Dec 31 2013 - 9:12 pm

After owner's mysterious disappearance, an eSports team collapses

Quantic Gaming, a North American eSports team with squads in League of Legends and StarCraft 2, appears to be breaking apart
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

Quantic Gaming, a North American eSports team with squads in League of Legends and StarCraft 2, appears to be breaking apart. The team's CEO went missing two weeks ago. Well before that, he'd stopped paying his players.

Simon Boudreault, Quantic’s 23-year-old Canadian owner, has not been in contact with Bernie Catalan, the team’s chief operating officer, since an instant message on Dec. 13. The last time he spoke to anyone in his company was a brief conversation with the team’s media manager on Dec. 17.

Prior to disappearing, Boudreault told friends and associates in the eSports industry that he was going to get a biopsy on a lump on his lung. A source close to Boudreault says he quoted doctors as saying there was a “double digit percentage that the found matter would be cancerous.” The Daily Dot was unable to independently confirm this. Repeated calls to Boudreault’s office at his family’s IT company, as well as his former employer, Sustema, were not returned.

Boudreault inherited his wealth when his father, who owned the Canadian IT firm Sustema, passed away several years ago and left the company to his sons. In 2011, Boudreault bought a minor team called 4Not. He purchased the Quantic Gaming brand in February of this year.

Boudreault is said to have spent most of his salary—as much as $200,000 according to Quantic staffers—on eSports. Recently, the cash has not flowed easily.

Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun, a Korean StarCraft 2 player on the Quantic roster, has not received his salary of about $2,200 per month for several months, according to several Quantic staffers. Although Hyun had been talking with Boudreault about recouping lost pay, the two have since lost contact.

Earlier this year, StarCraft 2 player Harry "MaSsan" Cheong accused Boudreault of mistreating and mismanaging him. He left the team in October, shortly after receiving the money Boudreault owed him.

In May, rumors were already swirling that Quantic was about to go out of business.  

"Quantic Gaming is far from going under,” Boudreault wrote at the time. “We have seen more activity in the month of May than we ever had since the revival. Our teams, activity and results are stronger than they ever been."

In August, Quantic sold its Counter-Strike team to Complexity Gaming, a decade-old American eSports team.

With Hyun on the way out and the Counter-Strike squad sold off, the League of Legends team was Quantic’s last. Now it’s left the organization as well.

Signs of trouble have been visible throughout the year. Quantic brought its team, composed entirely of South Koreans, to America to attempt to qualify for the League Championship Series, the game’s highest competition. The visas secured by Quantic, however, weren't good for the entirety of the tournament, expiring a day before potential tiebreakers. That flub might have cost the team a spot in eSports’ biggest league—if Quantic hadn't lost its games in a series of upsets and left the tournament early anyway. Boudreault tweeted about those losses on Dec. 7:

Boudreault later insisted he would have brought the team back to America if need be, flights that would have cost thousands of dollars for each player on the five-person team.

Earlier this week, Jeong "Apple" Cheol-woo, one of the team's stars, left Quantic for Korean squad Incredible Miracle. For a team that was already on the edge of destruction after underperforming throughout this year, that departure pulled the power cord.

“The players decided not to stay together,” said Catalan, the team's COO. Apple’s move “de-motivated the rest to find a fifth.”

Catalan says the rest of the players team will not return to Quantic.

This isn’t the first time Boudreault has gone missing in action. He’s disappeared before for days and weeks at a time without notifying staffers.

“We didn’t know even then what happened,” Catalan told the Daily Dot. “He has a habit of ignoring people.”

When Boudreault did eventually return, there was no explanation given for his absence.

This time, Quantic staffers aren't sure if Boudreault will ever return. Two weeks ago, Catalan entered into negotiations with various eSports organizations in an attempt to give his players a new home.

Although Catalan reached out to major teams like Liquid and Na’Vi, only three returned his calls: Optic, a major Call of Duty team aiming to branch out into new games; Complexity, a multi-gaming organization that purchased a Counter-Strike squad from Quantic in August; and Roccat, a hardware company interested in directly sponsoring an eSports team.

When Quantic’s League of Legends squad called it quits, negotiations came to an end. The League team was what had attracted sponsors in the first place.

Catalan is currently an apprentice lineman for a power utility company. With the collapse of the team, Catalan, who never received a salary at Quantic, says he’ll be leaving eSports for the foreseeable future.

