During GamePlan 2017 on the 24th September 2017, the MAGIC RAIN team had the chance to speak with pro Street Fighter V gamer, Gllty from USA! If you’ve not heard of her before, Leah “Gllty” Hayes is known for playing the characters, Dhalsim and Menat in Street Fighter V and is part of the Grapht e-sports team where she utilises resist play as her play style by negating her opponents’ attacks. Alongside travelling around the world competing in tournaments, Gllty is also an active streamer on Twitch.
Q: Is this your first time in Malaysia? If so, how has your experience been?
A: Yep, it’s a lot more metropolitan than I guess I expected. It’s pretty nice.
Q: What made you start playing competitively?
A: When Tekken 5 and Street Fighter IV came out, I started conditioning myself for it, but it wasn’t until Street Fighter V that I actually started actively going to competitions. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is when I took it a few steps further, and then Street Fighter V is when I took it to where I am right now.
Q: Which characters in Street Fighter V do you use the most and why so?
A: I like using zoning characters, because I feel like maybe I don’t have the best defence so I can keep other people at a distance and I’m more comfortable with that. Also, it frustrates people and makes them more mad.
Q: I’ve noticed that you played Dhalsim and Menat a lot during yesterday’s match. Are those two your go-to characters?
A: I’d say that I’m phasing Dhalsim out because I don’t know how far his sealing reaches, but I feel like Menat has a much higher sealing. It’d take more time and effort, but I feel like she’ll do a better job.
Q: What challenges do you face in such a male-dominant market?
A: Hmm, I think that in this kind of situation, there are advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not necessarily something that’s equal, but you know, if you have your own advantages, and don’t let your disadvantages get to you too much, then there’s definitely a path to success. I think there’s also a void that’s created due to the fact there aren’t a lot of female peers. So if there are more female players that want to start and get invested into this scene, they’ll have to understand that your 200% effort might be acknowledged just as a 100% effort, but you’ll get twice as much attention for nothing and to be able to work in a way that favors you to succeed.
However, it’s definitely difficult and you’d definitely have to want it more than other people who would want to tear you down and you know, there are a lot of other reasonable careers out there than just playing video games potentially. There’s no harm in that but for me, I’m a very vindictive person so there are some people 10,000 miles away from where I came from and told me that I couldn’t do something? Well, I’m over here proving them wrong. I don’t care so much about that anymore, but that’s what I started from. It’s just like ‘Well, you guys like this game? Then I’ll be better than you and I’ll take it away from you.’
Q: What do you think of the gaming scene in Asia now? Is there a significant difference when compared to USA?
A: I feel like money is less of a motivating factor. There’s less financial incentive to just look out only for yourself, and well, there’s definitely a mindset I think. I’m more familiar with Japan, but like over there, because the pro players there have no financial incentive, they just want to grow the game, otherwise, what they’re doing won’t be sustainable. So there’s kinda more of a incentive for them to spread the love of the game. It’s the mentality of professional gamers over there to share with other people just how much fun they have playing the game, whereas in America, it’s a lot more ‘I got to look out for me’ kind of mentality.
I think it’s also a lot more hostile for women in America than when I play overseas. You don’t really see as many female players, maybe in Smash Brothers or something like that, but for Street Fighter, it’s a lot more of a chauvinistic boys club I guess? Although I feel like I can understand why those vibes are there in Asia, but it just doesn’t seem to play out numbers-wise. So I don’t really understand why that is, but… I wish I can give a better answer to that because being a foreigner, I don’t entirely understand necessarily the way it is when I’m not around. So there may be a different image being presented than what I actually see. But again, in terms of headcount, the weeklies in Japan, there’s maybe 5 or 6 girls competing every week, whereas in South Cal Wednesday night fights, there’s me and maybe one or two other people, so I don’t understand what the reasoning is behind all that. There’s more of a push in Asia to expand the scene for its own sustainability whereas it’s more hawkish in America. Again, I’m comparing America to Japan so I can’t speak for all of South East Asia.
Q: I noticed that you’re wearing an Umbreon cap. Are you a fan of Pokémon as well?
A: Hmm.. not necessarily. But it goes along with the GRAPHT so you know, Umbreon – black and yellow as well. Honestly, my favourite Pokémon is Gengar. I was part of the generation where I played Pokémon Red and Silver. The rest of them kinda fell flat for me so Umbreon is from one of the generations that I’m familar with, but Gengar is my favourite.
