Are you satisfied with the event so far?
Erik: “Well we are only two days in but so far it’s been really great. We learned a lot from Eclipse 1, I guess we learned more about what not to do and what to do. Now we’ve gotten more help from the excellent Liva of Geeky Goon Squad. That helped us out immensely. So just getting the right people to do the right things. We haven’t really hit any big snags this year. We had all the proper equipment, we have backups where we need to have backups, the stream is going well.
I have no main concern for tomorrow which is kinda weird because something is definetly going to happen I guess. Hopefully we have enough setups and we can avoid time snags like the event slowing down in the first 2 to 3 rounds. We had to start a bit late today because we had to take a strike into account in Norway by train operators. That restricted people to the bus so that stalled the first wave which delayed everything by half an hour. That isn’t much but it’s something we wanted to avoid as last time we also had an hour delay.
About Liva. I had never met him before, only seen his amazing work. I was yelled at by the community last time because we decided to go with a tv crew last time. That was a huge mistake. We thought we had the necessary equipment, which we had, but we didn’t necessarily have the knowhow. We had done other eSports well before but Smash is a different kind of beast. There are so many things that people in the scene are accustomed to that we perhaps couldn’t deliver 100%. In our defence we also had a very big misfortune that the French shooting last year required the TV crews that we intended to use for Eclipse had to rush to France to cover that tragedy. So we were short on people and equipment. That’s not an excuse but an explanation to what happened.
We were new to the scene then and we’ve learned a lot over the past year so we hope that we can actually manage to think about what we can improve and actually improve it.
And Liva is awesome, seriously that guy!
Philipp ‘Liva’ Bürkner of Geeky Goon Squad hard at work behind the scenes
Howie: “I am satisfied. Something that often happens is that for the tournament that I run the attendants are satisfied but as TOs I see potential improvements and you I become sort of a perfectionist. So you can go for few hours and feel that you’re not ahead but everyone is super happy which takes a lot of weight of your shoulders to get that confirmation.
Erik: “We also like trying new things. So regarding our relationship with the streamer we just said if you want to try something new then just go crazy and we’ll get the equipment for you to handle it. We’re trying out a couple of things with both the on stage presence, broadcasting the commentary over FM radio in which I think we are unique. I see people going around with radios though I don’t think it’s being used to the full extent because it’s new so we could probably improve in how we facilitate the usage of it.
Are you considering multi language commentary at some point?
Erik: “I think that when we are at that point when can have multiple commentary tracks then we’ve really made it. I guess it’s possible and is a good idea actually. But as far as I know the Smash scene is intensely occupied with English. Even at Norwegian locals with Norwegian viewers the commentary is still in English.”
Howie: “We usually prefer English commentary because of the promotional value but if we have aspiring commentators then we allow them to commentate in Norwegian to grow comfortable in the role and then move on to English afterwards. So we don’t do English exclusively. We need more commentators in Norway!
Erik: “I also think that with multilanguage stuff you’re dividing things where it’s not necessary at all. It’s an international thing. I know the big players do it like DOTA has it’s own chinese production for the international events but I’m not sure if the Smash scene is better served by having multi language.
Howie: “As we are still a community in development, I wouldn’t say that multilanguage commentary is the primary focus and we have more important focus points. “
Looking at the European scene as a whole, what direction do you think the scene should go in?
Erik: “Keep going! That’s pretty much it. We have a healthy scene right now. Of course there are some countries that aren’t on the way up as much as the others but you’re getting some distinctive tournaments going on right now. Like Heir doing their thing, Syndicate growing, Eclipse and Beast is branching out into other games. I feel like almost every member of the group of large European tournaments has their own identity and that’s quite important. If everyone was the same then it would be much easier to skip out on some of them. And then of course there’s DreamHack which is pretty much the closest thing we have to a super Major in Europe, that’s always good to have as it’s something to aspire too.
