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James "WorstGiefEVER" Bardolph asks Womens SSF4 EVO2010 Champ Kayane some questions on how she got into gaming and her competitive history. Thanks to Kayane for spending some time to answer these questions and congratulations on her victory at EVO!


Hi, my name is Marie-Laure Norindr and my nickname is Kayane, I’m sponsored by the team against All authority ( I live in France next to Paris.

I’ve been in the top 5 French Soul Calibur players since I was 10 years old and ranked top 10 in the world tournaments I participated like World Game Cup 2004 (ranked 4th) Evo 2009 (9th) and World Game Cup Cannes in March 2010 (9th).

How did you fall into gaming, and how long have you been playing fighting games?

I fell into gaming thanks to my brothers Maxi and Kero who were some of the best Tekken players in Europe when I was around 7-9 years old. They made me try Tekken when I was 7 years old, I didn’t like the game very much but at this age I was able to beat some of their friends that played the game.

After that, Soul Calibur 1 came out, and I definitely fell in love with the character Xianghua that made me love this game. My brother Maxi brought me in a video game shop to play against people and I beat them all, they were very surprised and my brother was amused.
And then at 9 years old, we got Dead or Alive 2 on PS2 and Tekken Tag. My brothers played Tekken Tag whereas I trained alone in DOA2 against the computer. I asked my brother to play with me and they said : “Train alone because I don’t want to beat you too easily! I’ll come to see you later to see how you play.”

So I trained to beat them and they were surprised I did. Maxi decided to train me and brought me to a tournament in Paris while I was still 9years old. I participated and saw how macho players were there. I finished French Vice Champion of DOA2.
People criticized my age and the fact that I am a girl. This motivated me to take revenge by becoming very strong to beat them all.
After that, I played Soul Calibur 1 in tournaments and finished Vice Champion in France at 10.
So it’s been 10 years I’m playing in tournaments now since I’m 19 but in fact I began at 7 so it’s been 12 years.

You are part of team aAa (against All authority) with LordDVD and the great commentator Ken Bogard, how did you join them?

I was the first fighting game player who has been sponsored by a serious team in France, and it happened when I was 14years old after winning one of the biggest SC tournament. But officially, it was when I was 17-18years old (because before I was too young for the laws).
After that, Street Fighter IV came out and aAa was thinking about a SFIV team but they didn’t know anything about the community so they asked me who I would suppose to be the best for representing aAa.

So I thought about Yamazaki93 and Lorddvd, I didn’t know them before but I knew them by reputation. So that aAa recruited them and I discovered two incredible personalities and they became my friends.
Later, aAa recruited Ken Bogard and I was glad because he does such amazing work for the community by commentating.

You are known for being a beast in Soul Calibur. What have you achieved there?

Wow, in ten years of SC tournaments, I had so much experience and good moments ! I think the best things are :

- The first achievement I did was beating the American Champion Fetz 10-3 at Soul Calibur 1 when I was 10years old.

- The Japanese champions came to France to visit and participate to a tournament when I was 12. I beat one of them called Yusuke 5-1 who used the same character as me : Xianghua.

- I won my first tournament at 12 and continued to win some others later, I think the most beautiful victory was when I was 12years old in a big tournament with 1500€ of cash prize for the first, the biggest prize we had lol (and I didn’t have bank account lol so I gave all the money to my mum).

- I ranked 4th in the World SC tournament that was in Cannes in France(2004) when I was 12. There were more than 128 people from many countries : from all Europa, Asia, US…

- I ranked 9th at EVO 2009 and also 9th in World Game Cup 2010 in France (there were even more strong players than EVO).

- And I think the best thing that happened to me in my career is the gift that Namco made for me.
It’s with the Soul Calibur Broken Destiny (in PSP), Namco created an AI called Kayane playing Xianghua as you can see in this video.

