Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang is one of the most prolific players we have ever seen in Street Fighter. He shocked the world by taking down Justin Wong in EVO 2010 and then went on to become the best Adon player in the history of Street Fighter 4. However, his peak came in 2015, when he had the most striking run of his career, finishing second in EVO 2015. In Street Fighter 5, Gamerbee has embraced the darkness with Necalli and is coming fresh off of a solid performance at ELEAGUE Invitational. I was able to catch up with the Taiwanese player for a little one-to-one. Among many things, we discussed his love for aggressive characters and how he is working to improve the Taiwanese fighting game community.
FGCnow: You have come a long way from 2010, from the guy who upset Justin Wong on EVO 2010 to the inspiration of Taiwanese FGC! How has the journey been so far for you?
Bruce Hsiang: Honestly it has evolved into a big story now, to sum it up in short I can tell you that it has been a very tough journey for me to stabilize as a professional gamer. The biggest reason being that in Taiwan we don’t have the necessary steady gaming business scale. As a result, it is hard for me to have a reliable sponsorship deal like some other players. Fortunately, AVerMedia backed me up from 2012-2015 and of course, now ZOWIE provides me the resources necessary to travel to any tournament in the world while also supporting the FGC. As for motivation, I gave myself a lot of challenges after going pro, beyond just winning world championships. I’m also set to hold the biggest fighting game festival (TWFighter Major) in Asia, which is a CPT Premium event this year. Also as a Twitch staff member and partner, I invested more time and effort behind FTG weekly talk show (BeeProTV) and gathered the Mandarin FGC together with events and tournament re-broadcasted in Mandarin Chinese. I really look forward to devoting myself to power the FGC in Asia and all over the world as time goes on. That is my ultimate goal as the first Taiwanese FTG Pro-Player.
FGCnow: When we last talked you told me that the rough traveling schedule got in the way of you spending enough with your family and loved ones. With the FGC becoming more structured now, is that something you have adjusted?
Bruce Hsiang: The last time we talked, it was really hectic time in my life! I was busy traveling to tournaments and managing my position at Twitch at the same time. Which created a situation where I couldn’t give my girlfriend the attention she deserved, nor was I able to visit my mother often as I would like. In a way, there was no normal life that would allowed me to company my family Fortunately, now we have a little bit of a balance, which was made possible due to a lot of hard work that went behind adjusting my daily life schedule. As the cherry on top, my girlfriend joined Twitch as well, which made things a lot easier. So yeah, you can say that we have adapted and are heading to the same goal while sharing the workload, I will always appreciate her support & sacrifice for making this work.
FGCnow: Where do you think the Taiwanese FGC stands at the moment and what do you think can be done to represent the region better?
Bruce Hsiang: I am really glad that we have finally earned a CPT Premium Tournament this year in Taipei thanks to the love and dedication from the Taiwanese FGC. To top that off we also have regular weekly/bi-weekly events at several places all over Taiwan for players to train and improve themselves. Resulting in more competitive players and from what I have the new generation of Taiwanese players are really good!. However, before I spoil them with good words, they still need to prove themselves in actual tournaments. Similar to how RB’s Urien showed impressive matchups at “Fighters Underground (SXSW Gaming 2017)”, and Oil King. Who is a great Rashid player achieved the 3rd place at Sonic Boom. The foundation is there and working, it is now up to the Taiwanese FGC to grab the opportunity. I really hope to see more Taiwanese players on the world stage this year.
FGCnow: Are high-pressure characters something you naturally get attracted to? In Street Fighter 4 your Adon was a relentless storm that would never let up and while Street Fighter 5 is a different game, Necalli seems to be your answer.
Bruce Hsiang: When I choose a character, there are two things that are on the top of my priority list. Which are reliable Anti-Air and Aggressive Approach, Necalli happens to have both and upon V-Trigger everything is just on steroids, makes me feel more powerful!
FGCnow: There has been a lot of criticism about Street Fighter 5, mainly focused on its lack of escapes and focus on knockdown pressure, do you think with the new patches they are heading the right way and is there anything you would like to see changed?
Bruce Hsiang: I do think that SFV lacks high skill combos and techniques which identify top player’s personalities. Those were the things that would build up the gap between Top-Players and General Players. Now everyone is just doing the same stuff, we cannot show ourselves by special skills or hard combos anymore. The match up seems to decide all our performance and hard-work. I don’t think this is a good way for Capcom to approach the competitive scene and it hurts the game itself.