Howie: ”Tournament wise I would advice quality over quantity. If everybody wants a Major all the time we won’t have any Majors. Because it will divide people over all the events. So in the future I think we should try to get more involved and get countries to cooperate on identifying improvements for these tournaments. I would like to give a huge shout out to Ed from Team Heir, I have a lot of respect for him and we talk things over whenever we are wondering about something and he’s always there to give tips.
Erik: “If you raise the ocean all the boats in it also get raised. That’s a Norwegian saying loosely translated to English. If everyone works together we can do it.
Also quality over quantity is super important. It’s a problem currently present in other eSports. For example in Counter Strike there has been a huge problem with having all these Majors that are always the equivalent to the Champions League and are always ongoing. So why would you care about b or c tier events when you can always look at Barcelona playing against Real Madrid. It’s a big problem if we get saturated by huge events. You can’t build up hype for something that’s always there. This is probably a problem that’s more present in the United States but it’s a trap to be wary of over here as well though I don’t think we reached this point yet in Europe.
Howie: “I’d say rather the opposite, we are starting to cooperate more between countries so for us it’s very natural between Norway and Sweden and me and Lolex helping each other out. After I started in the community these scenes have grown even closer. Both in the attendance numbers at events but also the trust we have in each other to help out at these events.”
Erik: “We’re in a good path I think and it looks really bright for the European Smash community now. We’re seeing European players get better and better and better.
It’s still early days though.”
Yeah that feels a bit weird to say considering the scene is older than 10 years but it’s an understandable remark. What would you say are the biggest challenges that we’re facing now?
Erik: “*jokes* Brexit
While we’re together, Europe is still quite divided. Last year no one from the UK came to Eclipse. So we had to pester them a bit. But we’re seeing things like conflicting holiday dates that only apply in one country. You have so many variables when it comes to Europe, that makes it difficult to cooperate efficiently.”
Howie: ”What separates Europe from the USA is that they are more easily recognised as one unit. Also in terms of travelling options, it’s much easier to travel to another state then a different country. It can easily appear as a lot of effort to go through to travel to a foreign event.
Erik: “There’s also the language barrier though I don’t really mean language per se but culture differences and currencies, economy etc. Economy especially is on everyone’s lips when they think of Norway because it is expensive.”
Howie: “Yeah and each of the countries within Europe has a very distinct background though as the time progresses the lines between us become more blurred through social media for example. We know each other now and we know our cultural differences and these are never really a challenge as we respect each other.”
Is Pressfire interested in getting involved with other European events?
Erik: “Pressfire is in pretty weird financial spot right now because when we started Eclipse we were part of a much much larger media company called Aller Media which is a Danish company. We had pretty much unlimited amounts of money but right now we split off. It makes things much easier when organising things because we have less management layers to go through but it also makes is more difficult to branch out. Of course the goal is to do that, we want to get bigger, we want the Smash things that we do to get bigger but there are no plans as of now. But hopefully we can position ourselves together with Smash Norway to be a powerhouse in Europe. That’s a dream of course and the competition is stiff. Beast is a beast, there’s DreamHack and now Syndicate and Heir.”
Thanks for the interview, any closing remarks?
Erik: “It’s been an amazing year for us at Pressfire to experience the Smash scene. We came in as total newbies but Smash Norway got us on the right track. Everyone that works at Pressfire is now super into the Smash scene which is kinda crazy. We all play the game and have done so since the n64 era but now we think that the most interesting scene is the Smash scene. Because it has a narrative which is unrivaled in eSports and it has a community which is so driven on a much lower level than anything else we’ve seen. So it’s been an amazing journey and it was all worth it, we worked really hard to make Eclipse as good as we can and seeing people actually come here and have fun is amazing. So we would like to thank everyone that came here, everyone that supports us from home by watching the stream and I hope everyone had a good time and liked what we did.”
Photographs used were taken by myself, the Eclipse twitter, photograph of Liva by MrSnakeEater.