They imitated my gamestyle very well, and they kept the costume I take with her. Also, the title they gave “Bewildering Sword Dancer” seems to resume really well the way I play Xianghua.
That was the most touching thing that could happened to me as a player.
And you know what, that was the idea of this Japanese champion that I beat when I was 12, because now, he’s working at Namco Bandai ! That’s really cool.

So, having my name in the game that I love with my character is the best thing for me. It’s the best honor we can do for a player I think.

What do you think of the Soul Calibur scene at the moment?

I think we’re all waiting for a new Soul Calibur… we desperately waited for an update that didn’t come (Hilde was god tier and destroyed the game with her ring outs combos I think…)
So I think the game came to its end for now, especially with Tekken 6 and SSFIV out. But I will still participate in the tournaments there are for the game even though I don’t train for it anymore.

You whip me on a regular basis with Chun-Li in Super Street Fighter IV. How long have you been playing and how did you get into it?

Well, I began to play SFIV in September 2009 and I played it seriously for only one month. After that, a world tournament for Soul Calibur 4 was announced so I had to stop training in SFIV for SC4 training. However, I participated to SFIV tournaments because it was in the same time that SC4, I knew I would play this game seriously later and I wanted to have as much SF4 experience as I could even if it wasn’t my priority. I didn’t know the game at all, I even didn’t know Chun Li’s option selects and other stuff; I wanted to learn that later.

I stopped playing Soul Calibur 4 in April and I waited for SSFIV to come out to begin in the same time as everybody. So we can say I've really been playing the game for 4 months.

What is the Street Fighter scene like in Paris?

It’s a big community with many players from different games also. We can have 2-3 tournaments per months. There is a really good atmosphere! We have a very, very strong top 5; I can’t wait to see them in a world tournament like Evo to see how  they would do. There is motivation to become stronger and we can already see that some players will become really dangerous.

I organize big sessions I callKayane Session” so that people have about 16 consoles and TVs to train and play together; there are more than 100 players who come (it’s the limit I fixed).  I have had 3 sessions so far and I don’t yet know when I’ll make another one, but I hope it will helps make the community bigger and stronger.

So you went to EVO this year. What tournaments did you enter?

I entered SSFIV main tournament and the women tournament.

How did you do in the main Super Street Fighter IV tournament?

I won two matches in the winner's bracket, and then I lost the 3rd match that was on the stream against a Bison. And then I won 2 matches again in loser's and lost the 3rd match against ANOTHER Bison called DR.B !!!!! It was at the last round so I was very very frustrated.

Before I left France, I even uploaded a match on my youtube where I was destroyed by Alioune’s Bison so that I could have some tips to deal with him. But I didn’t have time to train for Bison. It made me more frustrated because I knew Bison would be a problem. It’s not a character we meet a lot in France so I didn't have enough experience against him…Now I’m training hard to beat every Bison I will meet lol

You won the women's invitational. What did you think of your opponents?

I won without difficulty until the semi-final against Lexy’s Chun-Li. She played well and I think she’s very smart. She understands the game well and also the character. I think she will be very dangerous for next year!

And for the finalist BurnYourBra, I thought her “I don’t care” attitude was as adorable as dangerous!
She didn’t seem to be nervous, so I liked it, because I prefer to play someone that can do his/her best without something like stress to prevent her doing well.

I was very surprised with her sportsmanship - I thought it was admirable when she said to me between two matches after I punished her Soul Spiral with Super : “You have really good reactions!”
Being able to say that during a final is something really cool I think.
She seems to be a really nice person and I hope to get to know her better next time.

There was a point in the final of the women's invitational where burnyourbra had a sliver of life and caught you with a wakeup ultra to win the game. Did this shake your composure?

