It’s been in production for a while. Years, in fact. But The Foreigner was finally released on Vimeo this week, providing a look back at the intense rivalry between South Koreans and the rest of the world in StarCraft 2 — back when the game was reaching its peak.
It’s a cutaway from a very specific tournament from what feels almost like several years ago. It’s a look at MLG Columbus 2011, back when StarCraft 2 was leading the charge for streaming and esports, back when StarCraft 2 was breaking records for Major League Gaming in general.
Back then, there was a genuine belief that foreigners were finally starting to make headway against their Korean counterparts. South Korea has often been described as the mecca of esports, a reputation built and forged on the intense Brood War competitions that took place for over a decade.
That’s the initial hook of The Foreigner: the battle between South Koreans and everyone else, and the wave of optimism that begins to flow over the crowd, commentators and competitors from the outset of the tournament. But then towards the end it becomes about the mental torment within one player: Greg “IdrA” Fields.
Fields’ difficulty with his emotions was a well documented battle that played out in public for almost the entirety of his career. But it’s also a reminder to the current generation of the value of LAN experience, the reality of competing at the highest tier, and how sometimes the biggest hurdle isn’t your opponent.