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« Lone Wolf: A Talk With Japanese Player OGTY About Playing Killer Instinct & The Upcoming Release In His Homeland »

Various Killer Instinct players group together at EVO 2014. OGTY featured in the bottom middle.When it comes to fighting games in Japan, Sony's PlayStation consoles have been the platforms to play and practice on when not in an arcade. Microsoft's Xbox consoles generally haven't been received, or sold, as well as the PlayStation but has its small share of folks including top Street Fighter IV players. For many other fighters, though, developers are more likely to make a game for the PlayStation only. In addition to the console preference, fighting game players in the land of the rising sun tend to engage in games made in their homeland despite efforts of U.S. developers.

There are, however, competitors who make up the minority by playing outside the status quo. Takuma "OGTY" Oguchi is part of that minority. The Japanese player came into recognition following the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as one of the dedicated players in the scene. He would contribute in shaping the once modest scene to something more reputable. Along the way, he would also get hands-on with Injustice. Now with help from a handful of players who were able to import Xbox One consoles, OGTY increased his repertoire to Killer Instinct.


"First, I was attracted by announcer voices (ex: C-C-C-Combo Breaker!)," OGTY said in a text interview on what stood out to him when seeing Killer Instinct. "One of the good things is that players can do something during an opponent's combos and I don't lose interest in matches because Counter Breaker and Shadow Counter create a lot of tension."

While he did know the series by name, he wasn't able to play any of the past entries as they were not released for the Nintendo Famicom consoles in Japan. The third, and Xbox One-exclusive, entry would be his first foray into the franchise.

Mainly an arcade stick player when playing both UMVC3 and Injustice, OGTY had to deal with a problem: playing with the Xbox One controller. He had no other choice since sticks were not regularly available. Despite the impairment and his interest in another character, OGTY was able to settle with Sabrewulf, one of the best characters in the game appointed by the community.

"In order to get used to this game I decided to play him for now because his special moves are easy to input." he said. "As he is so strong and exciting, I might not be able to play the others."


In addition to the controller hurdle, OGTY had to deal with low competition. From what he gathered, there were more than a hundred registered Xbox One players in Japan but believes that there are very few who have Killer Instinct. His biggest competition only comes from one player named Cat Drugs, an American living in Japan.

"Cat Drugs always brought KI (including hardware and arcade sticks) to FINALROUNDBATS monthly tournaments in Tokyo, and he was my good sparring partner because he could play various characters," he said. "I really appreciate his help."

With training from Cat Drugs, OGTY was ready to prove himself by attending EVO 2014, Killer Instinct's inaugural year at the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. Out of the big list of Japanese players confirmed to attend EVO 2014, OGTY would be the only one registered for KI. He was placed in a pool bracket featuring Killer Instinct supporter Maximillian and dedicated Jago player Mr. Grimmz. OGTY was defeated by Maximillian in the first round but was able to pull through until being eliminated in losers bracket semi-finals.

A set featuring Mr. Grimmz's Jago and OGTY's Sabrewulf.

"I felt they were generally high level because they had high accuracy for combo breakers and usually used manual linkers," he recalled about the attending players. "Above all, the players who remained in EVO top 16 are of course amazing!"

"Everyone in the KI Community including them was very kind and friendly, so I like them all very much!"

He also gave special shoutouts to two of those players within the top 16. One of them, EVO champion CDjr, he thanked for letting him practice "with veteran players even though it was the day before KI pools. So I really respect and am grateful to him."

OGTY also appreciated top 8 finisher Mr. Grimmz. "I was surprised at the height of perfection playing against his Jago."


Back in Japan, with EVO over, both the Xbox One and Killer Instinct will be available in Japan. Arcade sticks for the console will also be available. OGTY believes that there are players in the region who want to play KI but is worried if it can reach out to enough people.

"I am concerned that players may be few in number because...there is the barrier of the new console, and the KI series is foreign to Japan," he said. "I would be glad if the publisher actively advertised the game, for example, with official tournaments."

With Japanese players being known for playing fighting games in arcades more than on consoles, OGTY would like an arcade release of KI but still isn't sure of its potential impact.

"I can't answer easily because there is kind of a split of users between arcades and consoles in Japan, but I think it will be easy for players to try KI if an arcade edition is released, because the console initial cost is so expensive," he said. "We could gather to play casually, so I hope it comes out."

Outside of what's possible, OGTY wants to spread KI in Japan as much as he can. "I'm planning to hold online tournaments personally after Japanese version is released!"

Following the release of KI in Japan, the rest of the world will be awaiting what's in store for Season 2. OGTY being the early adopter briefly mentions what he wants to see in the next version.

"I think there will be a lot of players reluctantly playing on the gamepad because it's a new console, so I want new options like "Release Check" and "Alternate Control" in Injustice," he said. "Of course, I'm looking forward to new characters and costumes!"

Thank you to OGTY for the interview! Also much thanks to Cat Drugs for the translation help!

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