For the sixth year in a row, the largest Dota 2 event in the world will be heading to Seattle.
That’s in spite of concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporary halting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.
The news was inadvertently revealed in a press release focused on the International 7’s cosplay competition.
The fact that Syria and Iran were on the list of banned countries raised the ire of the international Dota 2 community. Team Liquid captain Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is an Iranian citizen, while Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi has Syrian heritage.
A number of teams and players from regions such as Southeast Asia, China, and Eastern Europe have struggled to acquire visas to attend the International since its relocation to the U.S. In 2016, LGD Gaming’s Xue “September” Zhichuan missed the event altogether after his visa application was denied four times.
In an extended roundtable discussion with PC Gamer on Feb. 10, Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson were asked whether the executive order would influence affect the tournament’s location. “Ideally we’d run it here [in Seattle] because it has a bunch of advantages being close to our office,” Johnson replied. “But the event’s going to happen. So yes, if it became too difficult, we’d find a way.”
Launched in 2011 in tandem with the beta-release of Dota 2, the first International took place in Cologne during the annual GamesCom expo. Since 2012, however, the mega-event has taken place in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and Key Arena.