The CW network’s prime-time esports event, featuring Daybreak Game Company’s H1Z1: King of the Kill, kicks off today with a new web series. It focuses on Echo Fox, the esports team most recently known as Gravity Gaming, which was purchased by NBA star Rick Fox in 2015.
While clearly a branding and promotional exercise for Fox and his team, it will nonetheless be a good look at what it takes to compete in esports on an international stage.
The tournament, officially called H1Z1: Fight for the Crown, will feature dozens of 5-man teams taking the field in Daybreak’s wildly popular multiplayer online survival game. The web series prominently features owner Fox in its opening moments before shifting to team CEO Jace Hall, who is tasked with selecting five players to take the field in the winner-take-all event.
The first of several ten minute episodes focuses on the drafting and creation of the team around four core players; Justin “Mini” Summe, Radez “Radek” Pozler, Clement “JerkChicken” Graham and Brian “CBKFlame” Barnabie. A fifth player, Dennis “Hoowy” Olsson, is on the bubble. He’s been invited to join the team as a provisional member, and will need to break into the top ten on an international leaderboard to qualify for his slot.
What happens if he fails to qualify is not made clear.
Also on display is a dimly lit, neon-accented “training facility” in the Echo Fox home base. That’s where the five young men will spend 10 to 16 hours a day for the entire month leading up to the tournament, which takes place on April 20 at 9 pm ET.