s combo damage compared to other characters? A bit low?
I believe Kazuya can inflict good amounts of damage on his juggles however I feel he is very technically demanding in this area too. For example using two electrics then contiunuing from there into a bound of some sort will almost always score you good damage but I have often seen many Kazuya players miss the second electric (even me myself too). Knee also told me he sometimes doesn’t like going for two electrics, he said in those times he prefers to do EWGF, 3,1,4 start your juggle followed by an ender of your choice.
Also in some cases (distance, angle) db+2 to bound will whiff meaning you lose the combo plus your pressure game afterwards. However there is a solutuion, in these situations you can dash very quickly and land the db+2 but needing to dash makes the combo very tight to land. So again we have good damage but you have to go to the ends of the earth to get it. Meanwhile back at the ranch Lars and Bruce are using juggles which contain moves that move them into the opponent automatically.
In any case, this means extra work for Kazuya that makes it more difficult just to do what should be your regular combo.
Now I move on to low parry, haha. I mean come on, I understand that Kazuya is a technical character from base but why does this combo have to be soooo tricky? Kazuya’s max damage low parry combo (low parry- EWGF,EWGF, b+2,4, EWGF) isn’t something that can be relied on. But anyway I can’t complain as some characters have lower damage parry combos, but considering it isn’t exactly the max damage either then I think it is unnecessarily hard to perform.
How much time (percentage-wise) do you devote to the fighting games you’re currently playing? (last I checked you were playing 3S, SFIV, as well as T6). Out of all the fighting games you’re currently playing, which one’s your favorite?
Well, now without needing to put in training time for 3s things are a lot easier for me now. I only need to concentrate on SSF4 and Tekken 6. However with KOF 2K2 and Naruto UNS2 released on 360 recently I now have two more games to train up on. I’d say I play around 30 hours a week give or take. I most enjoy SSF4 at the moment, my online Tekken life is non existent and the local Tekken scene is too small here to commit everything to it, so SSF4 takes first place.
How do you feel about TTT2 coming out? Will you definetly play it or is are you gonna wait and see how the game is before playing it? Also if you do play TTT2 do you have any idea on how much time you will put into the game since you place many different games?
I will definitely play it but I have no idea how much time I will have to put into it. I do imagine it will be end up being a humungous amount though. :)
Do you wish that Kazuya had his classic Tekken 2 costume with those sneakers? Where does Kazuya excel at gameplay wise?
I do always enjoy character customization, I think they should include all previous costumes as bases and let the players customize from there. For example in Tekken Tag 2 Kazuya should now be able to customize the robot suit plus all others costumes he’s had previously.
As Kazuya does not have the luxury of lengthy, safe or semi abusable strings his game has to be based around his speed (movement), spacing, his mixups and intelligent use of the electric. One factor that helps Kazuya control the opponent is the threat of df+2. At close range this can stop an opponent from sidestepping, pressing buttons or also make them attempt to aim for counter attacks and parries; ultimately keeping the opponent on defence. This is where Kazuya can force head on mixups in his favour.
However Kazuya also suffers in this area too as defending against Kazuya is actually very sensible in many ways as most of his best moves can either be crouched and punished, whiff punished (due to Kazuya’s short range), side step punished or block punished as most of Kazuya’s low and mid attacks carry a minus -10 or more on block, meaning correct defence can offer rewards frequently.
This is where the psychology comes in and the game is made, so I think what makes Kazuya interesting for me is that you simply HAVE to guess correctly with him in order to win. I guess in a way being forced to read the opponent correctly kind of increases pressure for me to perform well and maybe that is fun in a way.
I’ve heard a bit about an up and coming player in the uk called Walter who’s making some waves. Have you seen him play? Have you played against him? What do you think of his play?
Not too sure about this guy? Actually I might have seen something about this guy online, he plays SSF4 right? Yeah well it wasn’t anything special anyway. lol
Mr. Hart, in regards to your just barely edging out Daigo Umehara as having the greatest male hairdo in fighting games, do you feel that it has more to do with…
1) the textural advantages granted to you by London’s muggy climate,
2) the stylish interaction it enjoys with your well-maintained beard, or
3) some other factor? (please specify)
I definitely think the years of passive smoking in arcades will be what eventually grants me the streaks of grey in my afro. My inspiration for hairstyles, has basically been this unique cloud in the sky that I modelled my hair after. This cloud cannot and does not fall short of absolute perfection. On first sight I made it a life long dream to make my hair like that and I’m so overjoyed to finally reach the pinnacle of hairstyle society.
To celebrate me just about edging out Daigo, Vidal Sassoon need to make a new hair care line called rH 5.5. :) Umehara who? lol
1. Hello there Mr. Hart. So do you play any other games besides fighting like shooting games or whatever & If so what are they & why?
