DashFight reached out to the players and the organization to ask a few questions on their partnership, Project L, and fighting games in general
Lazarus Esports is “Canada's First Esports Team”, as they inform through their Twitter bio. At the end of 2021, the organizations signed two pretty famous fighting games players: Hayatei and Supernoon. They even revealed a trailer about this step, with a big focus on Project L.
We at DashFight love seeing talented players getting new opportunities. And we totally welcome professional organizations growing in the field of fighting esports. “Why not publish an interview with the guys?” So, after preparing questions and surviving the winter holidays excitement, here we are — presenting you, guys, our exclusive interview with Hayatei, Supernoon, and Lazarus officials.
You might know him as an NRS games player with a solid performance in Mortal Kombat 11. Hayatei won viennality 2k19, finished 3rd at WePlay Dragon Temple, and got 4th place at EVO 2021 Online - North America.
How difficult is it to change an esports organization after being with one for 4+ years?
It's definitely not a difficult one, if anything, it's a big weight off my shoulder finding a new home after being pretty much a free agent in the last 6 months. The process is a pretty simple one, it's all about keeping up the work I've been doing (content creation and competition) and integrating the team into it. I'm definitely not used to working with new people after all this time, but I look forward to building a great relationship with Lazarus :)
Do you think Lazarus Esports opens new opportunities for you in the global fighting scene?
Definitely! From being able to attend to more FGC tournaments, new potential sponsorships, support with branding/marketing, etc. Joining an established team is always going to bring new opportunities that players otherwise wouldn't have without one.
Do you plan to start playing Project L? This shift to a team fighting — do you find this interesting, challenging?
It's definitely interesting, 2v2 at first glance seems like a good balance in between a fundamental fighting game and a crazy versus team game which I'm all in for. At the end of the day though, we won't know how it's like before the game comes out, so only time will tell obviously.
Your pro esports experience includes mostly NRS games. Do you plan to get professional practice with other current popular titles to get prepared for Project L? What fighting games do you enjoy as a hobby?
I've mostly been dabbling with Guilty Gear Strive and have always loved playing Tekken other than NRS games, but honestly not many current fighting games are that appealing to me outside of the NRS side. Picking up some DBFZ or Skullgirls is definitely not off the table to build some VS game experience.
Why Project L?
Personally, one of the biggest reasons is that fighting game devs in my perspective have been extremely stagnant. Games generally have been releasing missing core features 2021/modern games should, in my opinion, have. None of them comes with the full package; gameplay with high ceiling/depth, interesting characters, good netplay experience, proper skill-based matchmaking, training mode, consistent content updates, etc. A part of the equation is always missing, and if someones going to break the cycle and do it right, it's likely to be Riot Games.
Other than that, I've been playing League of Legends since the open beta, I've always had a legitimate love for the game and it's world, so being able to play some of my favorite characters ever in what is my favorite genre of games to play is like a "dream come true", I guess? Or at the very least something I definitely have high hopes for right now.
Who among the Legends would you add to your Project L team?
Definitely would love to play a mix of Lee Sin/Irelia/Nidalee or something, and perhaps keep on the Wind God legacy with Yasuo. Either there's definitely gonna be a lot of cool characters coming from LoL, I can't wait to see the roster and how the characters end up being designed to fit into a fighting game. The potential there is crazy.
Will you still be playing MK11 or an upcoming NRS game?
Absolutely! I'm not sure exactly what the future holds yet, but I'm definitely looking at playing MK11/The next NRS game/Project L right now.
This ability to switch between games is rather unique for fighting games esports. Is this because of some special mindset or specific skills?
When it comes to switching games, I would say that mostly the learning skills and philosophies carry over extremely well. Other than that, highly depending on which games we're talking about, some of the basics fundamentals definitely carry over especially across the same sub types of FGs (2d, 3d, NRS, etc.)
You played DNF Duel beta during your Twitch streams. Is it good?
