Giant Bomb’s Patrick Klepek recently put together a great editorial detailing the lengthy history the fighting game community has with collusion and pot splitting. While I’m certain many of you visiting this website are familiar with many of these events (the Final Round XVI match between Afterglow Elite teammates Loren “Fanatiq” Riley and Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzelez, the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 grand finals at Video X Games, etc.), the events leading up to the very first implementation of a collusion rule for the Evolution Championship Series may be foreign to newer players.
The article also features discussion with a number of prominent community members, including our very own Tom Cannon. Below, you’ll find a small excerpt from their talk with Cannon, wherein he explains the reasoning behind the new spotlight on the rule and how he sees it playing out overseas. Be sure to visit Giant Bomb to read the entire article for a history lesson on the Evo 2004 Soulcalibur II grand finals and insightful responses from other members of the community like David “UltraDavid” Graham, Jay “Viscant” Snyder of Team BROKENTIER, and Seth Killian.
Those in the community favoring the rule change said it was solely about ensuring everyone is having a good time. Some players have criticized the collusion rule as easily exploitable, and as gamers, they’ll easily find a way to break the system. Cannon welcomed these challenges, and compared players looking to sneak a fast one to sports players caught flopping. Flopping is when a player intentionally exaggerates physical contact with another player in hopes of drawing a foul. It’s hard to pull off and the referees don’t always catch it, but someone who’s exceptionally good at flopping is also exceptionally good at making it seem real.
“The rule is really designed to stop the matches at the end of the tournament from becoming a complete joke,” said Cannon. “I’m also equally sure there have probably been times where, late in the tournament, you had two friends playing each other, and in their heart of hearts, they were not playing their absolutely hardest because they know what’s going to happen. But they at least played well enough that it was a legitimate match. That’s all we’re trying to do.”
More importantly, what Cannon and others hope to clamp down on are shenanigans in the final moments of a tournament, the high-stakes moments that people wait around all day and night for. There was an unspoken commitment to organizers and fans, and now it’s written down and has consequences.
“We’re only going to invoke the rule when there is an obvious flop in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter,” he said.
One possible wrinkle comes from international tournaments, which Cannon and others have less control over. Everyone I spoke to assumed the the world would follow their lead, not wanting to be left behind. One place it won’t have any impact, though, is competitive play in Japan, as there no money prizes for legal reasons.
“The only thing to play for is, in Japan, is for pride,” said Cannon.