2. What kind of music do you listen to?
I used to play lots of games: I have a different list of games for each console, lol PS3 is something like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, GTA IV online, Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, Bioshock, Uncharted, Heavy Rain and others too. I used to be heavily into music games too, but the more hardcore stuff you have out there not the commercial stuff you get now like Rock Band and Guitar Hero etc. Before these games there were much harder music games out there that never really got the time of day in the West sadly.
However on my annual trips to Japan I could often be found in the Konami corner blowing up Beatmania, Drummania, Guitar freaks and Dance Dance Revolution (at least until I realised that I need a change of clothes just to come to the arcade from sweating so much haha. I think that’s when I quit DanRevo). I think a game like Ju Beat would do great over here, it’s new, fresh and original. I don’t know why arcades don’t look into stuff like that.
Anyway, I’m sliding off topic. I do that a lot,lol what can I say I’m a passionate guy. Anyway there are too many games to list for each console and genre. But nowadays I don’t really get too much time for other than fighting games which is a shame as I really enjoy lots of other games too. I hope I can change that at some point.
Regarding music, I like breakbeats, funk, hip hop, nu metal and jazz. I like a lot of music to be honest, it all depends on my mood and location. For example I might go to a bar and hear a nice song, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’d then go out and buy the CD (do people buy CD’s anymore? lol) or download it at home if you know what I mean. So yeah it all depends.
What’s up with the first to 26 bullshit?
I have no idea how that came about now and for your info it wasn’t bullshit at the time. At the time 26 was my number of matches which would define who was better between two players. Not 5, not 10, not even 20 but 26. Yes that’s right. Looking back now however I think 20 or 10 would have been enough but anyway whatever. I think the margin of having to play to 26 is where many players will get exposed, gimmicks will no longer work and only your true strength (if you have it) in the game will shine through. I think in a first to 10 it can still be gimmicky, etc, with not everything exposed. Anyway that is all behind us now, although I might bring it back one last time for fun. First to 26!! lol
ryan whats your main reason for using kazuya as your primary character? how many hours a day do you practice ? can you elaborate on your training and tell exactly what is it?
I kind of covered this one earlier but basically I like Kazuya because quite frankly winning with him is a challenge. I like the devotion and dedication of sticking with him (as he isn’t exactly unplayable on BR) as I have done throughout the terrible times (Tekken 4, Tekken 5). It’s a shame I never got to play Tekken 6 as it was nowhere to be seen in Germany, lol. But now that I am back with BR I want to try and stick with my guns. I know that winning with Lars or Bob will be easier but I guess that’s not why I am playing this game.
Err… practice? What’s that? haha no, to be honest I hardly practice Tekken at the moment, simply just before a tournament I will train with local friends (Dinosaur, Starscream), I use training mode to improve (sharpen) my movement and execution, try to create setups or new mixups, look at holes in characters move lists (i.e delayed hop kick against Steve after blocking b+1 of b+1,2,1 to evade the low and juggle him). If I had more Tekken time I would do more but this is basically all I can put in with SSF4 taking up so much more of my time.
Do you develop a gameplan based on your behaviour of the opponent which you might sacrifice some rounds to obtain in a match or do you try and read your opponent on the spot?In Street Fighter you got very fast (crLK, crMK w/Ryu etc) or long range moves to prod your opponent with especially the fireball to gauge your opponent’s reactions and habits. What can be the equivalent to this in Tekken?
In Street Fighter you got very fast (crLK, crMK w/Ryu etc) or long range moves to prod your opponent with especially the fireball to gauge your opponent’s reactions and habits. What can be the equivalent to this in Tekken?
Oh yeah do you feel it’s a must to master a single character for tournaments for Tekken or you can have a set of characters to ‘back up’ your main depending on the format of the tourney?
I never sanbag or “lose to learn”. I always give it my all, however sometimes I don’t know but I can’t take it seriously at first for some reason but then something clicks when I’m near defeat and then things change. I think that is the fun for me, winning from near defeat.
The equivalent to Ryu’s prodding tools with Kazuya in my opinion are 1 (jab), 11, wr+4, cr+3+4, df+1, df+2, b+2 (if it hits then 4), df3 (if it hits then 2), db+3, db+4. Admittedly every move in Tekken has it’s risk depending on situation however by using these prodding tools I can determine things about my opponent.
Character usage is purely up to the player themselves. In my opinion there is good and bad in both. Having one character means you may suffer a bad matchup or come up against a player who knows your character thoroughly meaning there is less room for error.
However using several characters means your capacity is divided as a player and you are split between character skill levels, so tournament dilemmas can present themselves at any moment and as Tekken is based a lot on psychology these extra factors don’t help.
