It feels like forever since I got to post here even though it hasn’t been.
I hope everyone enjoyed the first creative post on this blog with Badge3d! I thought it might be a cool way to introduce different art mediums into this so that those outside looking in might find some creative inspiration here as well. Speaking of creative, we have a very special guest for you this week.
It probably seems like an obvious to put NRS’ own Decay in here (Thanks Ragnarok).
So, we are putting him on First to Ten this week.
Some of you may know Decay from back in the days of Injustice: Gods Among Us. He was known by quite a large amount of people for his Lobo back then. Many of you may know him for his artwork he posts online or when he does a freelance project.
Regardless of how you know him, he’s an interesting and all around nice guy. He’s been living out some of his dreams by having gone from competitive player to QA analyst over the last 2 years. He is still a humble person and someone who isn’t shy to play games at home with members of the community or attend tournaments for fun. This man got a big heart for the FGC and the people he’s come to know from it.
That’s enough from me, I’d rather him tell you the best parts about himself.
1. Eric thanks for being on First to Ten. Please tell everyone tuning in who you are and where you are from originally. Feel free to include your background about you as well such as any degrees or awards you’ve achieved also.
Thanks for having me. As mentioned before, I’m Eric Tran, or Decay. I am a competitive player who got started in Injustice: Gods Among Us and ended up using my artwork to get my foot in the door at Netherrealm Studio. While being at the studio, I have not only been able to input gameplay knowledge but also have done some really cool artwork for Injustice 2.
Lots of people ask me about my art background so I’d love to explain it a bit in detail here. I started drawing at about age 4, and continued drawing throughout the years and I eventually got my bachelors degree in Art and Illustration. I didn’t quite know exactly what I wanted to do with my art until my dad bought me a book called “Spectrum”, in which I saw amazing digital concept illustrations. I decided at that point that I wanted to draw for games and that I would teach myself how to draw and paint digitally. I invested in a Wacom Tablet and taught myself the rest, with the help of online tutorials.
2. When did you first start competing? What is the best placement you’ve ever gotten and what tournament?
I first started competing about half a year after the launch of Injustice: Gods Among Us’ release. At first I was just an online warrior using Lobo until people online noticed my Lobo was getting pretty damn good and suggested that I go to Eight on The Break arcade and compete locally. I went there almost every week, and then eventually started to compete in major tournaments. My first major was Summer Jam 8, which I got 9th place. The best placement I have gotten is 4th at WinterBrawl and I also have won Eight on The Break a few times.
3. What is Eight on the Break? What was a favorite memory there and how did this impact your life?
“The Break” is an amazing arcade in New Jersey which runs local fighting game tournaments on a weekly basis. EVO champion KDZ ran a lot of these tournaments and the streaming was typically done by Shock and 8 Way Run.
My favorite memory had to be getting bodied for the first time there. If it wasn’t for that, and for Zyphox saying “just keep coming here and you’ll level up super fast”, I don’t think I would have wanted to train so hard and become one of the best at that game.
4. What was King of the Bill? What do you miss most about it? Why do you think Podcasts are important to the community?
King of the Bill was a Podcast that I created with Mr. Aquaman, Honeybee and Forever King. Our idea was unique, because we would host a player in a King of the Hill game match, and fight each other for a prize at the end of the podcast. We would intentionally ask difficult questions during the matches to have players screw up! It was a blast.
I really miss it because not only was it just a great time, but it was a way to get top players to show off their skills but also joke around and let loose. I think it’s important to have that kind of outlet in a community, especially since the rise of Esports. Esports are amazing, but are so big budget and so serious, that sometimes I feel like we forget what it is that brought us here.
5. Since it’s no mystery where you are working now, what got you there?
My artwork and my competition background got me into Netherrealm Studios. A concept artist who was working at the studio stumbled upon my work on Instagram who then noticed we both share a lot of passions (art, gaming, bodybuilding) and he extended his hand to help me out. After meeting him and other studio members at Evo, we all became friends and they recommended that I look at working there as well. Since I’ve already been competing in their games, it was very obvious that I knew my stuff when it comes to frame data and gameplay mechanics as well, and I got my start in QA because of it.
6. You are known by many for your artwork. Are there any upcoming freelance projects you’re working on you can talk about? Also, who is an artist that inspires you?
I have a bunch of cool smaller freelance projects that include clothing design and whatnot. I just recently got the word that I am going to have a booth at C2E2 artist alley, so a clothing brand by the name of Sukeban NYC and I will have a joint booth, where I will be selling prints, clothing, and also hopefully sketchbooks (compilation of my sketches in a bound book). I also am working with a tournament organizer on a big project which will be announced soon!
It’s way too hard to pick just one artist who inspires me. I would say that I have a few artists who regularly inspire me, and those are: Karl Kopinsky, Dave Rapoza, Kim Jung Gi, Carlos Huante, Justin Sweet, Anthony Jones.
7. In Mortal Kombat X you were known for your Goro. What made you choose Goro and what did you love about him most?
Honestly I wasn’t really big into MKX at first, and after going through a character crisis, I selected Goro as a joke because I heard he was really a low tier character. After learning him, I realized he’s the perfect character for me because he had good damage, good footsies, and amazing armored moves. He was a struggle character but after a few patches and buffs, he ended up pretty decent. I also thought that he was awesome because he was swole as hell, and has two extra arms to get gains with.
8. You love to workout from your posts online. Were you always this fit? What advice would you give to others looking in wanting to get into fitness?
I wasn’t always fit, no. Growing up I was overweight and got picked on quite frequently. At age 16 I decided I no longer wanted to be like that, and put myself on a diet and went for jogs after school. When I was light enough to skateboard, I did that religiously and that served as my main source of cardio activity. I managed to get down to 170 from 245 after all that.
After a tragic skateboarding accident where I shattered my ankle and dislocated it, I decided that I should no longer look at skateboarding as my only source of exercise since I can’t risk getting hurt that badly again. My college roommate brought me to the campus gym and, even though I was nervous since I was the smallest person there, I fell in love with it and continued with it a decade later.
My advice would be to just get started no matter what. Don’t wait for a specific date, don’t look for the perfect gym, don’t wait on a gym partner. If you want to get in shape, you will. You can work wonders in a basement gym with $100 worth of equipment from Target, or even shred weight off by going on regular walks and jogs.
9. Here’s a fun one. Who was your favorite action hero growing up and why?
Favorite action hero was either Jackie Chan or Tony Jaa. I always loved martial arts growing up in a house with a sensei for a dad. My dad owned every single Jackie Chan movie and I ended up hearing about Tony Jaa later on after Ong Bak came out.
10. What games outside of fighting games are you playing right now? Anything you are looking forward to?
Mostly just Fortnite Battle Royale. I love shooting games, but a lot of them just get really boring or don’t have a high skill gap. What I love about Fortnite is that Epic Games is constantly updating the gameplay and taking advice from pros.
The upcoming games I’m looking forward to the most would have to be The Last of Us 2, and God of War. I really wish they would announce a new Bloodborne though!
If you would like to stay up to date with Decay you can at the following:
That’s all for this week everyone. I will have a mini art feature with some fan art at some point. If you are someone who loves to draw NRS related content please let me know and I would love to add it in with credit to you. Other than that, I will have another new interview Sunday. The interviewee will be announced mid week.
Hope you all enjoyed this installment of First to Ten.
Interview written and published by Romanova.