Without the CEO available to speak, it’s impossible to say exactly what the future of the Quantic brand holds. But the team’s players are leaving fast. If Quantic were to survive, it would need to be rebuilt from scratch.

Correction: According to Kalle Nilsson, Quantic's StarCraft player manager, and Joe Eastham, a former media specialist with the company, Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun's salary was $2,200 monthly, not $1,300 as previously reported. We regret the error. 

Screengrab via QuanticPro/YouTube

Jan 23 2017 - 8:37 pm

Armada takes out Genesis 4 Melee crown

His win at Genesis 4 helps solidify his claim as the best Melee player of all time.
Xing Li
Dot Esports

We've seen this story before. Adam "Armada" Lindgren vs. Joseph "Mang0" Marquez for the Genesis Super Smash Bros. Melee title.

Once again, Armada emerged victorious.

Both players are idolized in the Smash community for their stunning success over the years. But if any venue has been the site of their personal rivalry, it's Genesis, where the two have met in the finals again and again. There were other talented players in the field, but this is the matchup most fans wanted to see at Genesis 4.

Armada had the easier path to the final by virtue of his 3-1 victory over Mang0, which sent his rival to the loser's bracket. Armada had a relatively easy time, absolutely controlling stages and strangling life from his opponents. His run seemed relatively routine until he ran into Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman.

Mew2King was on-point with grabs and air attacks on his signature Marth. Many times, Armada was stalling on Peach, trying to get into winning situations. Mew2King had a lead and momentum.

But Peach is hard to finish off and Armada's stalling got him to a deciding fifth game. Even then, Mew2King had chances, but missed key inputs. Small mistakes compound against a talent like Armada, and he punished Mew2King relentlessly.

In the loser's bracket, Mang0 survived by grit and guile, coming back from numerous deficits. First, it was against William "Leffen" Hjelte, where Mang0 mounted an insane comeback to tie the set at two games apiece. But Leffen came out strong in the deciding game and quickly took a two-stock (life) lead. Down to his last stock, Mang0 found his way back to the middle of the stage and went ham, somehow ending Leffen's run. The comeback ignited the crowd, with fans hugging and high-fiving at what they just witnessed.

Things wouldn't get easier. Juan "Hungrybox" Manuel Debiedma, valiantly playing with a broken finger, used Jigglypuff's burst to take big stock leads. But Mang0 continued to control the center of the stage to take Hungrybox down. He then beat Mew2King—reeling from his loss to Armada—to set up the finals rematch.

Fans wanted to see a show, but it was a different one than they might have expected. Though these two have gone back and forth in extremely close sets over the years, Armada has been on a tear for the last several months. And the final against Mang0 was no different. Instead of a close, tightly-fought match, fans got a coronation.

Armada had an answer for everything Mang0 threw at him. He floated around and seemed to take no damage. It was perhaps his most convincing win of the day.

Melee has been ruled by the Six Gods (which includes all the aforementioned players) for years now. But Armada is beginning to separate himself from the pack. He stands alone at the top at the beginning of 2017—if he ends the year in the same position, he could cement himself as the greatest Melee player of all time.

Jan 23 2017 - 3:29 pm

Our predictions for the Evo 2017 lineup

These are the ten games we think will make it to Las Vegas... and the four that won't
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to officially enter Evo season.

Organizers for Evo, the largest fighting game event in the world, will reveal the event's 2017 lineup on Tuesday at 9pm ET. Thousands of fans will be watching intently to see if their favorite game will be played on the fighting game world's biggest stage. There is a bit of uncertainty about this year's lineup, as several new games—including King of Fighters XIV, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and Injustice 2—all have strong cases to be part of the Evo 2017 lineup, and the nine games that were part of Evo 2016 all have strong arguments to return to the event.

Earlier this month, lead Evo organizer Joey Cuellar asked which seven games fans would like to see at Evo 2017. This led many to believe that only seven games will be featured at this year's event. While that's certainly a possibility, Evo staff have a tendency to try and do things bigger than they did the year before. I feel that this year will be no different, as I believe a record-setting ten games will make the final list.

Here are the 10 games I believe will make the cut for the Evo 2017 lineup, along with a few that won't.

