It always feels like Australia is on the cusp of great success in eSports. We've seen good results in Call of Duty and there have been plenty of "what if" situations in StarCraft 2. Our League of Legends teams haven't quite gotten past the wildcard tournament yet and our CS:GO teams are always promising, but never to the point of fully punching above their weight.
Some of those players have been playing for an awfully long time. One of those is Iain "Snyper" Turner, a Perth-based Counter-Strike player. He's been around for what feels like an eternity, persisting behind the scenes, constantly striving without being a superstar. And some of that was evident in Dreamhack's latest documentary.
It's a 15 minute behind-the-scenes, overlaid with in-game footage, covering the recent Stockholm qualifier for the Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca CS:GO major later this year. It's called a major because it's a Valve-sponsored event, with the prize pool standing at a healthy US$250,000.
The Stockholm qualifier had two Australian teams, Team Immunity and Renegades. You can see some footage of the latter, and a brief moment of one of the players several minutes in, but Turner and Immunity are the ones interviewed as part of the broader film.
What's interesting about it, and rather humanising, is how easily you can see the toll time has taken on the stubborn West Australian. Before they were known as Renegades, the other Australian team was under the ownership of Vox Eminor — a team that kicked Turner to the curb after an international event.
Turner's struggled a lot. I remember attending to national events and seeing him sometimes fly from Perth, by himself, to fill in for a team from Queensland or somewhere else just for the opportunity to continually put his best foot forward. He's not a full-time professional, and the reality of that comes through in the documentary.
"I have a family, they see me and they understand. We feel like if we get into the major that will open doors for us, and anything could happen."
Anything could still happen for Immunity, Renegades and the broader CS:GO scene in Australia. That hope is what players like Turner, and many other Australians across many other games, have been using as fuel for years.
Question is, will their dreams come true by the time they're still playing — or will everything continue to come down to qualifiers like Stockholm.