Brian “Brian_F” Foster, maybe more than anyone in the fighting game community, is on the verge of becoming the hottest commodity available.
His community, affectionately nicknamed “The Dumpster,” which follows and cheers him on when he streams his online sets, tournament runs, training mode lab time or when he plays miscellaneous popular games, was curated because of his hard work and grind-heavy mentality coupled with a very relatable personality. After taking some inspiration from other popular creators like Ludwig Ahgren to create a brand that is both authentically himself and valuable to people new to the niche fighting game genre, Brian_F struck a great balance between unique streaming and video ideas and high-level competition. He wears many hats, including being a content creator, streamer, competitor, and most recently a show host and commentator.
Despite all the success, he wants people to know that he is first and foremost a big-time competitor with aspirations to play against the best in the world. That competitive fire that started when he was in college grinding Street Fighter IV never quite died out. In fact, because of his increasing popularity, it’s growing.
“I still have the drive to compete, and it’s a personal vendetta to do so. Just because I was able to grow in all the spaces I wanted to, there’s still a chip on my shoulder,” Brian_F said. “I’m hoping the last season for the tour will go well because I want to prove to people I can still kick some ass in Street Fighter in addition to all the other things I do.”
For Street Fighter, nothing quite eclipses the accomplishment of qualifying for the biggest tournament in the Capcom Pro Tour (CPT), the Capcom Cup, and Brian_F did just that for the 2021 season. His two second-place finishes for the CPT Midwest qualifiers granted him the label of Capcom Cup contender as well as completing the largest checkmark off his competitor bucket list.
Right after his victory over Kevin “Dual Kevin” Barrios to qualify for the grand final of the Capcom Pro Tour Midwest online qualifier, Brian_F breathed in the moment and eased off his chair for the emotions swirling inside him. He teared up when the understanding that he qualified for his goal fully hit him and had to regain focus to try to take down the entire tournament.
Photo credit: Red Bull content pool
While the stakes were lower despite it being the grand final, his final hurdle was Rob “RobTV” Burney. Burney, who is a training partner, co-host of the Capcom Pro Tour show “No Neutral” and friend, also doubled as his biggest tournament demon. Brian_F admitted that he has not been able to beat a top-level Karin player (the character Burney played) since 2018, and it would be the same result for the final CPT Midwest qualifier.
“I couldn’t let that asshole beat me again,” Brian_F said. “He beat me 3-1, but I didn’t care as much because I still relished the moment of making it. It wasn’t the original circumstance of traveling to open tournaments and it may not be as respected or revered as before, but I prepared for that event, and no one can take that away from me. There was deep satisfaction and validation as well as relief for finally having that -- more so than I thought there would be.”
Brian_F would lose out on his opportunity to compete in a traditional Capcom Cup when it was announced that as a health precaution, the tournament would end up as a series of exhibition matches between the winner and runners-up from each region’s qualifiers.
“I was really looking forward to Capcom Cup and I thought I would do well with causing upsets and have a chance to play with so many top players,” Brian_F said. “I thought it would be one of the best Capcom Cups because it had an Olympic and a unifying feel with all the region qualifications. When it was announced that it was canceled, my motivation tanked. I understand the decision for it, but it really killed the motivation to continue playing without something like that.”
With that announcement and his elation fading, there was no stopping the thoughts flooding through his mind that he lost his chance to do something at the potential peak of his game.
“It was a numbness, and with so many things canceled at that point, it was almost expected. You almost saw it coming and it just sucked,” Brian_F said. “It felt like a prime time to peak, and I felt like I just missed my shot to get to that point again. I have no idea if things will line up like that again. It’s a little rough because in the back of my head I’m thinking that was my shot and it’s gone.”
Brian_F was unmotivated and burnt out and instead focused his attention on rediscovering the spark that made him love Street Fighter V in the first place. That came in the form of the character Oro and with a new character came new content ideas and streams of ranked play, fighting game advice and consistent YouTube video releases.
What was once the worst news for Brian_F’s competitive side ended up being arguably the best thing to happen to his overall popularity and brand. His reputation as a top player and clear chemistry with Burney spurred Capcom to give them a platform to preview and commentate on CPT events. His renewed fire with playing the game and relearning everything through the perspective of a difficult character allowed him to create streams and videos that focused on how to learn fundamentals. Brian_F was going through this process in real-time and taking his community along with him.
“I was tired of playing Rob. The whole point of the Capcom Cup was to play people I could not play in two years. It sounds anti-competitive, but that was the truth. I did not have the motivation to play him again, and I wanted to play new people,” Brian_F said. “I shifted my focus after to the long-term, and with Oro, my other project, so I still had something to branch out and grow within the game.”
With that, The Dumpster community continues to grow, and Brian_F’s YouTube platform expanded to two active channels for both his videos and clips from the livestreams. While he may play in a genre that is still mostly sheltered from mainstream attention, he brings reputable skill and top-tier performance with an engaging personality. Brian_F may contemplate whether or not his peak is in the past, but his future ahead is as bright as ever.
Lead photo credit: Red Bull content pool