Sofia is one of the few Russian Tekken/SoulCalibur players who travel abroad. We met at TWT Poland several weeks back and I almost immediately asked her to join this interview series – and since you are reading this, you already know her answer. Apart from the Russian community, which is not showing that much at international events, we talked about her character choice and the other fighting game series she plays, which is SoulCalibur. And I also had to ask about the amazing graphic on her t-shirt with… well, find out yourself by reading the interview!
Здравствуй, Sophia! Как дела? (Hello, Sophia! How are you doing?)
Hello, Jacub. I’m fine.
What is the origin your nickname Green Leo?
This is a long and stupid story, not related to Tekken and Leo Kliesen, ha-ha. “Leo” is abbreviated from “leopard”. And let’s say that I just like the green color.
So this is not because Leo is one of your main characters? We learn new things every day! So who do you play?
My main character is Lili. I have been playing her since Tekken 6. But now I try using other characters, like Leo and Noctis.
What do you find interesting about Lili? She is not very popular nowadays.
That’s true. But during the Tekken 6 days she was strong enough. However, I did not know about it, Lili just had an interesting and easy gameplay for me, so I chose her. She has all I need: good pokes, nice punishers, moves from the QCF input, mixups from BT stance and even evade and punch parry. I like this complex gameplay so I’m still playing her. She isn’t boring. And I also started playing Leo because he has all these tools, only better. Except for the BT stance.
I love the picture you have on your t-shirt (Lili riding a seal on toxic waste). What is the story behind it?
I’m really fond of it. This is an irony about the Russian community. The picture contains many symbols that indicate problems within the community, such as toxicity and trolling, laziness, unwillingness to learn how to play and getting better. All this inspired me to draw this art.
Do you draw more often?
Nowadays I spend all my time on job and Tekken, so I almost don’t draw.
How often do you stream and on which platform do you play online?
I stream every day on weekdays in the evening. I prefer to play on PC. You can find me at https://www.twitch.tv/greenleo
It is really great to have a player from a country which is not that well-known in the Tekken community. If I am not mistaken, last year Russian players got Tekken World Tour points only during the local Challenger event and during online tournaments. Why don’t Russian players travel?
This is a hard question. It’s a deep and complex problem.
First of all, there is no motivation for travel. The journey requires free time and money. Most of our players think they can spend their resources in a better way. But why? Because they are not ready to spend money on a tournament and lose. Literally waste for nothing.
Moreover, sponsors could solve the problem of money. But in Russia there are no sponsors for fighting games. But this is not really a panacea – I know cases when strong players from Russia refused a paid trip to the tournament. I have no idea why…
Anyway, I know that some foreign players want to participate in the tournament in Moscow for the first time. I hope that this will somehow affect the attitude of our players towards trips and you will see more players participating outside of the country in the upcoming future.
On the other hand, am I right saying that Russian players participate in many online tournaments?
It’s true. Online tournaments are pretty popular, although the connection with the rest of Europe can be terrible.
Let’s take a look at your community from the other perspective. Do people often travel to Russia for tournaments?
No, they don’t. I remember only one case when foreign players came to Moscow for the tournament. It was in 2013. Our organizers invited JDCR and Saint to participate in the MFA (Moscow Fighting Arena) tournament. For our players, it was a big surprise. Everyone wanted to play with Korean players at that event. There were huge queues. That was funny!
Do you have the opportunity to travel yourself?
In general, yes, I have. I have already participated in two foreign tournaments. I will definitely participate more, but in the future I will focus on Soulcalibur VI as my main game.
What are your current plans?
The biggest one is Evo Japan. If Soulcalibur VI will be announced for this event, I will definitely join the tournament.
I am a big Soulcalibur fan myself so I was really excited to hear that you are playing that series too. Therefore, I have to ask what do you like more: Tekken or Soulcalibur? And why?
I started playing both games around the same time, so I love both Tekken and Soulcalibur. But Tekken is a difficult game, and I always have better results in Soulcalibur tournaments. In addition, we have a great strong Soulcalibur community in Russia. That’s the reason why I enjoy this game more, haha. It is just so natural. But despite this, I always return to Tekken. I want to be a competitive player in both games.
What is, in your opinion, harder in Tekken than in Soulcalibur? Are there any elements in the SC games which are not as easy as in Tekken?
For me the movement has always been a stumbling block in Tekken. It’s pretty difficult to master. But this part of gameplay in Soulcalibur isn’t a problem for me. SC has a lot of elements which are very different from Tekken. I speak about such special game mechanics as Guard Impact (GI), Re-GI, Just Guard, Guard Break, etc. So many different defensive options that greatly influence the game and make it difficult, or, rather, complex.
I have had the opportunity to play SCVI a few months ago and can’t wait to play it when it hits retail. Even though it is quite far from my favorite title (SCII), it feels like a natural evolution of SCV. Have you had the opportunity to play the upcoming title? What are your expectations?
Unfortunately, so far I have not had the opportunity to play it. It is difficult to say what am I expecting. I looking forward for a good game. The new mechanics cause a double sensation, so I can’t evaluate them now, with only a couple of videos available. Besides, I will not have a main character in this part, so in any case I will learn a new one. This is how I will have to re-learn the game again.
Who is your main character and why do you think they won’t be in?
Patroklos, haha. No way he will be in Soul Calibur VI because of storyline of the game. But I am waiting Amy too because I played her in Soul Calibur IV. Otherwise, I will have to find for a new main character a third time.
Thank you for your time, Sofia! Hope to see you soon and good luck with your future tournaments. Also, I keep my fingers crossed for the future of the Russian community. Пока! (Till later!)