One of the best fighting game players in the world is retiring

One of the best fighting game players in the world made a shocking announcement today that he has decided to retire

Photo via PR Balrog/Facebook

One of the best fighting game players in the world made a shocking announcement today that he has decided to retire.

American player Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez took to Twitter to inform his followers that he was stepping away from the game:

So I’ve made a decision. It wasn’t easy but I’ll be retiring from fighting games this year. I sincerely appreciate the love that I got >

— Ed (@PR_Balrog) January 12, 2015

To say that the announcement was unexpected would be an understatement. Just last month, Capcom announced a minimum $500,000 prize pool for the 2015 Capcom Cup season, making it by far the richest competition ever to hit the fighting game scene. If that tournament proves a success for Capcom and partner Sony, that prize pool will likely only get bigger.

It would seem a great time for one of the world’s best fighting game players to step up their game and commit to playing full-time. Instead, Perez now has an eye towards retirement.

Perez did clarify after some discussion that he would play out the remaining tournaments on the 2015 schedule, which includes the entirety of this year’s Capcom Cup series. And it’s possible that he might change his mind over the months to come. But he also made it clear that this was not a snap decision, and the he was already comfortable with it.

@ultradavid I don’t play for the money, I play to be the best. And like I said this is my last year so I’ll compete until the year ends.

— Ed (@PR_Balrog) January 12, 2015

Perez also offered that, in the future, he might move on to commentary.

Few fighting game players have achieved the sort of consistent success Perez has over the past several years. This includes five separate top eight finishes in four different games at Evo, the world’s biggest fighting games event.

That sort of success, spread across different styles of games, has become a Perez hallmark. In 2014, he managed to finish in the top eight in three separate tournaments for different games at three major events. His most impressive run of the year may have come at Final Round, when he finished as runner-up in Street Fighter 4, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Killer Instinct.

Not many players can offer such versatility at the very highest levels of play. Perez not only offers it, he excels at it.

He is most notable, however, for his use of the character Balrog in Street Fighter 4. Perez was invited to the highly selective Topanga World League in Japan last year, the invitation as good a marker as any of his skill and ability.

Should Perez follow through on his announcement, this could be a particularly emotional year for the 28-year-old star, depending on how things go at the biggest events on the calendar.

I said this year so don’t think I’m not going to be at EVO and trying to qualify for capcom cup!! Ill try to go out with a bang!!!

— Ed (@PR_Balrog) January 12, 2015

Perez signed with Evil Geniuses in 2012 and has played for the team since. He is widely known for his affable personality in addition to his talents in-game, and if he does indeed retire at year’s end, he will surely leave many fans echoing the sentiments of commentator James Chen.

@PR_Balrog Eduardo, no!!! Who will be my favorite player now?!?

— James Chen (@jchensor) January 12, 2015