Interview: Talking Dragon Ball FighterZ with Pro Commentators Tasty Steve and Sajam


Earlier in the year, we were given the opportunity to attend the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals in Los Angeles, where the top players from all corners of the globe converged to compete for the bragging rights of being the best (along with some considerable prize money). Between bouts during the competition, we got the chance to sit down with Tasty Steve and Sajam, two incredibly talented fighting game commentators who are no slouches at FighterZ themselves. Want to know what it’s like to commentate on these high-intensity fights in real time? Read on to find out.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Tasty Steve Interview

Talking with ‘Tasty Steve’ Scott

Push Square: It feels like the fighting game community has expanded so much over the last five years or so, especially thanks to huge tournaments like this one. As commentators, and even as players yourselves, what’s it been like to see games like Dragon Ball FighterZ resonate so well with so many people?

Tasty Steve: I think it’s something a lot of fighting game fans expected. Compared to other esports or competitive games, fighters are very simple. It’s just you and this guy, you both have the same health bars and just fight it out until someone dies. It’s a lot like how the UFC has blown up in popularity, that simple, one-on-one kind of combat is very easy to follow.

So, you would say it’s the accessibility of fighters that has made them resonate so well?

Yeah, and also there have never been this many fighting games produced by this many companies at one time. It’s a good combination of lots of great games being out there and more people than ever are watching esports and competitive gaming.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is such a fast-paced game. Be honest, is it sometimes a pain in the ass to commentate on? Do you feel like you sometimes have to really be in the zone?

It’s one of those games where one bad decision in a very fast game can be crushing. Usually in fighting games, the faster the game, the harder it is to play perfect. So, if the game is relatively slow, you have more time to think about it and consistently make the right choice. In a game like Dragon Ball FighterZ, it’s fast and mistakes happen constantly, so commentating is a matter of constantly trying to keep up with those mistakes and how they could affect the match.

You have a professional background in Killer Instinct, too, yes? How would you compare the play experience of that to Dragon Ball FighterZ?

KI is not team-based, but it’s certainly still really fast. You make tons of mistakes and it can be really nerve-wracking. But, because it’s not a team game, it’s more focused on your understandings of different characters and movesets, what works and what doesn’t in specific situations. Because FighterZ is a team game, it’s a little more straightforward in what each character’s supposed to do, while KI goes super in-depth with its characters and movesets.

With huge tournaments like this one, do you find that your commentating style changes at all? Do you get nervous? Or are you just consumed by the hype?

When the matches are exciting, I’m excited. I think, as a commentator, your job is easy when the matches are good; anybody can be saying anything when the matches are good. But, to be honest, I can’t remember the last time that I felt nervous to be on the mic, because I’m very focused on my prep and making sure I’m ready for the event, knowing everything I need to about the players and the game. So, once I sit down I don’t feel nervous at all. The hard part isn’t commentating, it’s being ready for it.

Have you noticed your style or persona mature over your career as a commentator?

Yeah, especially from where I first started. I got my start making YouTube videos when I was in high school; I was really young and really bad at speaking into a microphone. That’s an entirely different skill than public speaking, which is also a different skill from being able to hype a crowd. The first time I did it live for a tournament was in 2015 and I was thinking that it was fun, but I never expected it to be my job.

Speaking of hype, you can have one Dragon Ball character of your choice added to Dragon Ball FighterZ. Who is it?

My favourite characters are already in the game; I love Gohan and Gotenks, and they’re both so cheap in FighterZ! But rather than a character that’s not currently in the game, I’d like to veto a character instead. I do not want Great Saiyaman no matter what happens [Sorry Steve, he’s already been confirmed as part of Videl’s moveset! – Ed]. As a Gohan fan, I think he’s way too corny. If I could pick a new character, I’d want someone from Dragon Ball Super. Maybe the Trio De Dangers or Toppo or Dyspo. I know people are excited for Jiren, but I’m looking for characters that are more unique, and a lot of Super characters were designed to be more thematically interesting.

And finally, say Dragon Ball FighterZ 2 gets announced at some point. What’s the one thing you want to see from that sequel?

One of the things they talked about today was multiple assists, and I really liked the sound of that. I hope the next game launches with a big roster of characters, too, instead of the slow burn they did with this one over all the DLC. Also, hyperbolic time chamber as the training mode stage! I don’t know why that’s not in the game already, it makes no sense at all to leave it out!

Dragon Ball FighterZ Sajam Interview

Speaking with Stephen ‘Sajam’ Lyon

It feels like the fighting game community has expanded so much over the last five years or so, especially thanks to huge tournaments like this one. As commentators, and even as players yourselves, what’s it been like to see games like Dragon Ball FighterZ resonate so well with so many people?

I’ve been playing video games for a long time, and watching them turn into an event like this is something I never thought I’d see. It makes me happy, this is a new game, a new IP made by some of the best developers in the business, and it fits every dynamic — the anime aspect, the fighting game aspect, the nostalgia. Putting all those things in one event that’s going to last throughout the year is nothing short of amazing, and it gives me hope for any other game I’ve played and loved.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is such a fast-paced game. Be honest, is it sometimes a pain in the ass to commentate on? Do you feel like you sometimes have to really be in the zone?

Think about it like this: Dragon Ball FigherZ takes the typical fighting game speed up another notch, you’re either on offence or on defence. If you’re blocking, it feels like an eternity, yet if you’re on the offence, you feel the pressure knowing that you can’t make a single mistake. That tense back and forth is a major part of the game, but that fits the Dragon Ball narrative perfectly. So, yeah, it’s kind of difficult to commentate on, but it’s more fun because of that speed and if you play the game competitively you understand the mind games going on as it unfolds.

With huge tournaments like this one, do you find that your commentating style changes at all? Do you get nervous? Or are you just consumed by the hype?

I kind of have mixed emotions, because I know that I represent the community and I want to make sure that I’m doing that right. But, there’s also the hype to it. I’m very energetic, so I’ll see things going down and just get swept up in the excitement. For me, it’s more of the excitement, because you don’t normally get to see this level of play all the time, in person. To see it in person is a different experience, and having just a little bit of knowledge takes you so far in this community.

Speaking of hype, you can have one Dragon Ball character of your choice added to Dragon Ball FighterZ. Who is it?

So, I’m going to go with two. Number one is Gogeta [Congrats Sajam, he’s been confirmed – Ed], ever since I saw him use that mystic spirit bomb, I just knew that I need to see him in FighterZ. Now, everybody knows that I never play as the bad guys, but my number two pick is a bad guy and it’s Janemba. If Janemba comes to FighterZ, I’ll give him a shot. I really hope they make it in, it’d be perfect getting representation from both the new canon and the old canon like that.

And finally, say Dragon Ball FighterZ 2 gets announced at some point. What’s the one thing you want to see from that sequel?

Let me preface this by saying that I’m a Guilty Gear player. I’ve been playing since the original, and I’ve played nearly all the versions they’ve released since. I want them to do a Super Dragon Ball FighterZ and they add in the characters from Super that the fans want. I don’t need a second game so much as I want to see things like an updated HUD, roster, stuff like that. It shows you the evolution of the game and it feels much more organic that way. That’s been the history of fighting games since the beginning of time, but they can do that now through updates instead of through sequels.


Thanks to Tasty Steve and Sajam for taking the time to talk to us about Dragon Ball.

[Questions By Mitch Vogel and Robert Ramsey]



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