Honestly, I thought the game's movement and neutral felt way too limited for my liking. Having simplified inputs in a fighting game is fine, if you compensate in other areas of macro/micro, but DNF kind of brings nothing new as a fighting game overall while having that aspect, which makes it feel a little unnecessary. It was definitely really easy to get into and start playing, which is a really good thing and helps bridging the gap between fighting games casuals and hardcore players, but now they have to figure out how to make it have some kind of long lasting meta with depth. I don't really see it having that with the beta's version, but I think the game isn't coming out for another 6-7 months, so a lot can change still! Keep in mind that this is my first impression after like 3-4 hours of gameplay, and should be taken with a grain of salt.
This guy is DBFZ and Marvel vs. Capcom professional. For Dragon Ball FighterZ, he finished 2nd at First Attack 2019 and The Pinnacle 2021; he won GENESIS 5 for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite; Supernoon is the winner of The Pinnacle 2021 for Guilty Gear -Strive-.
Does it feel good to join an esports organization after a two-and-a-half-year gap?
It does feel pretty good to join an organization again after such a long period of time. I am very excited about the future and things the team and I can accomplish together!
I felt like Lazarus was a pretty nice fit for me as a player and content creator because we talked a lot about growth and what that means to them as an organization and to me as a player and I felt like I found a team that was on the same page as me. I also liked the colors of the team, black and pink are my favorite combo.
As a team-based fighting game, Project L feels quite a logical next step for your esports experience (DBFZ, Marvel vs Capcom). What makes you excited about this upcoming title?
I think the first thing that makes me excited for this upcoming title is the fact that I love League of Legends. I have been following the competitive scene since around 2015. It has always excited me watching worlds every year and it's something I really look forward to. So I am even more excited to be able to play a fighting game made by Riot as well!
Who is your favorite Legend in LoL? Do you have any plans for a team?
I would say my favorite champion in League is Kayn at the moment. I really like his design and how his gameplay works with his two forms dictating the kind of playstyle you can have with the character. I also love his voice lines and just think overall he is super cool looking. As for a team I am hoping I could play in the future when Project L releases I wouldn’t say I have any hopes at the moment. I hope there is another character that would fit Kayn well as a partner and that they both make it in the launch roster!
What games do you plan to play to get prepared for the release of Project L?
I plan on playing a lot of League of Legends... No seriously though I have no specific games in mind I would play in order to prepare for Project L’s release. Maybe one game I would revisit is Skullgirls since it is also a 2v2 fighter and two of my best friends who also happen to be some of the best in the world play it, so maybe I’ll give it another chance when the time comes near and we know more about the game.
Guilty Gear Strive kind of stands out of the crowd of team-based games in your esports “portfolio”. What do you like about it? Will you continue competing in it?
I would say Guilty Gear is a bit outside of the box from what you would normally see me compete in. But I found the game to be very fun while I was trying out the beta and I really clicked with Ramlethal and her character design, so I decided to try and compete in it! I like to think the skills I have aren’t limited to team-based games and I am not only one of the best players of that genre of fighting games, but one of the best fighting games players out there in general. What I like about Gear is the fast pace of the matches and how many skilled players there are out there that play. There being so many players to compete with drives me to get stronger as time goes on and be able to be the best that I can be! I will keep competing in it until something else catches my eye or I lose interest in it.
What about DBFZ — they start Season 4, so do you plan to play it?
I don’t think I can consider playing DBFZ again until there is some mention of rollback netcode being added to it. I also really don’t have much competitive interest in the game at the moment so my drive to play it is very low.
Do you like this new Android 21? Who would you like to see in the game?
I actually enjoy the current Android 21 we have now so having another one sounds cool to me and I am excited to see how she plays in the game. I would love to see Bulma make it into the game hopefully! As for upcoming games I would say for now I am pretty interested in DNF Duel since I had a ton of fun playing the beta recently.
