New Red Bull CS:GO documentary hits all the notes of one of esports' finest eras

New Red Bull CS:GO documentary hits all the notes of one of esports' finest eras
Image via Redbull Gaming

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

27th Mar 2024 16:30

Redbull Gaming has released a documentary on the evolution of the tactical-FPS Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and its esports scene told through the stories of its main actors, the professional players.

"Memories of CS:GO - The Early Years" is by Director Tom Newman and serves as a comprehensive chronicle of CS:GO's journey from its rocky inception to becoming an esports juggernaut.

Through detailed interviews and personal anecdotes of iconic players, the documentary, narrated by shoutcaster Henry "HenryG" Greer, delves into the trials, triumphs, and resilient spirit of the CS:GO community.

An unlikely rise

The documentary begins by confronting the scepticism that greeted CS:GO upon its release, trying to fuse two scenes of its predecessors as well as the economic struggles of its early release cycle for the professional scene.

Players and commentators alike recall their initial impressions, painting a picture of a community grappling with the future of their beloved franchise. "What a sh*t game it was," Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg, reflecting the sentiment of many at the time.

Yet, as the narrative unfolds, a story of gradual acceptance and eventual adoration emerges, as f0rest surmises: "CS:GO became the saviour of the Counter-Strike genre." The turning point, as highlighted in the documentary, came through continuous updates from the developer, Valve and an active engagement with the community.

Interviews with players who witnessed these changes first-hand reveal how new maps, improved mechanics, and responsive game design slowly won over the hearts of sceptics. The film tracks these developments, interspersed with footage from early tournaments, showcasing the growing excitement around CS:GO.

Personal stories of triumph and heartache

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Beyond the tournaments and the gameplay, Memories of CS:GO delves deep into the personal stories that define the essence of esports, in which the distance from fan to legend is often just a chat message away.

One segment features five-time Major winner Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen dedicating his team's major victory to his late father, a poignant reminder of the personal stakes often invisible to spectators. 

"He passed away just before I got here," he shared in a vulnerable moment on stage at IEM Katowice 2019, the event dupreeh's Astralis would claim their third Major championship. "When I got there, it kind of felt like I got to my second family in some sense," dupreeh tells Casper "cadiaN" Møller in an exchange of Counter-Strike legends for the documentary.

Another narrative thread explores the camaraderie and tensions within teams, particularly focusing on the now-legendary lineup changes of certain top squads. The documentary sheds light on the difficult decisions and intense pressures that shape the careers of professional gamers.

"This was definitely the last chance for that lineup to win a major," f0rest recalls with former rival Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg, shining light on a desperate bid for glory at a pivotal moment. The anxiety, hope, and ultimate triumph of these players are captured in intimate interviews, offering viewers an inside look at the dynamics that drive competitive teams.

Through these stories and more, Memories of CS:GO - The Early Years crafts a multifaceted portrait of the CS community. From the highs of groundbreaking victories to the lows of devastating losses, the documentary encapsulates the emotional spectrum of competitive gaming.

It's these personal narratives, interwoven with the broader story of CS:GO's rise that almost didn’t happen, that make the film an essential watch for both long-time fans and newcomers alike.

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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