King of Fighters XIV Player Spotlight: David of the Sands
It’s been several years, 6 to be exact, since The King of Fighters last seen a release. SNK’s staple fighting game franchise almost seen its end with the change in direction within the company and many fans feared that the next time their beloved characters made an appearance it would be on the front of a pachinko machine. Fortunately this was not the case and SNK have resurrected the series in a new direction, focussed on 3d models and as a Playstation 4 exclusive to be published by Deep Silver in the EU.
Previously the King of Fighters games were released months in advance in Japan on arcade machines and they would eventually make the Western market several months later, although with King of Fighters 14 things are working a little differently – much like Street Fighter V – and we are seeing a more condensed release during August with Deep Silver publishing the European version of KoF14 on August 26th. Another different approach was the invitational events that many players were invited to partake in from all across the world, the most recent of which being Stunfest in Rene, France. These events allowed players from all over Europe to attend France’s largest fighting game event and try out the game ahead of its release and we were fortunate enough to catch up with David “David of the Sands” Cameron to discuss his time with the game.
David “David of the Sands” Cameron is mostly known for his high placements in King of Fighters 13 in Scotland and at Hypespotting, his last performance earning him an invitation to Stunfest to participate in the KoF14 invitational. But David has been travelling around the EU and competing for the past few years. Although he biggest accomplishment has to be the transition from “DavidCameron.gov” to the weeaboo we all know and love “David of the Sands”.
A: Thank you! I felt genuinely honored to be invited to play and I had a brilliant time there. This time there were a higher number of Scottish representatives at Stunfest and for me, it was exciting to be there to show what Scotland had to offer. With our scene not exactly being the largest, it was great to see how well we placed which I hope reflects really well for us.
Q: Were there any competitors you were concerned about facing? The brackets showed that you were set to face off against Xian early on, but he was not able to make it in time, how do you think that fight would have played out?
A: Frionel, Xiao Hai and TSS Atma were the people I was most wary of, but I never faced them during the tournament. With regards to Xian, as prior to the tournament I had already defeated him in XIII, I actually felt confident going against him once more in XIV. Whilst Xian’s attentions were focused on Street Fighter, I had mine solely on King of Fighters and it paid off during our previous encounter.
Q: How did you find the preview build of King of Fighters 14? Do you feel like previous skills and habits transitioned well to KoF14?
A: I thoroughly enjoyed the preview of KoF XIV. It’s so fun, fresh, and despite the views of some, it plays well and is actually really smooth. When it came to the transition, I found it quite easy to adapt to the system’s pace as I began my KoF career with XIII which is comparatively quite a fast faced game to the others in the series.
Q: Previously you have played Takuma and Shen, are you concerned that they aren’t making an appearance? Who do you intend to replace them with in your team?
A: Initially I was very concerned as for a long time, I suffered a character crisis in XIII, yet I always had sure character; Takuma. With him unfortunately absent and Shen as well, it took me some time to find characters that appealed to me. Fortunately there’s now Hein, Geese’s very own combat butler and Kukri, someone whom I’m basing my entire name on to fill the holes in my team.
Q: Are there any stand out characters from the cast that you played that might fit your style/team?
A: As much as I hate to admit, I actually liked Banderas of the new cast. His personality and appearance just seemed fun and I spent quite a bit of time playing him during Stunfest. I also returned to my original character Robert. He hasn’t changed greatly and is more similar to his KoF 2K2 version, but the system differences actually make him incredibly strong now.
Q: It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re a Naruto fan in public, did any of your competitors realise the connection between your name and the anime? And does this change in name mean you are completely committed to making Kukri work?
A: I think “fan” is a strong word, haha! Unfortunately I was not quite able to invoke the reactions I wanted from many at Stunfest, which meant that not a single person noticed the connection… I was very disappointed with that. Nevertheless, it doesn’t deter my commitment to making Kukri functional. I’ve based my name on him and I’m too far in to turn back!
Q: Along with a change in characters there has been a change in mechanics too, how do you feel Max Mode in KoF14 compares to HD from KoF13?
A: Whilst I didn’t play KoF 2k2, the Max Mode system felt more like a brief, succinct HD mode to myself. I was able to casually hit-confirm into Max Mode as if I were just performing a HD combo. Some people seem to dislike this comparison and are concerned about the game being more combo-focused, however I welcome the similarity.
Q:It has also been noted that there is a new Rush Combo mode, that allows simple and effective combos to be performed by pressing one button. Do you think this will help new players pick up King of Fighters 14?
A: I think it might help in the beginning with fresh players or casual players. It offers a simple way to execute a reasonably flashy combo, and if people find that fun then all the better! However I personally did not use the Rush Combo once during my time with KoF XIV. I played against players who did utilize it, but I noticed that eventually they became too reliant and it deterred experimentation on their part
Q: Now that you are building a reputation for being a competitive player and travelling to tournaments, have you started making plans to travel and compete in KoF14?
A: My next guaranteed appearance will be NEC17 which couldn’t come any sooner. If however the opportunity arises, I would like to try travelling to Morocco once KoF XIV is released.
Q: King of Fighters 14 has seen a lot of negative press in regards to its visual design and graphics, how does it look when you actually get your hands on it?
A: Hands on, the game is visually acceptable. Whilst it’s not cutting-edge, it’s not what it was during it’s first reveal. Unfortunately, some of the negative views are true, such as the textures on certain models and I personally felt some of the animations, particularly with jumping, seemed a little off and disjointed. Despite that, I feel that the graphics actually give the game charm and character, which is something I find rare for most games these days, let alone fighting games.
The King of Fighters 14 is set to hit the EU on August 26th, Asia on August 25th, and NA on August 23rd this year. The wait isn’t far off and if you stay tuned to ReadersGambit we will have more interviews from the players who have played KoF14 in the coming weeks.