To have one main only or go in with a main and one or several backups? It is down to each player to look inside and judge themselves as to which is better for them as only they can make that conscious decision. I personally believe it is better to have more than one character in order to have the option for variation in tournaments. Learning more than one character also means you know more about a specific character or characters too and this can only help. These days where some Tekken scenes have next to know exposure against certain characters it is very useful to have a backup even a mediocre one will be deadly if the opponent knows nothing. Now there are 40 characters!!! Damn, soon it’ll be like Pokemon, gotta learn em’all!!! lol
What do you think Kazuya’s top moves are? (Not counting EWGF)
Do you feel the Mishimas should be stronger than they are?
Would you like to see Devil return in TTT2?
Kazuyas best moves are cd4,1 (Aka Sweep Bang), df+2, ff+3, db+4, ff+2, f+3, df+3, b+2, db+2, df+1 and db+3.
Well, I don’t like this Mishimas being overpowered thing, that is just stupid. But yes I think the mishimas all have areas that could be better in. I just want a Tekken with balance to be honest. I know I was spoilt with VF in previous years but I mean come on after so many games can’t they get it right?
I don’t really care if Devil comes back or not as he had nothing interesting to offer Mishimas anyway. He was just a basic version of Kazuya, I see no use for him. If they can actually make him interesting and fun to use then I’d like to see him back again, otherwise no.
How do you manage to train for both tekken and street fighter? Do you spend more time with one or the other? Which do you feel more comfortable playing or enjoy more?
I simply play based on what’s happening – tournament wise – at the time, I definitely spend a lot more time with Street Fighter. I feel more comfortable playing Street Fighter and enjoy it more is some ways to be honest.
What is your fav Tekken and how long did you spend to master TTT Mishima?
My favourite Tekken is Tekken DR, this was the most balanced game for me and it was fun to both play and watch as it allowed players to utilize more elements of the Tekken system. I’ve been using Mishimas since late Tekken 3 days in 1998 when I Iearnt how to electric. I’ve used mishimas on every Tekken since.
Thoughts on the changes made in VF5FS and the likelihood of it coming to console? Favourite VF game and why?
Thoughts on TTT2 and what changes you’d like to see. Opinion on Tekken 4 and the direction Namco went after that. Could T4 have been good with another revision?
I haven’t been following updates on that progress but I think the game will come to console. Sega know there is a gap in the market for their biggest fighter. I am sure they were put off doing anything else with VF in the West as expensive development costs did not pay off on their Evo console release, however as this will be the last VF then I’m seriously hoping it comes to console. My VF life literally died when Final Tuned was released as there was no way to play the game. When VF5 came out the system changes made me less interested. My favourite vf is either VF3 tb or VF4 Evo, for me these games were the real VF. Guessing was very strict there was a wrong way and a right way to do things and that was it. If somene guessed what you were going to do you simply had to respect them because their guess was probably something that only beats the one thing you tried to do. It’s not like nowadays on games where something happens and someone says “But why did you do that?” “That was just random”! or “I couldn’t have done anything anyway”! On VF, there was ALWAYS a way out, and that made the guessing both amazing and incomparable.
I had heard u in an interview once that priorities change in life and you have to adjust your playing hours. Please elaborate on that. How you managed study and Tekken in your academic years and how you manage job and Tekken now? Players practise around 5-6 hours a day alright but doesn’t it distract all the time even when you are not actually playing? Happens with me!
While studying gaming was just a weekend or evening thing. However at that time that was all it needed to be as it was not like now where tournaments are the aim and winning is the game. The direction of fighting games has changed and that is why things are so much more difficult now.
Will you play The King of Fighters XIII competitively when it comes out? Who is your favorite Tekken player of all time and why?
Yes I will give XIII a go and see how I find it, I guess the rest comes after that. Hmm, I don’t think I have a favourite Tekken player to be honest.
Why not Jin or DVJ
Jin is good and I do like him as a character too. I used to use him on 5.0 but now I just don’t really have any interest. I am now starting to look into using DVJ alongside Kazuya.
If tournaments were televised in the UK, how would you like to see their presentation handled?
It would be nice if it could be taken seriously by the general public and seen as an official e-sport or even just sport in the West, which I think could take a while. I would also like to see professional broadcast journalists that had experience and knowledge with the series get involved. We would need people who could communicate the happenings of the game live to viewers at home. For non gamers trying to understand Tekken must be like trying to watch a foreign film without subtitles; you have the visuals and partial understanding, but that’s it.
I would like to know what influenced your poking strategies and what makes you poke the way you do. Watching your matches changed my poking game considerably and improved it.
Growing up with the series I found it important to break down the opponent’s mind and by introducing a poking system you have more tools to test your opponent with. This ultimately gives you more opportunity to read your opponent and get the information you need to win against them.