FGCnow: What advice would you give to an up and coming player for Street Fighter 5? How do they make the jump to becoming a professional player?
Bruce Hsiang: There’s no shortcut to being professional player. You need to practice a lot and train hard, whether it is online matches or offline practice sessions, the grind is necessary. Find players who are stronger than you and make it your goal to eventually surpass them. Study a lot of good matchup videos and learn from them, see how different regions play the same character. Try to join tournaments and beat opponents as often as you can, if you win enough, they will be forced to notice you. However, you also need some good luck to get the right sponsorship.
FGCnow: Infiltration said in an interview that players need to swallow their pride and pick top tier to win, do you agree with that?
Bruce Hsiang: Right now, yes I agree, Capcom didn’t provide enough space for character’s skills to evolve, if a player really wants to win, he has no other choices to switch to a powerful character. The one who masters top tier will have the edge.
FGCnow: Speaking of top tier, Balrog seems to be a really scary character right now. Both Smug and PR Balrog have had great success with it so far in ELEAGUE, do you think it is because people haven’t figured out how to counter the character or he is just outright OP?
Bruce Hsiang: To be honest, Balrog is what you call a true top-tier (and a bit too OP). Right now, his health is 1000 after the patch! Of course, there are some match-ups not in his favor, but he is capable of causing enormous pressure for other characters due to his strong offensive ability.
FGCnow: Did you know about ELEAGUE and their involvement with other games before you were invited?
Bruce Hsiang: I didn’t know before I got the invitation from them, but after checking their website and the previous events I realized ELEAGUE is as the cool kids say ‘hella dope’!
FGCnow: A lot of people think that with so many big organizations coming into the FGC, it might lose what makes it unique, eventually becoming stale. Do you think that is a valid concern?
Bruce Hsiang: I love the unique yet sometimes weird friendliness, intimacy, togetherness in the FGC, I don’t think that has been a problem for the FGC so far. The scene will eventually grow up to a level that people can’t ignore, growth is still the most important goal for us. When we reach a better position, then adjustments will take place naturally.
FGCnow: Do you think Street Fighter 5 is a game that can appeal to a more casual TV audience, at least in comparison to what Street Fighter 4 was?
Bruce Hsiang: SFV is much easier to understand for the Casual TV audience or even those who never watched video game tournaments before. I’m glad to see that fighting game tournaments could go on TV. It is good for the FGC and the gaming ecosystem as a whole. However, is this a good way to make more player want to play fighting games at a competitive level? I guess time will tell.
FGCnow: Does your training method in Street Fighter 5 differ from what you had In SF4?
Bruce Hsiang: In SF4, I spent more time in training mode to sharpen my skill. In comparison, SFV is totally a different game. I am more focused on studying other characters and player match-ups than actually honing skills.
FGCnow: Where do you think Japan stands right now? They are still placing high in most tournaments, but aren’t winning as much before. Do you think the gap does exist anymore?
Bruce Hsiang: As you can see, tournament results are reflecting the character balance change/patch. Japanese players usually have “Character Loyalty” engraved into their culture, they sometimes won’t give up or have a second character no matter how much their main is toned down. I personally think that is the main reason they are suffering now, as am I. Now top players must consider to change the character or have multi characters for winning. Footsies and strong mindsets are simply not enough anymore.
FGCnow: What do you think Kolin? Is she a character that we will see at a high level?
Bruce Hsiang: I think Kolin’s design makes for a great counter against attack based characters like Cammy, but poor against grapplers like Laura. Generally speaking, I think Kolin is well designed, also look forward to seeing some high-level matches soon.
FGCnow: Well as usual before we wrap it up, do you any message to give to your fans sponsors?
Bruce Hsiang: I want to give a shout out to my sponsor ZOWIE, they let me live my dream. Additionally, they provide the CPT tournaments with the best gaming monitors and help set up a better structure for the up and coming players. Also, my lovely girlfriend, she has always supported me with everything I do. We plan to have a unique wedding party on Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Day! Also thanks to all the people who always cheered for me, it really does provide motivation to keep going. Not to mention you for taking the time for these unique interviews, I wish you the best moving forward.
Do you agree with Gamerbee’s statements regarding Street Fighter V? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. In the meantime, make sure to follow us on Twitter @FGCnow and Like us on Facebook to be the first to know about our exlcusive interviews and articles.
Gamerbee Was Interviewed by Zenith, who can be found on Twitter