For our next edition of The Syndicate Interview Series we have none other than the world famous Counter-Strike star Emil “HeatoN” Christensen. Emil was a star player for teams like NiP, a manager in the Championship Gaming Series and now has a popular series of CS videos for Qpad.
First off, thanks very much for taking the time to sit down with us. Let’s get started with a look at the past. What year was your favorite year of eSports and why?
Sure, any time! Well, for me invidually, my favorite esports year was 2003, but that was just because we managed to win everything that year. However, I really like how esports is growing and getting bigger and bigger and has more professional tournaments than when I played, so I would to say that 2009 is pretty close behind just because I love where esports is going.
Other than gaming, what keeps you busy? What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy? Do you hope to spend many years working in eSports or are you planning on switching to a different career?
To be honest, my girlfriend takes up most of my time outside of work, hehe! I really enjoy watching Football and working out, so those are 3 things I do outside Gaming & working.
I would really love to be able to work in esports for my entire life! This is what I love doing and I’m going to do it as long as I have the opportunity to.
What are your favorite video games outside Counter-Strike?
Well, right now I’m a bit hooked on Modern Warefare 2, but other than that I enjoy playing World of Warcraft & Starcraft a lot!
Why do you think the small country of Sweden has consistently produced such great Counter-Strike talent? Is the game just more popular than other parts of the world?
I think the reason behind it is for two reasons; the first being as you mentioned that it’s very popular here. Every guy between 13 and 23 pretty much plays computer games, but mostly Counter-Strike.
The other reason I think is our internet connection. Everyone has had amazing broadband connections for several years now and it really assists in the development as a player. Unlike what the the United States players have to deal with, our players don’t get held back because of their latency.
Many games have come and gone but Counter-Strike 1.6 is still alive and kicking. Why do you think that is? Do you think the popularity can be maintained or will a new game replace it in the near future?
The reason for that is simple! There simply isn’t a better game out there! The developers of new games are putting too much effort in to making it beautiful and adding wierd stuff, but what the players really want in an esports game is simplicity and THE FEELING! I honestly believe that Counter-Strike will be around until something better comes out. I still can’t figure out why Valve hasn’t made CS2 yet. It’s a terrible move.
On that topic, what are your thoughts about CSPromod? Do you think the game will be able to replace CS 1.6 or will it just be another version that is played (like CZ and Source)?
I actually liked the initial version of it. I guess I was one of the very few! I think it has the potential to remove 1.6, but I think it needs to be perfect to get the whole scene to move over to another game. Lets just hope that they make it as good as we all want it to be because that is what the Counter-strike scene needs right now.
What is the general opinion of CSPromod in Sweden? Are people excited about it or do they want to stick with 1.6?
Honestly, I rarely hear anyone speak about CSPromod in Sweden. I guess they all got tired of getting their hopes up.
Recently you have been doing some pro videos for Qpad. What is your relationship to the company? What else do you do for them? What are your 2010 plans with Qpad?
Yeah, we did some videos together aiming mostly towards amateurs to learn the basics. Our relationship right now is that we produce mousepads together and team up for a lot of PR activities.
The plan for 2010 that I can share with you right now is that we are releasing another mousepad in the very near future!
In 2009 the G7 Teams called for a boycott against several organizations for failure to pay out prize money. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have friends who are owed prize money? How should gamers react when organizations that don’t pay prizes continue to advertise new events?
I think it’s great! You really need someones to take care of this problem that has effected so many players. The problem with this, however, is the status of G7. SK is pretty much running the whole show in their best interest and to be honest, I think [SK Gaming] should do right for themselves and pay out the money that they owe people before going after others.
During the Championship Gaming Series you had the opportunity to be a General Manager. What did you learn from the experience? Do you think you’ll ever be a coach or manager again?
It was great being apart of the CGS! I learned so many things outside of the games there and I think that will really help me in the future. I would love to be a coach again, BUT for Counter-Strike only this time. When coaching the other games that we played in the CGS I felt completely clueless! The only thing I could provide my gamers with was the motivation to succeed as well as tips to keep up with their practice.
If you could give some advice to a new, up and coming gamer, what would it be? What do you wish you had done differently?
Don’t stop practicing as hard as you can and dont be afraid to try to learn from the more experienced players! If you should reach the top you have to practice even harder then you did to get there to stay on top. I’ve seen so many up and coming players who are doing great and play awesome for a tournament or two. But then they stop practicing because they think that they are on top of the world and you never see them again.
I would not have done anything differently. The pro-gaming period was the best in my life and I really hope everyone that has a passion for e-sports gets to experience it. It’s amazing!
In your opinion, who is currently the best Counter-Strike player in the world? Who is the most overrated?
I haven’t really seen any player shine as much as I’ve seen players shine before when playing, but Gux impressed me during the last year so I would have to say him.
Most overrated? I would like to keep that to my self! 😉
Thanks again for your time. Any final comments or shoutouts?
I would like to thank all my fans all around the world for being AWESOME! Also, if you have any idea of what you want to see in upcoming videos, please make a comment on what you would like to see on Youtube.
I would like to inform you to keep your eyes open for a whole range of HeatoN products coming this year, together with Zowie Gear. The first one will be released withing the next few months and believe me, you don’t want to miss it! Also, be sure to check out my new Mousepad coming the next month together with QPAD.