It’s been a whirlwind month for George ‘King George’ Kassa.
Last month, Kassa and his team departed Vertical Gaming after repeated financial disputes, where the team claimed “non-stop lying” had dissolved the relationship between the team and the organisations co-founder.
The team were planning to compete at Gamescom as an unaffiliated team. Speaking to me after Vertical Gaming’s closure, George said they’d have to see what happened and try to land themselves a new organisation.
When I met Kassa at Gamescom, halfway through the Pro League finals, he was clad in a Rogue jersey, the Las Vegas based esports organisation best known for its Overwatch success and its owner, DJ Steve Aoki.
“I think I had 400 offers from orgs.” Kassa says, with numerous organisations reaching out to him after a YouTube video where he described the situation with Vertical. “Obviously a lot of them weren’t the most reputable, but there was actually a good amount of reputable orgs that were trying to get into the game.”
“We went with Rogue because they see Rainbow Six Siege as like a growing game. It’s funy though, because at first they wouldn’t say who their org was, but said they were keen to pick our team up. ‘If you don’t say, how are we supposed to really know we should be talking to you’ we said, and they were like ‘okay, fine’ and from there they’ve been really awesome guys.”
Kassa motions at his jersey. “They got these to us in time for this event, which is crazy as they had to get them sorted and sent to Cologne with such a short turn around. It’s been so different though, every time we message them for anything it’s done right away and they write back to us, updating us or even just saying ‘I’ll take care of it as soon as possible.’”
Kassa says that Rogue’s assertion that Rainbow Six Siege is a growing game is correct. This is the first time Kassa has been to a Gamescom or any big games industry event, but that it’s also been the first time someone has asked him “Hey, can I stop and take a picture?” Kassa smiles broadly. “They can absolutely take a picture, but I feel like ‘why do you want to take a photo of me, i’m a nobody!”
Kassa says he’s noticed a definite increase in the amount of players getting into the game, with viewership on Twitch and Youtube going way up. “It’s gone up like five fold year on year,” Kassa says. “The events are bigger. This time last year we were in a small studio in London and now we’re here.”
Kassa thinks the game will keep getting bigger and bigger and describes Rogue as behind the team 110%. “The invitationals coming up in February, the next event is at Sao Paulo in Brazil. As an esport it’s getting bigger and bigger, and it means we can develop a sustainable scene.”
Kassa says the game right now, just before the release of Operation Blood Orchid, is “kind of stale” as Operation Health meant there wasn’t the introduction of new heroes or a new map pool. “I’m watching some of the games that are going on right now, it's exactly what I was watching earlier in the season” Kassa says, referring to the Gamescom tournament. “People change small things, but the biggest thing that makes Rainbow Six such a unique game is the map pool and operators are constantly changing.”
When we spoke, Blood Orchid hadn’t yet made it to the test server and so his opinions were limited to a few rounds on Rainbow Six Siege’s consumer booth. “I need to scrim with the new operators to get a real sense for them, but they seem like they’ll be pretty strong. Thing is, they might be really good or really bad, you just can’t tell until you play them for real, running scrims against someone who’s playing at the same level as you.”