Will make the cut

Street Fighter V

After a launch year that included poor reviews, missed sales targets, and an embarrassing rootkit fiasco, it is safe to say that 2016 was not a great year for Street Fighter V. However, there was one area in which the game was unquestionably successful: tournament turnout. A record-setting 5,100 players took part in last year's Evo tournament, which is more than the number of players who participated in the second- and third-largest tournaments in the event's history combined. Despite its freshman struggles, Street Fighter V's status as an Evo game is as safe as can be.

Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for WiiU

The increasing prominence of Smash games at traditional fighting game events has not been without controversy, but it's a trend that isn't going away anytime soon. Last year's two Smash games were the second- and third-largest events in Evo history. Over 2,600 players entered last year's WiiU tournament, while over 2,300 entered the Melee event. With support like that, it's impossible to imagine a 2017 lineup without either game.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

To steal a line from a popular fighting game talk show: Marvel lives! The Marvel community did everything they could over the past two years to reignite interest in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom's December announcement of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite poured gasoline on that spark. There's no doubt that we'll see at least one more Evo with the insanity that is Marvel 3.

Injustice 2

Injustice 2's May 16 release date will surely make Evo organizers a bit nervous. With just two months between the game's release and Evo 2017, the game's entertainment value will hinge largely how well-balanced the game's cast is at launch. A poor initial balance could lead to a repeat of the original Injustice's Evo debut in 2013, an event in which three of the top six finishers played Superman. Still, those fears won't be enough to dissuade Evo organizers from including the game in the 2017 lineup.

Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

It's strange to think that Tekken 7, a game that hasn't seen an official North American release, can be making a third straight Evo appearance. Yet here we are. Bandai Namco, the Tekken series' publisher, has done well to drum up interest in the game with its regional King of the Iron Fist tours. That effort will pay dividends on Tuesday, and they'll pay dividends once players can finally get their hands on the game. Speaking of...

 BONUS PREDICTION: Tekken 7 console release date will be revealed

Tekken publisher Bandai Namco has promised to announce a console release date for its much-anticipated fighter some time this week. The company has been coy about exactly when that announcement will come, but Tuesday's Evo lineup reveal show seems to be the most likely choice. With popular figure Mark "Markman" Julio - who has appeared on the reveal show in each of the past two years - now working with both Evo and Tekken in official capacities, this appears to be a no-brainer.

King of Fighters XIV

The King of Fighters series is always a favorite among international Evo viewers, so it would be incredibly shocking to see the recently-released King of Fighters XIV left out of the 2017 lineup. 

Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- and BlazBlue: Central Fiction

Evo has historically had one unwritten rule for "anime" games: they only get one spot in the lineup. That rule was broken in 2015 when both Guilty Gear Xrd and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax were included in the event, but only Xrd returned last year. I feel that this year will see that rule broken again, as the BlazBlue series has a strong new entrant in Central Fiction to join Guilty Gear Xrd's still-strong -Revelator- update.

Killer Instinct

This may be the toughest call on the list. With the amount of developer and community support shown for the game four years after release, Killer Instinct is the type of game you want to see succeed. Microsoft is now backing the competitive scene in a big way as evidenced by the upcoming $30,000 Killer Instinct World Cup in March. I feel that momentum should be enough to see the game make the cut again despite being the game that had the fewest entrants at Evo 2016.

Will not make the cut

Pokken Tournament

It's tough to imagine a game going from over 1,100 entrants at Evo 2016 to not even in the 2017 lineup, but that's the fate that I believe Pokken Tournament will face on Tuesday. The game's community has shown up to events in force, but so have many other communities. Pokken felt like an odd choice last year, but with so many other games in contention,this year it feels like the odd one out. 

Mortal Kombat XL

There is precedence for Evo including two different NetherRealm Studio games at one Evo - both Mortal Kombat 9 and the original Injustice were a part of Evo 2013. But with so much crossover between players from the two series, along with the abundance of potential choices at Evo's disposal, I think that we've seen the last of Mortal Kombat XL at Evo.

Ultra Street Fighter II and ARMS

The Nintendo Switch will likely have at least two fighting games available by the time Evo rolls around, but don't expect to hear the name of either game on Tuesday. Many tournament players love Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but its re-release as an "HD Remix" was not particularly well-received by most of that group. It's doubtful they would be more receptive to Ultra Street Fighter II, a game that appears to be an HD remix of HD Remix. And as fun as it would be to see players like Justin Wong and Daigo duke it out with motion controls, there are far too many 'legit' fighting games in the running for a spot in the lineup to take a flyer on ARMS.