GeT_RiGhT on CS2, f0rest's karaoke skills, and planning a Swedish LAN
"I'm a repeat listener. I find one song and listen to it until my ears bleed,” admits Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund at Dreamhack Winter in Jonköping Sweden. For over 15 years, that song was professional Counter-Strike.
It’s the day after the 11th anniversary of his and his team Ninjas in Pyjamas’ victory at this very location, Dreamhack Winter 2012, beating VeryGames in the Grand Finals in a clean 2-0, and GeT_RiGhT has been looking back at the journey with GGRecon.
"If you could have anyone of your old teammates as a karaoke partner, who would you pick?” Anticipating where the question would lead, it takes him approximately 104ms to answer.
"f0rest!” GeT_RiGhT was holding the angle on that one.
"Is he a good singer," we ask.
"He’s not that bad. But he 100% believes he’s really good."
All those eleven years ago, they were on top of the world in a new game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, amassing a legendary 87-0 win streak together. GeT_RiGhT recalls the event at the time, saying: "Dreamhack took a gamble because CSGO just came out. Everyone hated it."
While not directly comparable, Counter-Strike 2 is off to a relatively rocky start, recording one of the lowest concurrent player levels on Steam in recent memory, dropping down 30% from its CS:GO base. The skin market, arguably also a proxy for popularity, has seen a significant loss in value too.
"I see it as a regrowth and I think it's like we need to find back to our identity a little bit,” GeT_RiGhT explains, while also acknowledging that the game has rough edges in its movement, spraying, tapping, and crucially the overall feel of the game. Nevertheless, he’s enjoying the changes and found his joy in playing again, recording five hours of just CS2 on average each day on his stream since gaining access to the Limited Test.
"I'm having fun. And that's what games are all about in the end, you know,” he says now and one might think this is unencumbered joy, free of any competitive pressures. Perhaps that’s just GeT_RiGhT though.
In an interview at the Copenhagen Games in 2012 with HLTV, the Swede gave his take on the state of Global Offensive, saying: "From trying it out in New York where it had even more bugs than it has now, they’ve come a long way…movement and grenade wise… I just take it for a new game and it’s really fun to play.”
Remarkably consistent in his views on new Counter-Strike versions, GeT_RiGhT remains relaxed on the progress the game is making, even with the two announced Majors setting the timer on Valve to improve play.
Cognisant of his change of position, he’s cool with the change to MR12 too, saying "I do generally believe it’s a good change;" before pausing himself briefly, then adding "Maybe not at least for Tier 1. I don't think they like it that much. But for me, that is a streamer nowadays, I'm playing more for fun, so like it's nice to have like fast forwarding game."
While streaming and acting as a Monster Gaming ambassador, the energy company that also paid GGRecon’s travel to Dreamhack Winter, GeT_RiGhT hasn’t turned his back on competition just yet.
On top of the odd showmatch, he is also eyeing a potential move to coaching as he shared with Dot Esports. It appears to bug him how Sweden has fallen from its top position in the Counter-Strike world, only rarely producing top-tier teams anymore. During GeT_RiGhT’s CS reign, Sweden had often dominated the scene and it was seldom the case that a Swedish team would be absent from the finals at home.
Long gone is the era of NiP and Fnatic. No current HLTV top 10 team starts a Swedish player. Indeed, Griffin "shaGuar" Benger’s "What’s up now Swedes," has rarely been as applicable. And yet GeT_RiGhT is optimistic about the future, stating that the Swedish scene is “already rebuilding itself,” pointing towards tournaments on the horizon and some of the old guard taking up mentor roles.
"[Jesper "JW" Wecksell] is a good example. He is playing with a lot of young players now. But he also changes. You can see it in his gameplay. He's a good Operator to me. It's not explosive like he was before, but he still does really well in my opinion."
Moreover, he also sees the Swedish infrastructure rebuilding itself: "We have a lot more Swedish teams now from mostly Swedish organisations, which is even better for the Swedish industry. We have a lot more tournaments coming in as well."
There is a worrying trend in the Swedish community. Possibly a chicken and egg situation, amid a lack of international success, fewer Swedish fans have started to turn up, which in turn has inclined less local talent to commit to the scene. Dreamhack Winter in Jonköping is a historic event by esports standards and despite hosting the ESL Challenger League with teams like Monte, GamerLegion, and Virtus.pro, the live audience for CS was sparse. Perhaps that is unsurprising, given that there was only one Swedish player in GamerLegion’s Isak "isak" Fahlén in attendance.
“It feels like the Swedish fans, they're not there anymore. [...] They're hiding there somewhere, just waiting patiently for something cool to happen,“ GeT_RiGhT contemplates, convinced that they’ll return once the national success does too.
In this vein, he tells us that he has a plan... "I'm trying to do my own tournament."
"I don't need the funding for it. I'm actually taking it out of my own pocket, which I'm more happy with. But I'm still trying to plan it" GeT_RiGhT explains. The region is not short of its own tournaments, with the likes of the Svenska Elitserien, run by another former Counter-Strike legend in Emil "HeatoN" Christensen.
"[It] is just for Swedes. So it's not international. Hopefully,2 it becomes international"
Rest assured, there's energy to create and raise ambitions: "I'm still trying to figure out how to do it in a good way. What do I want to do and what do I want to build for? [...] Do you need to get a license for it? Do you need to have broadcast rights? How do you do that? Do you want to have sponsors too? Which one do you think works the best for it?"
While nothing is set in stone, we hope this is something that turns into reality.