Interview with Miles “Maximilian” Christiansen

March 1st, 2014

This interview was done at Socal Regionals 2014 after Maximillian had qualified for Top 8 in Killer Instinct.

Christopher: Chris: Hi Maximillian, Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Maximilian: Sure, My name is Miles Christensen, I have been developing web content for fighting games for the past three or four years professionally, but casually since 2007. Through this process have gotten a lot of opportunities to work with companies such as Capcom, Namco, and even Double Helix.

Christopher: How did you get started making video content?

Maximilian: The start was when Street Fighter 4 came out. I did a lot of coverage of the game being released in the states because it came out in the arcade months before the console version. I was really into it because we were waiting for Capcom to make a legit fighting game for a long time.

Christopher: The dark ages of fighting games.

Maximilian: Haha, yes. The dark ages. You know exactly what is going on. So through the dark ages I kind of dropped out of Street Fighter 4 after about a year. Super wasn’t exactly what I hoped for. I got into Call of Duty and started making montages before that became a huge thing. I made music videos for characters in fighting games and such. Prior to that, I have videos of playing Third Strike and Capcom vs. SNK 2 in the arcades from 2007. Shockingly they are still on my channel. There are a couple of those that still exist.

Then my break out videos was really Assist Me. Assist me is a tutorial to bridge the gap between casual players and hardcore players. I wanted something to look really good. I wanted to take some aspects of what Angry Video Game Nerd does with characters and up the production value by tenfold. But the problem was that I did not have any experience. So I pretty much taught myself how to film, edit, light, and everything in the process. It was not a cheap venture by any means, but the skills learned by applying myself was worth the expense. I wanted Assist Me to be really good and so I stood by it. It ended up being an awesome experience.

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Christopher: I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about Assist Me. You have done a couple for numerous games such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Killer Instinct and have added a bit of storytelling to your series.

Maximilian: The storytelling aspect of Assist Me is something for people to come back to instead of just the tutorial. Even though the tips are just basic level information for each character. The goal was for people to have a general idea of how things worked. And if those people did not care about video game cheese and just wanted to see the characters do cool stuff then there is that appeal as well. I am a huge fan of storytelling and characters. So when it comes to random other videos of me doing game play coverage or ‘Week of,’ I will highlight moments. For example I used to make these Marvel vs. Capcom 3 music videos where I would include Assist Me characters dubbing in game while they fight each other. It was a lot of fun because it added character and watchers got excited for it. Another goal is to create excitement and hype. I love doing that through video form. You should see me video editing sometime and I am just like, “This is going to be so good!” and when I go back and replay it and it runs smooth. That gets me really excited if I can captivate people to get thrilled just through watching videos. Their emotion translates into “Oh man I want to play this game” or “I really want to do that.”

Christopher: That is really good to hear. What games did you sign up to play this year at SCR?

Maximilian: This time around I only signed up for Killer Instinct. I played a lot of KI when it first came out and sadly am only able to play it once a week during tournament nowadays. I recently had a chance to play Marvel 3 again and I really do enjoy the game. But when it comes to the competitive aspect of the game, the top players are at a whole different level. It is so hard to be as good as those guys because they put in the time to be that exceptional. The biggest challenge of being a producer for competitive video games is remaining good. Because as everyone knows, fighting games take a lot of time and commitment. People who dedicate the time get rewarded. A lot of the time I take breaks from playing fighting games for three to four months and I have to remember how to play. I have to remember what the buttons in the game do. It can be pretty problematic. To be honest tonight as I was competing, the first couple matches of KI were warm up matches. I was rusty. I forgot how to do a lot of stuff that I thought I knew how to do and thought I was comfortable with. This is what happens when you don’t practice.

Christopher: I saw that you played a couple of different characters such as Sabrewulf, Jago, and Sadira. Would you say you have a main?

Maximilian: I guess it would be Sabrewulf. Although I feel like I am just as good with Sadira in this game. I don’t think I am actually that good with Jago. The more is known about Jago the worse I end up being with him. But Sabrewulf and Sadira fit well with my play-style. I also think my Glacius is on par with them, though he is a situational character. I would have to have a lot of confidence in that situation to pick Glacius. But the nice thing about KI is that I can play almost any character relatively well in competition except for Spinal. Spinal is very hard to be good with. Being able to play multiple characters also helped in the tournament. I was able to counter pick Spinal and Glacius with Sadira.

I did not want to have a main because I ran into an issue making fighting game content. When you stick with one character some people get upset watching the same thing over and over again. I take it to heart and really do listen to what people say about the stuff I make. So I was very adamant about learning every character in KI. It started off as a 6 character game. I thought it would not be too hard and honestly it worked out pretty well.

Christopher: As far as a Tier list how would you rank the characters?

Maximilian: Absolutely at the top is Jago for one reason alone. He is able to do manuals off of light linkers. No one else in the cast is able to do so. Right below that are very close ties between Sabrewulf, Thunder, Sadira, and Glacius. Orchid is just barely below that, but not by that much. She is still amazing. The crazy thing is there is still a top tier, which is Jago. And the game does have a bottom tier and I think it is Spinal. The game is relatively balanced. No one is terrible. The worst match up you might find in the game is maybe a 6-4. Another reason why Jago is really good is because his worst match up is a 5-5. In comparison to when Street Fighter 4 came out; there were some crazy bad match ups like Dhalsim vs. Zhangif. That match up was not funny at all. They changed the game a lot over time, but considering KI is still a vanilla game, the first game in it’s series, Double Helix did a good job with character balance. As of right now, no one is unplayable.

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Christopher: I haven’t seen the game played much over seas, but who would you say is the best from the different regions: Norcal, Socal, East Coast, and so on.

Maximilian: Grimmmz from Norcal is overall the best at the game right now because he has mastered the Jago tech. He got really good at controlling what makes Jago good. Getting there is not extremely difficult, but it takes a lot of time practicing to be consistently good at executing it. FilthieRich is at the top, but he technically is not a competitor because he is a developer of KI. He is also the community manager and so he puts in a lot of time. He understands the game a lot. I have had the luxury of playing him an awful lot with a majority of the characters. Other than them I would say Alex Valle and Steve from Socal and Rico and CDjr from the East Coast are extremely good at the game. I don’t actually put myself in there. I think I understand the game and I am good at it, but I can’t keep up with these guys and how they understand how the game is evolving. The game is turning into Street Fighter. Players are rewarded for their patience. Even playing a patient Sabrewulf makes him even more deadly. You get a lot of zoning, footies, pokes, and knockdowns. The vortex exists in Killer Instinct. It can be very hard to know what side the opponent is on and which side you should be blocking.

Christopher: Is there anything you want to say to the readers?

Maximilian: To those who are looking to do similar things and make videos about fighting games or to educate people on how to play: Keep in mind that there is a big audience besides the hardcore fighting game community. What essentially got me to where I am today is appreciating that there is a big majority of folks that are not very good at fighting games, but would like to be. Understanding that they exist and acknowledging them. Letting them know that it is not a problem to be bad at fighting games. Fighting games are one of the hardest games to get good at. That is what got me far in tailoring my content for everybody, instead of the small percentage of hardcore players.

Christopher: Thank you for your time.

Maximilian: Thanks for having me.

You can find more of Maximilian’s work on his Youtube channel or follow him at @Maximilian_.

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