King of Fighters XIV Player Spotlight: Frionel
The wait for King of Fighters grows smaller every day and with the amount of publicity King of Fighters XIV is receiving it can’t come soon enough. It feels like every week there is a new trailer, a new series of screenshots, or high level gameplay surfacing somewhere online. Many players have been able to start building a well of knowledge, but none more so than our guest today; Frionel.
Out of all the players we have had the pleasure of interviewing for King of Fighters XIV, Frionel is definitely the most accomplished. With a list of achievements that seem endless, Frionel has multiple high placements at EVO, StunFest, and loads of other tournaments tournaments under his belt – including some Street Fighter V placings. More importantly Frionel might have the most play time on King of Fighters XIV in the world as far as we know, and it showed when he was at StunFest 2016 as he made light work of the competition while playing in the invitational.
Q.A massive congratulations are in order for you placements at StunFest! You placed highly in everything you entered, but what was your personal highlight?
A.Thank you. I was really happy to achieve another grand final in KOFXIII at Stunfest, since I’ve always made it to grand finals at Stunfest since 2011. I was happy to keep my personal record safe, even though I wasn’t practicing XIII anymore.
Q.It’s obvious that you possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to King of Fighters XIV, what advice would you give to a new player picking up the game?
A.To not be afraid of having to play 3 characters. KOF XIV characters all share a core and similar gameplay elements, that once a character is mastered can easily be transferred to another. Also that KOFXIV is supposed to be one of the easiest and simplest KOF games to get into, without sacrificing depth or rich gameplay.
Q.There has never been a Morrocan fighter in King of Fighters, would you welcome one? And who would you design them if you had an input?
A.Of course, it would be amazing to have a character representing Morocco, and North Africa in general. I’m not a designer, but I would love to see a very stylish and shady character, using special powers related to our culture and region. I don’t want to see another “cliché” Arabian character.
Q.During the invitational you were seen playing Luong, is she your favourite from the new additions?
A.From the characters available at Stunfest, yes she was my favourite one gameplay-wise. In term of design, I may be more attracted by characters like Nelson or Bandeiras.
A.I’m highly interested in Kukri, since he’s going to be on my day-one team (K’, Geese, Kukri). I’m also really interested in Hein, Shun’ei and Xanadu. Even if I’m really satisfied with the final roster, there are many KOF characters that I would love to see in XIV. If I have to name a few, I would say: Vanessa (first), then characters like Duolon, Eiji, Yamazaki, Gato, Krauser, Shen or Nameless.
Q.King of Fighters 14 sees a departure from the complex HD combos of KoFXIII and focused more on MaxMode, what does this mean for the series and EX moves as we know them?
A.The general idea behind the overall game design was to simplify KOFXIV without losing what the core fans are wanting from the game, and in that way, I feel they really succeeded. The new Max Mode system lets you manage one kind of resources (super meter) to access many different options. Also, the absence of EX moves outside max mode is also a thing that will simplify the game for newcomers, since they will not have to choose whether they have to use the meter for super or EX move for example. Also, in terms of learning match-ups, it’s easier to expect an EX move and its properties in a precise and defined moment (opponent’s Max Mode timer), than just have to deal with them whenever the opponent has a meter.
The new Max Mode combos can still be very damaging, as always in the series, but they are easier to pull off and shorter, making them easier to learn and reduce combo drops. The fact that you only have to use ex moves/special moves one after the other, is really easier to understand and master compared to the very strict and difficult Hyper Drive Cancel combos in KOFXIII.
Q.You have spoken out about on social media about the King of Fighters XIV box art stating that you did not like it. How do you feel about King of Fighter 14’s current graphics?
A.It’s not that I don’t like the box art, it’s just that for Europe, we are really lucky to have the steelbook edition as the regular version of the game, and the art used for the steelbook is not the official box art. I only want to have the official box art for my European version or one of the amazing 2D drawings that were made by the KOFXIV artists. Regarding the graphics, like everyone, I was really worried about KOF dropping their wonderful 2d pixelated visuals to go the full 3D. But in the end, I feel like they really managed to keep all the game’s feel and the character’s aura and personality. Some of the 3D models and designs are really good (Robert, King of Dinosaurs, Benimaru), and some feel very weird to see in 3D (Andy, Kim or Daimon).
The game may look not as good as some of the newest PS4 games in terms of technical quality, but on the other hand we have a game with 50 characters, more than 17 stages and lots and lots of game modes, running in smooth 60 fps and 1080p. I think that the balance is fair enough.
Q. And what about the soundtrack, are you a fan of the direction? Do you have any favourite tracks?
A.The soundtrack, and the new max mode system, are my most favourite elements in King of Fighters XIV. I really love what they’ve done with every team theme. I feel that most of it was done by the original KOF sound team, and in the other hand we also feel that a fresh air and new style was given to some other tracks. I can’t wait to get the original soundtrack! My favourite track is by far, team Yagami BGM “Saxophone Under the Moon”. I can’t spend a day without watching their team trailer just to listen to this amazing track!
A. Of course, I’ll be on the tournament road the upcoming year, competing in KOFXIV every time I can. The only issues I may face are, as a Moroccan, all the visa problems that can happen. As long as I can have an entry visa to the different countries organizing competitions, you can count me in. I’ll be very active in Europe (mostly France and Belgium), but I plan to go the USA, Mexico, Japan, Middle East, and South America.
I’ll also try to look for a sponsor for the first time. Since I’m planning to be very active (tournaments but also regular streaming on my Twitch channel), I think I can offer a good visibility and presence to any company or team that want to share this journey with me.
We will also try to organize some tournaments here in Morocco, and I can already tell that the local level in KOFXIV is very promising, since our community and top players are really hyped for King of Fighters XIV, and we’ve always managed to compete on an international level in all the KOF games. You are all welcome in Morocco if you are looking for a good challenge or just a place to practice and level up.
I can’t wait to play with all of you! Don’t hesitate to follow me on twitter (@frionel26) or Twitch (www.twitch.tv/frionel26) if you have any question about KOFXIV or just want to learn the game and get better.
The King of Fighters XIV is set to hit the EU on August 26th, Asia on August 25th, and NA on August 23rd this year. If you enjoyed this make sure to check out our other player spotlights with TSS Atma, TSS Paladin and David of the Sands.