Welcome to Fighting Talk. A new regular segment where we catch up with professional gamers around the globe. This week, we have none other than Ultra Street Fighter IV‘s Evo 2014 Champion Olivier Hay, better known by his gamer tag Luffy. Hailing from France, Luffy has been a well known competitor in the European fighting game scene for a number of years now hitting the spotlight with his use of a fairly low tier and unpopular character (Rose) and using a PlayStation One pad. But after winning the biggest prize in the fighting game world, Luffy has become a household name within the FGC. We caught up with Olivier to chat all things Street Fighter.
Q: For the readers who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got into pro gaming?
Hello, I’m Olivier, 28 years old, and I’m working as a buyer for a publicity company.
In my gaming life, I’m Luffy, a Street Fighter IV player, known for my plays with the character Rose.
I got into pro gaming six months after getting SFIV, as I liked the competitive environment, so I went on and joined and progressed into the scene.
Q: What was it like winning Evo, and how has your life has changed since then?
Winning Evo is amazing for a fighting game player as it’s the biggest tournament of the year. Since then, I have had a lot of interviews to do for magazines/web TV. People are asking me to teach them the game too!
Q: How often do you practice, and how do you prepare for tournaments?
I practice two hours a week, mostly by watching videos and thinking about strategy. For tournaments, I watch some of my opponents’ videos to study them beforehand, to be prepared in case I have to face them.
Q: Do you feel European players are as strong as American and Japanese players?
Yes, I really do. The top European players are strong. We can fight on equal terms with American and Japanese players.
Q: Who would you say are the toughest opponents you’ve ever faced?
Q: I personally do not think Rose is a top tier character, though some feel she is overpowered in Ultra. Do you think Rose is top tier or overpowered?
None of these. For me, she’s between top 10-15. She has many flaws that you can exploit if you know the match up, making it very difficult for her to find an opening.
Q: Besides Rose, are there any other characters you can use or enjoy playing?
No, I only worked on Rose at high levels. I enjoy playing Guile though, even if I’m pretty bad with him!
Q: You’re well known for playing with a PlayStation controller. Can you use a stick? Where do you stand on the pad vs stick debate?
I can’t use stick, I’ve never tried to play with it; as long as I can do everything my characters requires, I’ll stay with my controller. I’m pretty much neutral on the debate, if you can do everything on pad/stick, and feel at ease; there’s no need to switch to another controller.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who is serious about becoming a pro gamer?
Everything is about how you can train effectively, without wasting your time. Then you must be on point with your concentration when it’s required.
Q: Outside of Street Fighter, what other games do you play?
Q: Thanks for talking to us, Luffy, and good luck with future tournaments and defending your Evo crown.