Rise of the eSports Hero delivers candid interviews about the pressures of competition and the business of professional gaming.
Rise of the eSports Hero, a documentary about the professional gamers playing StarCraft II, premiered on Saturday, October 26. From Canadian production studio Landrock Entertainment, the documentary follows three players from the StarCraft II division of Team Evil Geniuses (EG). The documentary explores the passion that these young men have for the game, and the challenges they face in pursuing a career as a professional gamer. WarCry spoke with producer Erica Landrock before the premiere about making the documentary.
The documentary follows players Chris "HuK" Loranger, Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson, and Greg "IdrA" Fields. Each are at different stages of their careers. Fields, one of the best players in the world, is facing a losing streak and considering retirement. Loranger was recently poached from rival team Team Liquid with a lucrative contract. Robinson is splitting his time between competing as a player and commentating on tournament games as an eSports caster.
Rise of the eSports Hero doesn't sugar coat the life of professional gamers. Though playing professionally can be lucrative - the top players have lifetime earnings of almost $400,000 USD - the players must commit to punishing training schedules and travel widely to compete, often living out of suitcases. Fields says, "Most anyone has the physical dexterity necessary to do what we do, but it's about lining that up with what's happening mentally."
Five tournaments are featured in the documentary, one in 2011 (Major League Gaming (MLG) Orlando) and four in 2012 (MLG Anaheim, MLG Raleigh, IGN ProLeague 4 in Las Vegas, and North American Star League 3 in Toronto, Ontario). At MLG Anaheim, an event with 20,000 attendees and over 5 million watching via live stream, Fields places ninth overall. Struggling after months of losses, he says, "There's honestly not a lot of passion left in me for eSports. I don't think I'll be here in a year."
Meanwhile, tension is growing between Loranger, who has not managed to win a tournament for EG, and the management. Scott Smith, EG's Chief Operating Officer, describes Loranger as "a petulant little brat." Loranger admits he is difficult to work with, but his demands eventually drive his manager, Cody Connors, to take a leave of absence.
Still on contract as a player, Robinson's time spent commentating is grating at management. Professional commentators Daniel "Artosis" Stemkoski and Nicolas "Tasteless" Plott think that both playing professionally and commentating for tournaments is too demanding. Stemkoski says, "I would say it's time for Geoff to switch over to commentating full time."
Rise of the eSports Hero is now available for streaming from Global Television, but only if you are in Canada. Landrock Entertainment is currently working with a distributor and is hopeful about getting the film out to other countries soon. Announcements and updates will be posted to the film's Facebook page and on Twitter.