Q: Since you’ve mentioned that you faced a lot of issues in America, is there anything in the gaming scene that you would like to see being improved on? Other than the fact that there aren’t a lot of female players?
A: So this may be kind of a controversial point, but I think for a female gamer, you gotta just let the game flow and understand that you can’t make excuses for being bad. If you suck, you have to accept it and do something about it. Like I said, for me, I’m very negatively-motivated. That negativity brought me to something positive, and in that context, it was just dealing with a bunch of crap. That’s kinda the mentality I have, like ‘Talk as much as you want, but at the end of the day, I’m gonna be counting your money’. You can sit at home, complain on the Internet as much as you want, but I feel like in America, there’s a tendency where people like to coddle you.
They’re dishonest in two ways: a) If you’re doing well and they feel intimidated by it, they’re not going to be honest about your performance and devalue you, and b) If they aren’t intimidated by you, either by their own stupidity or they see that you’re not necessarily equal to them, they’re kinda gonna inflate you with flattery. People have ulterior motives so you can’t let it get to you. You just have to be very headstrong I think, to block everyone out and don’t listen to anybody unless those people are giving you practical game or career advice. If what they’re telling you does not work, you can smile and say thank you, but just ignore them. I mean, you have to think of yourself and not expect other people to look out for you and respect you.
You have to anticipate a broken system where people are going to rip things against you. You have to plan ahead and be steps ahead of them, because they’re going to try take things away from you. They don’t want to be the guy that is going to be humiliated by you, by some girl. Games-wise, it’s humiliating cause it’s a boys club. They got together and decided that it’s going to be humiliating to lose to you so they’re going to do things in their power – in and out of the game – to keep you in that domesticated position. It’s difficult to reject that, but at the same time it’s necessary.
Q: What’s your schedule like?
A: (sigh) Next week is my first week off in a while. It may be more interesting to talk more about how my schedule was like before my week off. I was in Texas 5 weeks ago, New Jersey 4 weeks ago, then three weeks ago I was in Manila, New York, then here (Kuala Lumpur), just non-stop. I have a week off because Chengdu is too expensive, otherwise I’d have been in China. Then Taiwan, Singapore, Los Angeles for TwitchCon, Canada Cup then I go back to Japan to continue practicing. And then, Last-Chance Qualifiers in Boston on the 17th of November. After that, I don’t really know what I’m gonna do. I haven’t made a plan so that’s kinda the end plan for me. If I have the capability, I’d go back to Japan because I enjoy the experience of being in Asia as opposed to America.
Q: What do you usually do during your off-days? With such a hectic schedule like that, do you still practice for your next tournament or do something else?
A: I like eating and sleeping. I mean, I get a lot of recreational experiences travelling so there’s a lot of things that I kinda get a fill of so it’s nice to just get that very boring downtime. Honestly, in terms of hobbies, I’m very weighted towards advancing myself and my career. So if it doesn’t relate to something that makes money for myself so I can provide things for my family like my mother who’s getting older, I don’t have a lot of interest in it. I don’t drink and I don’t do wild and crazy stuff. I don’t really play a lot of other games too. I like Final Fantasy IV, World of Warcraft but I mostly play fighting games. I like Overwatch a little bit, but I’m not very good at it.
Hmm, but you know overall, a lot of it relates to career and fighting games advancement like marketing myself, broadcasting and stuff like that. My work ethic is very high and I’m kinda consumed by the desire to succeed in things because I feel like it’s necessary for my family. My family is very small, just these three people primarily. My mom’s older now, my grandmother and my aunt are not doing well. You know, at some point, there’s gonna come a day where they need support from me and I want to be at a position where I can provide it.
Q: What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to for Street Fighter V?
A: I’m basically going to be spending the next few… the next month I guess, practicing for the Last-Chance Qualifiers in America ’cause I feel that Dhalsim is a very American character, but Menat is a very Japanese one and no one in America seems to be picking her up. So my best chance to get into Capcom Cup is to just put in a 150% effort and just practicing this character (Menat) and studying my points of resist and trying to sneak in Capcom Cup that way.
With that, we’d like to thank Gllty for the great interview and we wish her all the best for the Last-Chance Qualifiers with Menat by her side!
For more information on Gllty, check her out at: