Red Bull Kumite London is the latest event in the Red Bull Kumite series, taking place this weekend, May 22 and 23. Red Bull Kumite London is the first offline major event for Street Fighter V since the beginning of the pandemic, and the first Red Bull Kumite event taking place in London.
Some of the highest level Street Fighter players will be in attendance, including Tokido, Bonchan, Luffy, and Hurricane. These players, as well as commentators Tyrant and F-Word, sat down at the Red Bull Kumite press conference to talk about how they trained during the pandemic, the UK fighting game community, and the current state of Street Fighter V.
(to Tyrant) How have you seen players develop in the qualifiers for Red Bull Kumite London, and what aspect of this event are you most looking forward to?
We’ve got two players that use really unique characters from the UK, really putting in a lot of work. For me, one of the most exciting things is the character diversity, you’ve got so many different character specialists here. I’m just really looking forward to seeing the best players from all over bringing the best with their character, whether it be top tier, mid-tier, whatever. It’s just really really cool to see everyone come back together in an offline environment.
(to Tokido) Have you developed any new training strategies in 2021, and how have you prepared for this event?
There’s nothing new that I’m trying, but I’ve been careful about what to eat, and also thinking about my health, taking care of myself. Those are the sort of things I think about for offline events. I’m very much looking forward to this event. Despite the very long transit experience, I’m feeling in very good condition, and I think I’m ready for this.
(to Tyrant) What are your general views on the current state of the UK FGC as a whole, in terms of the talent we have here and the interest from the community?
I think that the UK FGC is in a really good place right now. Obviously, with no events and stuff, it was tough at first, during the pandemic, but I feel like a lot of content creators and tournament organizers in the UK and Europe have really got the formula right at the moment, in terms of putting on events for the players to keep the scene happy. I feel like Kumite might be the start of more offline things happening, I feel like slowly but surely we’ll get back to normality. SFV is in one of the best states it’s ever been in. We have stuff on the horizon for other games. Guilty Gear Strive is coming out with this incredible netcode, and it just looks amazing and is really fun to play. I think the UK scene is in a really amazing place right now, absolutely.
(to F-Word) V-Shift introduced a new defensive mechanic to the game. How did you observe Street Fighter V’s gameplay evolving in the past weeks due to this change?
I think 99.9% of Street Fighter players will agree, apart from R-Mikas, sorry Luffy, that the game is probably in the best state it’s ever been in. In terms of balance, in terms of fairness, in terms of creativity, it’s added that extra layer I feel was always missing in Street Fighter V. A lot of the times you would see a very good player just die in 2 guesses. You’d go back and say what could I have done there? Well, I could have teched the throw, or I could have not teched the throw, is that it? Whereas now you have this option, where even if your V-Shift gets read, you always know you could have done that if you had the bar. I think this changes the game tremendously from where it was before. Now, the high-level mind can really express itself a little bit more, on offence or defence.
(to Bonchan) What are your observations about how V-Shift has altered the gameplay of Street Fighter V?
There are some characters who did not have a way to switch from defence to offence. I felt I could not use these characters before. I feel this new system fills the gap between these characters, and I think this new system works very well.
(to Hurricane) People think Cammy may be the best character in Street Fighter V at the moment. Are they right to think so?
Just like everyone else, I did believe that Cammy was one of, if not the best character this season, until yesterday, when we had this unexpected update. I just can’t state right now what the current state is of Cammy. I still believe she is one of the strongest characters in the game, but I’m not sure now that she’s the strongest, because of the slight changes that happened yesterday with the update. A lot of things might change in certain matchups. Her dive kick, which was one of the most annoying moves in the game, has been toned down and is easily punishable now. This is going to be a new challenge for me this weekend, but I will be grinding more to prepare for the event.
(to Luffy) What is the proudest moment in your Street Fighter career?
I think it would have to be my win at Evo. My Evo win unlocked a lot of things that happened in my career, thanks to it. Back then in 2014, it was the kind of time where travelling was not as common as today. It was maybe my second time going to America and being able to play against so many different players from so many different countries. Now, it feels like a given. In any tournament, you have a chance to play against them every week. Back then in 2014, it was such a blessing to be able to play with players from Latin America, America, Japan, China, from anywhere in the world. It was one of the biggest moments in my career and even more in my life.
Red Bull Kumite London will be happening this weekend, starting May 22 at 2 p.m. BST. Day 1 will have a Guilty Gear Strive exhibition, alongside a Street Fighter team tournament. Day 2 will be the main event, with the Street Fighter V tournament group stage and top 8. The event will be streamed live on the Red Bull Gaming Twitch and YouTube.