ZeRo on coming out of retirement, why he joined Tempo Storm, and his thoughts on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

"Ultimately Tempo Storm was more in line with what I needed and where my goals were."

Photo via Tempo Storm

Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios is perhaps the greatest Smash 4 player to ever grace the scene.

He’s well-known for his famous 56-tournament win streak that began when the Wii U game was released in 2014 all the way until he lost against Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada at the MLG World Finals in 2015.

ZeRo has won most major tournaments in a career of highs and shocking lows, but no one can take away his accomplishments. He’s a household name, a player who anyone in the scene should inspire to be like, and he’s set to compete in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the new year as a part of Tempo Storm.

For ZeRo, 2019 is the year he returns to the competitive Smash scene after a short stint in retirement to compete in a brand-new Super Smash Bros. game—and he has his eyes set on reaching the top.

From retirement to signing with a new team

The past year has been a wild ride for ZeRo. After initially retiring from the Smash Bros. Wii U scene in January due to feeling satisfied with his achievements, ZeRo took up streaming full time as he waited for the next Smash game to appear in the future.

He didn’t have to wait long, however—Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was revealed mere months after his retirement. A few months before the release of Ultimate, ZeRo signed with Tempo Storm and announced his return to the competitive scene—and he believes the break was well worth it.

“When I took my break, I knew that it would take the right set of opportunities for me to decide to come back.” ZeRo told Dot Esports. “I also think it was a good time to take a break and it was really needed, so I’m definitely more into it now than I was before I left.”

The switch from TSM, an organization that ZeRo had been a part of for a long time, came as a surprise. On TSM, ZeRo won countless titles and became one of the organization’s biggest names. But ZeRo decided it was time for a switch despite his long-standing history with the org.

“Ultimately Tempo Storm was more in line with what I needed and where my goals were,” ZeRo said. “TSM was gracious with me and gave me so much help so I’ll always be thankful to them for my time there.”

Setting his sights on Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now only a few days away from coming out. 

While the game has been leaked in previous weeks, one player that has had his fair share of time on the game before release is ZeRo. Not only did he win the first major tournament for Ultimate when he won the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate E3 Invitational, he has also been one of the main players when it comes to analyzing new characters and checking out the latest Nintendo Directs.

And based on what he’s played thus far, ZeRo likes what he sees. “It’s way more fun than Smash 4 already,” ZeRo said. “They toned down rage and added more movement options. This already makes the game much more competitive. I think it’s already much more fun than Smash 4. I think we are on a really good path here.”

For ZeRo, his ambitions in the scene are always going to be high. He’s a player who wants to win it all, after all, and a single invitational win is surely the first of many titles that will be coming his way. “I’m going to aim to surpass my previous accomplishments in Smash 4,” ZeRo said. “Let’s see how far I get. That’s the fun of it now.”

Characters galore

Spending so much time analyzing the game or theorycrafting will always lead people to create their own opinions and perceptions. And according to ZeRo, one character on the roster stands out above the rest. That character is Pikachu.

Pikachu, according to ZeRo, has “devastating combos and he has the best off-stage recovery and the least amount of disadvantages.” ZeRo also believes that his short height is a great advantage as it makes him hard to hit. ZeRo has analyzed Pikachu in Ultimate in depth on his YouTube channel.

Of course, just because he thinks that Pikachu is strong doesn’t mean that he plans to pick up the Pokémon in-game. ZeRo has said in the past that he’s thinking of picking Diddy Kong, a character he’s famous for playing in Smash 4, Shulk, Lucina, Young Link, and Richter Belmont in Ultimate.

Richter should come as no surprise for those who know ZeRo. “Of the new guys, my favorite is definitely Simon and Richter,” ZeRo said. “I’m a big Castlevania guy so it shocked me to see them in the game.” It’ll be interesting to see who ZeRo actually decides to play competitively in the new year.

ZeRo also hopes a unique character will join the roster in the future as DLC, though. “It’s gotta be Sora from Kingdom Hearts,” ZeRo said. If Sora does get in, however, Geno fans might be a little disappointed that he isn’t the potential Square Enix DLC representative.