Machine: “We can definitely deliver when events come [to the UK]”
We spoke to Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson at the FACEIT Major about how he copes with his busy schedule, the future of UKCS and which esports titles are on the rise.
You’ve been living up to your name in the last few months, covering ESL One Cologne, ELEAGUE Premier, DreamHack Stockholm and now the Major, has that schedule left you tired?
Don’t forget to sandwich TI into all of that! This is the longest stint I’ve done since I went freelance and it’s a new experience. I can’t promise I haven’t worn any of this clothing before and I definitely haven’t had a chance to wash it so if you can smell me through the camera, I apologise.
There’s been a lot of hurdles I’ve had to overcome for the first time when you’re away from everything and in a hotel room for eight weeks on the road.
We’re talking just before the semifinals but we have had four quarterfinals already. Do you think there have been any real standout moments from those games or even outside the game at this Major already?
Some ones that are freshest in my memory were from the quarters, like HellRaisers. I think they were the first quarterfinal team to actually test one of the bigger dogs. Woxic put on a performance to be proud of, there was nearly a 1v4 clutch that was just so perfectly played and he didn’t quite close it out and stuff like that stands out.
I think BIG Clan disappointed and I am a big BIG fanboy. I wanted to see smooya do his thing, he was the highest-rated player coming into this tournament and I was just like ‘come on, British beef, give us a semifinal with the arena sold out’, but the better team won at the end of the day. At the moment there hasn’t been too many crazy plays. For me, it’s just the crowd, they have been great. It’s not even the weekend yet so I have high expectations now.
One of the big crowd moments was obviously to the surprise reveal of Vince getting to cast here. Are you now even more excited to get to cast a big CS event when you go to ESL New York?
You have no idea. I would say it feels like the treat at the end of quite a long road. Casting is fun and I love doing it. You don’t get to be a part of the story as much as you do as when you’re casting and to be able to tell that story, I’m just so excited.
On the desk in London, we’ve had some unfamiliar faces in THREAT and daps, is it nice to have some variety and have new people over the same handful of analysts?
It’s a positive and it can be a negative at the same time just because you do build rapport and when there is and have been tech issues you hopefully don’t see, having a core group that you know very well and they read my signals very well, I can just look at Chad (SPUNJ) with *eyes* and he knows ‘everything is burning, please fill’.
The communication while on-air is a little bit rockier, but getting to hear new opinions, or let’s say, talking about NiP, oh, THREAT! You literally coached them, trying to get new lines of questioning you otherwise wouldn’t have, that’s been really fun.
You mentioned TI before, and you have been involved in multiple games as a host or caster, are there any games at the moment that you think have potential to be a bigger esport, whether that’s battle royale or another genre?
I don’t know if you follow World of Warcraft, but the Mythic Race was super engaging, the first time Method streamed the Mythic progression raiding, which has never been done before, it outviewershipped Fortnite, CS:GO, it was huge.
They got it down and I’d love to be a part of that at some point because I do play World of Warcraft, it’s the only game that runs on my laptop so when I’m on the road for eight weeks, you better believe I’m levelling in my time off! Call of Duty as well, actually all of the Blizzard, Activision stuff, they’re doing things right and I think hopefully this new Call of Duty, the new Blackout mode, I’ve got my eyes on that one, I think that could take off. I’ve seen a lot of hype surrounding it.
DOTA had their first UK Major here in Birmingham in May as well that you hosted, and CS has its first UK Major now too. Do you think it’s paving the way for esports to host more big events here in the UK?
Hell yes. I think we’ve proven now, we can do a crowd, we do it well, we can fill out arenas. Birmingham blew me away initially, the fact is, there was doubt. The UK is not a presence in the competitive scene, we don’t really compete. We should, we’re not quite there yet but that’s just because ten years ago, we didn’t have the same infrastructure as other countries did. We love it, we watch it, we consume it and we can definitely deliver when events come here.
Do you think these big events and the emergence of UK players, like smooya and dephh, will not just inspire UK players to not just stay in the UK scene but expand out when looking towards the future?
So very much, I think it very much helps from a human perspective, to see that it’s possible. I know it shouldn’t be that way, but in the human psyche, something clicks when you see it, ‘oh, I can do that!’ It works for everything, right? When you see someone of your race, from your country, from your gender, whatever it is, doing something for the first time.
It sounds stupid, but it is just unfortunately how humans work. Now, there’s a lot of UK players who previously just kind of did what every other UK player did, but now it’s like these guys got to the top eight of a Major, so what’s your excuse? It’s hopefully going to be a case of the same thing as has happened for smooya and dephh, go away, leave the UK. Just go and show what you can do and hopefully, eventually, come back together or do a FaZe Clan thing, I don’t know. It’s going to be a while before we see a five-man UK team because they all hate each other. I would just love to see more UK flags.
Did you enjoy our interview with legendary desk host Machine? Comment below your favourite casting/desk host moment you remember!