If you cast your mind back to last month, esports brand Eleague unveiled that they were launching a team-based Tekken competition called Tekken Team Takedown, an interesting concept considering Eleague's own history in fighting games like Street Fighter V and Injustice 2, so when we recently spoke with Christina Alejandre, GM of Eleague & VP of esports at Turner Sports, we had a few questions to ask about the tournament and its structure.
Why is Tekken the next game getting an Eleague tournament?
Tekken is one of the most exciting games to watch right now. You're seeing the scene grow a lot, and at Evo it was one of the marquee championships that they featured, so I think that the question is 'why not Tekken?' We wanted to diversify our portfolio more, we wanted to get deeper into the fighting game community, and so we thought Tekken was a natural progression with our fighting game content.
Why is it team-based this time around?
I think for us we're always experimenting with new formats and new content, and we wanted to think of a way to present fighting games in a way that wasn't just head-to-head one-on-ones, and we thought that the team format was one, especially with March Madness too - you have teams competing from all of the US - we thought that it would be a good fit for the March time frame.
What lessons have you learned from previous tournaments that you're taking into this?
One of the things we learned from Street Fighter and being in FGC [fighting game community] is that it's an extremely passionate community, and so we really wanted to harness that and really have them rooting for not just individual players but for teams. And we really wanted to show also the passion of the players who are playing the game, and translate that into a tournament format that we thought would be the best and most efficient way to harness that passion.
Who is competing in this tournament? What goes into choosing who is going to be competing in these sorts of things?
So we worked with Bandai Namco to really figure out who in the community would resonate or would be good personalities to be the captain, and we also did that to flesh out the rest of the field. We really relied on the experts to help us identify the players who are playing, and so we went with that and then in [...] the teams were assembled solely on the picks of the captains, not based on the picks of what we wanted or what we set up.
So what we got is four very balanced teams, and each team had their strengths and each team had their weaknesses. Some teams, you know, CuddleCore has a more quieter side, she was one of the captains, you have Pokchop who is 'The Mouth of the South' and he is one of the more vocal, in-your-face captains, and so you saw all these personalities blending and it was really neat to see.
Why are you doing a miniseries again and why is it important for you?
We just talked about lessons learned, as we've been doing this for almost two years, and I think one of the things that we've seen is that there are different audiences. So we did the tournament live and we broadcasted it on Twitch, and what we're doing is we're packaging up the content in a much more digestible way for the TBS audience. The TBS audience is definitely helping us bring esports to mainstream, and in order to do that we need to do it in a digestible way, and so that is why we're putting together the series on TBS after the fact.
Eleague's Tekken Team Takedown four-part feature series will be recapping the tournaments best moments starting this Friday, March 16, following TBS's live NCAA March Madness coverage, with additional episodes airing on Fridays after that.