I got the chance to attend VSFighting 4 down in Birmingham this weekend, one of the UK’s biggest fighting game tournaments. The tournament was all attended, with many European players and even a few Americans making the trip to fight with members of the UK FGC.

One of these players was Evolution 2014 champion, Meltdown Luffy, who I was able to catch in between money matching fellow players and getting ready for the Top 8 of Ultra Street Fighter 4. Here is my quick interview with him, discussing after EVO, the story behind his trademark PS1 pad and the future for him.

SF: First off, how are you finding the tournament so far? You just got into Top 8, are you enjoying it?

ML: It’s pretty good so far.

SF: Have things changed noticeably in the meta since EVO? Have you been seeing a lot more Rose players for example?

ML: *laughs* Yes, there are a lot more Rose players. Actually in pools, first match was a Rose and then the second match was a Rose as well. I’d never seen many Rose players before EVO as I was the only main Rose player in France. It’s a matchup I know very well so I can deal with it.

SF: I can imagine. What made you pick Rose in the first place, compared to other characters in the roster?

ML: Well actually, when I picked Street Fighter, I didn’t know there was a tier list or anything like that because it was my first fighting game so I just chose her because of her design and look.

MD Luffy Grand Finals

SF: So, what do you think of Ultra? Has it really changed up Street Fighter 4 that much or will we have to wait for Street Fighter 5 for a really big change?

ML: Yeah, I do think Ultra really changed up the mechanics of Street Fighter. Since the first game and the other releases, the mechanics had always been the same but in Ultra, they actually changed some of the mechanics. I think it really changed the pace of the game, with the Delayed Wakeup, Red Focus and the buffs and nerfs of loads of characters which made it feel like a whole new game.

As for the future, I don’t know if they are going to do a new update. For Street Fighter 5, maybe they will change the core mechanics of the game to make it a whole new game, like the difference between Street Fighter 2 and 3.

SF: What’s the story behind the PS1 pad by the way? 

ML: Well, it basically because when I started playing Street Fighter 4, I was on PS3 with the normal Dualshock controller. After a while, I changed to Xbox because Live was much better than PSN and the level of play was better online too. At the time, there wasn’t a converter to let you play with a PS3 pad but there was one for PS1 so I just played with that and it worked!

SF: Have you noticed a surge in the European scene after EVO or has it stayed roughly the same?

ML: Not really, the scene has stayed very much the same. I haven’t seen many new players coming up because Street Fighter 4 is quite old already. However, a lot of old European players are now really motivated to become better and fight harder as a European player did make it in a big world tournament. They want to take their chance.

SF: How about the future for you? Are you going to stick with Street Fighter or are you planning to experiment with any other games?

ML: I’m looking forward to the new Guilty Gear to come out. I’ve never tried a game by Arc System Works but I’d really like to try it. Besides that, I haven’t been able to try much else. Since EVO, I’ve been travelling a lot doing competitions so I haven’t had much time to play anything else unfortunately.

SF: Well, thanks for the interview. Good luck with Top 8!

It was interesting to have a brief chat with the champ and as for his placing in the tournament, he came second overall, losing to GL Valmaster 3-1 in the second set of an all-French Grand Finals. He put on a great performance, even resetting the bracket against Valmaster but his Rose was not strong enough to beat arguably the best Chun Li in the world. Only time will tell if he will be able to regain his position as the world’s top Street Fighter player in the Capcom Cup this December in San Francisco.