For the first time in Rainbow Six Siege history, we saw a young man from Melbourne treated to an opportunity to showcase his talent on the world stage. For Six Invitational 2019, the APAC region was fortunate to have James “Devmarta” Stewart on the desk as an analyst. On the desk, James was joined by the renowned Ghassan “MiloshTheMedic” and Alex “z1ronic” Dalgaard-Hansen at the Place Bell arena in Canada. Now settled back in Melbourne after working the successful event, I decided to interview James to learn more about his exciting experience
Tell us about how you found out you would be working the Six Invitational?
I was in Sydney for the APAC Qualifier of Six Invitational 2019 on January 11th, it was rehearsal day but there wasn’t much for me to do at the time so Kamine (Project Manager, ESL Australia) takes me upstairs into his office and tells me that ESL from overseas has offered me the position to work as an analyst for the event. It was a funny moment because I was super excited, but trying to keep my cool at the same time, I’ve been dreaming of working an event like this for a long time but trying to also be realistic and never let down when I miss an opportunity, so that instinct I’d developed to not be upset when I don’t get the job meant I was outwardly quiet when I did get the job, even though on the inside I was very excited.
Was this your first time travelling internationally?
I have been to New Zealand before plus a few European countries once on a holiday and a couple of stopovers in Asia, but never to the Americas. I was excited to see a city in the snow because I’ve never been to one before (only seeing snow up the mountains) and also because Montreal is where the game was born and developed, which was extra special for me.
What was your initial thought when you first arrived in Montreal?
My first thoughts in Montreal were a huge mess, I was so tired after flying 15 hours from Melbourne to Vancouver then only a short stopover before another 5 hours from Vancouver to Montreal. So I left on Wednesday morning Melbourne time, flew for 20 hours without sleeping and rock up in Montreal on Wednesday late afternoon, my body had no idea what was going on.
First thing I did in Montreal was an attempt to contact the talent manager and other casters while picking up my bags, but I didn’t have a Canadian SIM card, so my next priority was finding a SIM and coffee at the airport. The coffee was a huge disappointment but after an Uber trip over to the venue I was feeling a bit better, it was excruciatingly cold outside but when I reached the venue and saw Pawel, the talent manager, and Pro League caster Mzo greet me warmly at the door I knew I’d be feeling welcome through the entire event, and I was right!
How did you feel when you saw the arena (main stage) for the first time?
The arena itself was unbelievable, the closest thing I’d see to it before was the tennis arenas in Melbourne, but the difference here was that it was my game: Rainbow 6, that was showing, and I’d get to be part of it. It was a really awe-inspiring moment.
What was the most rememberable experience you had during the event?
It’s really difficult to pinpoint a single moment, but something that stuck with me was the opening ceremony to the first day – the live orchestra playing while I thought about the first match of the day being two APAC teams (Nora-RENGO and FNATIC) and my first time presenting on a broadcast this size… I might have had a bit of an emotional moment.
Who did you meet that made the most remarkable impression on you?
I find it hard to disregard all the awesome people I met just to pick a few, I feel the need to shout out the whole talent roster who were really welcoming, especially Devin (Mzo) Becker and Matt Andrews, and the whole crew were lovely to work (and party!) with. I also met some of the lovely Ubisoft and ESL staff who work on this game, from Poland to Montreal, USA and all the rest.
What was the atmosphere like during the final days of the event?
It was one massive slog of running on adrenaline through my sleep deprivation, the atmosphere at the event was very high energy, there was a hugely positive atmosphere emitted through all of the event attendees who were such die-hard fans of the game.
Did the Six Invitational meet or exceed your expectations?
I’m not really sure what my expectations were going in, but they were definitely exceeded!
What are you going to miss most about the Six Invitational?
As with every event the thing you always miss most is the people, but I’m also going to miss having such close access to these people across dozens of organisations and departments, because there’s a plethora of knowledge from the hundreds of players, staff and fans who attend these events, and working with them and sharing that knowledge is integral to the continued success of the game and the Esport.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your experience or any shout-outs?
I think the entire ANZ Rainbow Six scene needs to get a bit of a shout out, we’ve been working very hard for a very long time and I was the lucky guy who got the extra push to a global Major. I’m really looking forward to the ANZ and APAC Rainbow Six Esports scenes growing and becoming stronger with the next year and beyond, and it takes every team, player, organisation, tournament organiser, Ubisoft staff and fan banding together to rise up our local scene to the next level.
If there’s anyone I want to shout out it’s the hard-working players, volunteers, staff and dedicated fans who have got us to where we are today and who stick with us through thick and thin, because it’s all of you that we have to thank for the success of our teams, our players, our staff and casters, and the community that we have created.
It was a real pleasure to learn more about James as a person and also get a rare insight as to what it is like to work a global event. Thank you to James for taking the time to answer my questions, the local ANZ region is proud to have your representation.
Following this article, I also had the chance to chat with an ESL representative, James “Jebus” Foster, about his work at Six Invitational 2019. In an upcoming interview to be released, we will explore the world of league operations and gauge a behind the scenes perspective of the event.
Photos Credit: ESL