Legendary Counter Strike commentator (to the point that two professional teams are named after him) and Vice President of FACEIT Media, James Bardolph is an authority on Valve’s tactical shooter. If you think of any of the great moments in esports history, it probably was, then what better authority to question the legacy of this video game that is about to “disappear” in favor of its successor: Counter Strike 2.
– What do you think has been the most lasting impact CS:GO has had on the world of eSports?
“The spectacle that Counter-Strike puts on in every tournament is something that other games simply can’t match. The skill level displayed by individuals is much higher than average and the competition is easily understandable to people who don’t play CS, which is “Not true for many other esports. Its rich history and heritage simply make it one of the greatest esports titles of all time.”
– What is the factor of the Counter-Strike world that made it so popular as an eSport?
“Counter-Strike is a very accessible game, partly because of its simplicity and partly because you can look at it and immediately understand what’s going on. It’s also an intuitive game with no clutter, visual or otherwise. The action is intuitive as be it a flashbang or a gunshot. While its rules are simple, the game still has a lot of depth and is obviously quite demanding. I think these are core values that Counter-Strike has always had and that are testament to its success in the years”.
– Is the popularity of CS the definitive proof that an open system is better than a franchise one?
“What we’ve seen in completely closed franchise leagues is that there’s not a lot of life outside of the single league. Whereas in an open ecosystem there’s more vitality for the fan base, and both up-and-coming players and players outside of the top tier. , it can thrive and grow.We have different ecosystems in Counter-Strike: there’s the ESEA leagues, which lead to the EPL, and of course there’s also the FPL system for young players where you can learn from more experienced players and get noticed by teams. So I think if you had a completely closed system like other games these lower layers would have a hard time existing which would hinder player growth We keep seeing organizations losing franchises and leaving their teams immediately I think it’s best to avoid this kind of volatility”.
– CS has an amazing core ecosystem thanks to FACEIT, what’s the recipe for trying to do the same with other titles?
“You need to create an environment where people can have a sense of community, learn from each other, and grow together. When another game has an ecosystem where you can play amongst professionals, benchmarking your skills against them and learning from them creates a healthy and prosperous environment. atmosphere.
However, without a sense of community, it can create a hostile environment for new players, whose skills are not considered trustworthy. There would be fewer opportunities from less important countries within the panorama; the path of competition could be more difficult and with more doors closed than open. Ambition is important for young players – seeing other people succeed energizes those who might have the talent and/or motivation to try to do the same.”
– Who was, in your opinion, the best player of all time? And the team?
“For a player, I would pick s1mple, because he started out competing with an extreme level of talent, but he was a bit impulsive. Younger players. He still offers the same level of talent and can be impulsive at times, but he’s still part of his personality, throughout his career he has changed things, he has learned from his mistakes and has become an icon.
As for the team, there are many candidates. I could tell you the classic Astralis, they have won many majors and have had a great career. Before them, though, it’s worth taking a look back at the early NiPs (Ninjas in Pyjamas) as they went on their iconic 87-0 run, an achievement that has arguably inspired a generation of gamers.”
– Everyone, both teams and players, keeps saying that nothing will change with Counter-Strike 2. Do you think so too or do you feel that a big change is coming in the landscape?
“Basically even Valve can’t change the game too much, otherwise it will stop being Counter-Strike. The developers will try to replicate movement as it is in CS:GO today, same for jumping and maps that require input precision In a way, things will stay the same, but I think a lot of decorations and cosmetic aspects of the game will change.
It will be “the same but different”, as it should be. From a casual standpoint, and we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the casual gamer, a more refined level of aesthetics is needed in the game. The graphics have already been improved and have become significantly more immersive. These things are important because for a casual player, Counter-Strike risked becoming a bit stale, which is not good for the longevity of the game: if your casual user base is dwindling, then the whole game is dwindling.
A newer graphics engine for CS2 means new possibilities and potential for bigger maps, or maybe they’ll look at Valorant and add some sort of movement mechanic. Who knows, there is room for more experimentation to see what works and what doesn’t. If the engine brings new features to the battle passes, to make the operations more interesting, it will be great news for many users.”
– Share with us a personal story about yourself and CS: At work or at home, was there a moment when you realized that without this game your life would have been completely different?
“Even playing it before working on it, I noticed that there was a great sense of community in CS. I think there is a type of player who looks forward to AAA releases and plays all the new titles etc., but I don’t.” I’m that kind of player, I play maybe five titles and I stick to them. Counter-Strike is one of them, whether I’ve worked on it or not, it will always be special to me.
I guess one of the craziest things I remember related to the game is an Australian team calling themselves “The Bardolphs” putting up a picture of me in the Christmas dress I once wore in the ELeague. I found this out because I was working with some producers in Melbourne who showed me screenshots of the local games the Bardolphs were playing, which already says a lot about the spread of Counter-Strike around the world. The fact that they themselves decided to name their team after me is pretty crazy.
The same thing also happened in the United States, where an ESEA team that bore my name played. The moments when you discover things like this for the first time are crazy, you understand the scope of what we do. It gives you more perspective on the impact you can have on other people.”