The legendary talent sat down with GGRecon during the 'B site' reveal to talk all things Flashpoint!
If Flashpoint is remembered by one phrase, we hope it is: “If [you] can’t hang, this ain’t the league for you.”
Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields has evolved. Once the self-titled ‘esports historian’, the Englishman has become more a part of esports history himself. With his vision of a new Counter-Strike league, entitled Flashpoint, being realised, he spoke defiantly about his new baby to us.
“I feel like we’re building an escape capsule for Counter-Strike and we’re hopefully going to escape the dumpster fire that is the other franchise leagues which, as far as I can tell, is everyone else just bleeding money. It’s like a zombie apocalypse, who will be the last one left? You can be the king of the post-apocalyptic world, but what will there be when everyone else has bled out?”
Thorin isn’t exactly glowing about the future of the esports scene, and he’s similarly critical of rivals ESL.
“Everyone is in a desperate position. Even though I certainly don’t like the ethics, and the professional way that ESL has approached some of the things they’ve done with their pro league, I certainly understand the intention behind it and what the impetus is. They’re in a burning house right now, and they’re willing to push somebody else out of the window if it means they get a little bit more oxygen to breathe.”
One of the biggest controversies around the new league, organised by FACEIT but in part run by creative director Thorin, is the news that teams who drop out of the top 20 rankings will be fined $100,000 per month until they get back in.
Thorin, though, doesn’t think it’s controversial.
“What they’re worried about is ‘oh won’t it be unfair that they might have to pay the money?’. No, actually, I don’t think it’s unfair that if you are the 30th best team in the world and you want to sustain in a league where teams are buying in for millions… that you can just mess around and do what the Shanghai Dragons did in Overwatch League and lose 42 games in a row and then say ‘can I have my share of the profit?’ No, that seems unreasonable to me.”
Even mid-interview, he can’t help himself from having a bit of a dig at some underperforming teams.
“If I had to predict, I would guess some of [the partner teams] would be paying some fines. And they’re going to be paying it to some of their direct rivals.
“As a CS fan, I’m greedy. I love the fact that this means that now, if your general manager is rubbish, you better fire him and hire someone who knows a lot about the game. If your coach isn’t good enough for these players, get a better coach. And of course, if your players aren’t good enough, you better go and get the best players. Then we’ll talk.”
If you were to suggest that it’s not worth it to buy the best, Thorin has a riposte for you.
“It costs you less to buy coldzera than for a year’s worth of fines.”
Speaking of finances, Thorin believes the WWE method of pay-per-view is the best method in the future, but claims “there is no pay-per-view concept on the horizon” for now. But, he likes the way they were able to create what they wanted.
“Those things can make it to the mainstream, but even when they do, they do it their own way. By forcing the mainstream to come to them, they don’t sacrifice anything about the way the sports were.”
He’s aware that Flashpoint will need to make money, though, and his idea is that video content “can be as big a selling point as the games themselves” in the future.
“When I follow the NFL or UFC, I don’t really watch when the game or fight is on. Half of it is watching the hype for it, to set the storylines up.”
“When you play a match with the two best teams in Counter-strike, the viewership, and the money made from the viewership, doesn’t even pay the salaries of the players who turned up to the server… they’re only good at wiggling their hand and shooting people in the head. They can leave the rest of it to us, we’ll figure it all out and make them those millions for that brilliant wiggle they do.”
Image via Flashpoint.