What other upcoming games are you interested in? (Multiversus, KOF XV, DNF Duel)
I would say from the current games announced so far, the only game that caught my eye was DNF Duel! I don’t think I would compete in the game really but maybe my interest in it can change when the full game comes out and if I enjoy it more. From what I played in the beta I had a great time in terms of the gameplay but have my own issues with how it played in some instances so I would like to see how they tackle some problems I think the game has.
Zayd “Munster” Salter, Head of Recruitment & Accounts Management at Lazarus Esports
How did the idea to create a team for Project L come into life?
The idea of getting involved with Project L became very apparent once it was hinted that Riot was going to be putting themselves in the FGC. In a community that needs as much developer support as possible, Riot showed us that they aim on giving the community a very well polished title that aims to be one of the top FGs to watch. We’ve seen Riots success moving from the MOBA genre to the FPS genre, and we have no doubt they’ll continue their swift success with a move into the FGC. We’ve also seen the two main faces of the development team; the Cannon brothers, who are experts of their own within the FGC and know exactly what the community needs to thrive, so with all the information at hand, with promises of intense global competition, incredible netcode and the development from one of the most reputable companies in the world for gaming, investing into the scene was a no brainer.
What are your general expectations for it? Do Supernoon and Hayatei expect to adapt to it quickly?
My general expectations of it are that both of these players are going to thrive within this title. Since both players are incredibly talented within their own field, I have no doubt that there will be a lot of transfer of skill from their previous titles when it comes to general fundamentals. When a new fighting game releases, players have to learn and adapt to the game’s unique mechanics and features, while applying their already known fundamentals to the mix. With Hayatei and Supernoon both being world renown players, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for them to transfer their fundamentals over to a game like Project L fairly quickly. In terms of the game in general, I expect Project L to have lots of Grassroot events, while also eventually tying in its own League or Riot supported events in the future, since that’s what I’ve seen with all their other titles that they’ve worked on in the esports scene. Overall, with the signing of these two players, I expect us to have two of the best if not some of the best players in the world for Project L on release that will be actively competing and taking names in Riots new FG.
Charlie Watson, Chief Gaming Officer at Tiidal Gaming and CEO at Lazarus Esports
The game is still ways off from the release, isn't it a bit too early to commit to it?
There’s a number of reasons why signing these two players and maneuvering very early before the game release. This enables our brand to build a community, content storylines and narratives in Canada and USA with the 2 signings. Both players are heavy content creators and top-level competitors in games that make sense for our brand and that of our partners such as SummaForte. Lastly, the success the publisher has shown with its current titles and franchising opportunities; this provides our Lazarus brand ample time to build relationships with our players, grow a community within the genre and network with the publisher while providing us a wonderful opportunity to position ourselves well if franchising or unique model becomes available down the road.
How hard of a commitment to Project L is this? If, say, MK12 comes out alongside Project L, will you stick to your guns, or will you try to play both games in the end?
Our players have shown success in their competitive diversity and history. As we have a huge lead time before the Project L launch, our players will be able to take advantage of games they wish to continue being leaders in already while they transition to what lies ahead. Once we better understand the game, mechanics, structure, financial incentives, roadmap, etc., we will continue to speak with our players, staff and managers to make the best informed decisions for our brand and that of our professionals and their futures, hand in hand. Regardless, we’re going to have fun, continue to dominate events we enter and continue bringing monthly content leading up to the games launch.
What are Lazarus's plans as an organization? Will you be expanding your roster and branching out into more games?
Everything is situational. We will continue to network, liaison and gather information as a brand and team that allows us to preemptively move into new titles or take advantage of opportunities in existing ones. Our industry moves very quickly, and the only constant is change. I think that if we’re only involved in the same games and titles 1 year from now, and not gotten deeper and wider with our brand, talent, and content, then we’ve not put ourselves in a position to growth, drive revenue or succeed. As our parent company Tiidal Gaming (CSE: TIDL) just went public in November of 2021, we are poised to invest, develop, and substantially grow our esports and media division Lazarus Esports moving forward.
Thank you for the answers, guys. We hope to see Lazarus players perform great at various tournaments and treat the fighting games community to great esports shows.