Well I’m going to tell you what happened to me at this moment :
It was a very close round, and at a moment I did an anti-air but I wasn’t sure it would touch. But it did and I didn’t dash forward to make the EX Legs. I felt a lot of frustration (you know the frustration of not ending a combo and thinking that if you did you would have won…) about that so the only thing I thought at this moment is “Damn I missed the combo, I want to finish her!” and then I forgot a really important rule : I’m not using Xianghua from Soul Calibur but Chun Li in SSFIV. With Xianghua, the more life I have and the more I hammer the opponent with wake up games, the more the opponent feels pressure, because my character is fast and the opponent has to guess quickly if I am going to hit with a low, a mid or throw. But in SSFIV, there is wake up ultra……also I didn’t pay attention to the time.

I felt like “I could avoid this big mistake, what I did was too stupid…what a newbie I am !”

Then I had to make my mind stronger by thinking I came alone from France to win this tournament, so I had no right to lose because of a stupid error of mine. And I couldn’t imagine myself coming back in France with all this frustration, so for me, I couldn’t lose! I had to do everything to win. It was even harder since she won the first round of the last match, but I didn’t lose concentration.

What do you think of the inclusion of a women's invitational at evo?

I think it’s a good thing because of the fact they will feel less alone when participating in fighting game tournaments with 99% male players. They are new so it’s better if they can feel there are other women in the same scenario. It’s a world full of machos and frustrated people, so it can be really hard if you’re not used to it. Fortunately for me, it’s been a long time so I don’t care about this kinds of people. I just think “Let’s see in the game!” when there are occasions I have to play against them. But after talking with many women, I know that their problem is that they are too nervous. I think they pay too much attention to others. They should play more for their own pleasure and they shouldn’t care that much about what people will say.

It’s a good thing only if they participate in the mixed tournament, otherwise they won’t be able to improve fast.

Did you do anything else while you were out there?

Well, I didn’t have much time. But I met many players and talked with them in the bars and restaurants, I also played against some in the rooms for casuals. I did some shopping too, I only bought gifts for my brothers lol nothing for myself really... I avoided clothes shops for that!

How were you received by the other attendants at Evo, and what has happened since?

I have been really well received and I didn’t expect that lol. I made many good contacts very friendly and I think the trip was too short…

Since then, I received some hundreds messages and invitations on Facebook, Youtube…
I really didn’t think I would be that famous after winning the tournament. But I’m more focused on the training than this success, this trip made me wanna play more!

Will we see you return to Evo next year?

I really hope so, I will do everything to come back even if there is not a women tournament. (I hope there will be!)
It was such a very good experience…and I’m going to train a lot to be ranked in the top 8 in the main tournament, it’s my goal. Won’t be easy I know but I prefer to fix high goals so that I can see if I’m able to achieve them.

And this time I will come back with some frenchies !

Thanks to Michael Yu for his photographs from EVO.

Reader Comments (55)

My parents are vietnamese and laotian but i was born in France.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKayane

It's very sad, it looks like there won't be another SSf4 female tournament next year because all the haters.

i think there should be an EVO female Tournament next year. f all the male haters. If you guys don't want to watch it, then get out of the room or shut down the computer.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEile

@ Kayane

Wow, Vietnamese was my initial guess. My friends guessed Korean. Didn't expect you to be Laotion though. I'm Laotion, what's up, lol.

July 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterVictormaru

Great interview. I been laughing at some of the comments people have made here and on SRK and laughing at the hate that the inclusion of a women’s tournament at this year’s EVO has received. At first I was like WTF, but any move that helps gets more women into fighting games should be welcomed. But internet trolls are going to hate on everything. Just don’t pay them too much attention.

There may or may not be another women’s tournament at EVO, but I'm sure there will be more women’s tournaments if people support them. We got one in Philly coming up for GVN Summer Jam to go along with the huge SSF4 tournament and everything else.

As for Soul Calibur 4, it's still a great game and is still being played especially since the ban on Hilde. And with this tournament coming up in September, it's bringing alot of people out of hiding to come play.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalice

Kayane , combien de gars ont demandé ton numero de telephone pendant que tu etais a EVO? haha

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPATTYPIZZLE
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