Gaming Square Exclusive: PND Mustard interview

We sat down with PND Mustard, known as Jake Neal. Mustard and his brother Ketchup are known for pro commentating on Mortal Kombat and even competitively. We asked questions to Mustard which we hope you all enjoy!

GS: Hey guys thanks for allowing us to speak you. How you both been in these unpredecented times and what been doing to keep yourselves busy?

M – I’ve been well thanks! Despite being in lockdown due to covid I’ve been able to keep creating content and commentating events from home so I’ve had no problems keeping busy.

GS: So, lets begin. What got you pair into fighting games in the first place?

M – Mortal Kombat was our first FG we ever played as kids, but we did play things such as Tekken 2 and Street Fighter EX2+ and Killer Instinct, though we were definitely mainly MK kids, MK9 was the first Fighting Game that got us into competitive.

GS: Personally for me Mortal Kombat was like, wow! When I saw it for the first time on the megadrive for example. I couldnt fathom what to say. What made you guys fall in love with MK, what was so special about it compared to other fighting games at that time for you both?

M – To be honest MK was just the most fun for us, the visuals, the audio, the characters, we just found it really cool overall.

GS: You guys played it competitively, how was the transition from pro competitors to pro commentators?

M – Going from pro player to commentator wasn’t as hard as we initially thought but it was still a change, the main thing for me was how your outlook on your gameplay changes, you’re no longer playing to improve as a priority you’re ultimately just trying to learn so you can equip that information on commentary, however we also started grinding as content creators around the same time so that really helped things too

GS: Whats your opinion on the FGC today compared to 10 years ago?

M – The scale of things is the biggest change from 10 years ago to now, everything is bigger/more more players, more tournaments, more money, more games, everything has just been dialed way up, which is great in my opinion as it shows much growth.

GS: From MK9, MK10 to now MK11. I personally feel the NRS scene/community has grown. Do you feel the tournaments has continued that growth?

M – You can basically take my previous answer and apply it here, everything is just bigger and in higher number, one big change for the nrs scene however was the netcode improvement to MKX, ever since then the online experience has been useful for players to improve and make a name for themselves in online tournaments, which definitely helps in the grand scheme of things.

GS: I have to applaud you guys with Hyper Combo. Seeing as we are all local, it was great to finally come out and experience what you guys were cooking. How do you feel about HC? And what’s the latest on the HC front and will we see it returning anytime soon be that online other than local?

M – Hyper Combo has been one of my proudest achievements in the FGC and it certainly isn’t only my doing! We have a great team of dedicated organizers and regular attendees that make it what it is. We always have plans to make things bigger and better though things have hit a standstill until things become safe to do again due to covid. But we’ll be back eventually absolutely.

GS: If you can, whats your favourite MK games to the least favourite?

M – I’ve always found it hard to pick my specific favorite MK, but more often than not I lean towards MK9, it’s just fun to play and has such a special place in my heart for how much I enjoyed it and what it meant to my progress as an individual in the mk world, MK9 and MK Shaolin Monks are my two favorites!

My least favorite is MK vs DC, to this day the only MK game that I actively do not like playing at all.

GS: Lets talk about the new MK movie! From a fan perspective Im sure they will get things right and of course there always be one that will hate it because it hasn’t stay true to the lore. What do you guys reckon?

M – I think it’s too early to tell what the MK movie is going to be like, we can speculate but it’s easy to set up false expectations or apprehensiveness, I’m just keeping an open mind and looking forward to seeing it, the cast is stellar so I’m optimistic, but we all know how videogame movies often turn out. I guess we’ll see!

GS: Moving to Injustice, another cracking game produced by Netherealm. Injustice 1 set the bar, Injustice 2 exceeded by miles, especially competitively. Can we see Injustice 3 going to a place where perhaps MK11 fell short of doing?

M – To be honest I disagree with the wording of this question, Injustice is a solid fighting game franchise and offers something completely different to MK, but that also means that it won’t have the same appeal universally and vice versa. MK11 continues to be one of the best selling and heaviest supported games NRS has ever made, as Injustice 2 was before it. I think it’s less about picking up where games slip up and more about the ongoing continuation of growth from game to game. That being said I actually don’t know if I think that we’ll be seeing Injustice 3 soon, NRS have said many times they want to break the cycle of a new game every two years and this could definitely be the case from what we’ve seen.

GS: What characters would you like to see Injustice 3 that haven’t been in the series yet?

M – I’m not Sure huge DC guy so my character requests haven’t always been so heavy, but I’m a big batman fan so I’d LOVE to see Mr Freeze, Clay face, maybe Judge Dredd as a guest due to the comics link? Could be cool!

GS: Going back to the UK FGC scene. As a whole, do you think more can be done to make it as popular like it is in America, Japan and S.Korea?

M – I think the UKFGC is doing just fine honestly, you have to remember that the UK is absolutely tiny in comparison to North America/Asia, considering the UKs size as a country I think the scale of things is more than healthy, VSF remains to be the biggest tournament in Europe, almost every fighting game out right now has at least one tip level player from the UK with impressive results and the community overall is great, always growth is nice but I don’t think the UK has anything at all to worry about.

GS: Where can we keep upto date on what you guys are doing and is there any future projects you got going on?

M – Social media is the easiest place to find us! Twitter @PNDMustard @PNDKetchup We’re always staying busy in the content space so we’ll always be around!

We greatly appreciate Jake for doing this. You can catch Mustard and Ketchup on twitch too!

We hope you enjoyed the read. Expect more content from Gaming Square, stay tuned!

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