The return to the Pacific Division of the Overwatch League marked the return for Vancouver Titans and their resumption of each member’s Overwatch career. Following the pandemic issues, the whole scenario of the Overwatch League shut down in the early months of March, an effect that swelled to contaminate all participating esports teams and their members. From the fans to the players, to the managers and coaches, the overall impact led a series of hosting and administrative problems. One of the largest problems was the financial burden this gave to many esports organizations. The delay of the Overwatch League forced many organizations to spend hefty sums in order to sustain their rosters of players and coaches, and it instilled a heavy toll.
The fact that online matches faced cancellation afterwards did not help with the Overwatch League scenario either. Right now, Vancouver Titans are one team that portrayed a return to the Overwatch League, but rather than the expected return, they have released news that they have released their full Overwatch League roster. Vancouver Titans’ full roster of players and coach have parted ways and the organization has been left out of the Overwatch League.
The Letter to fans via the Titans’ main Overwatch League page bodes a heavy heart. Managerial positions amidst the pandemic made it impossible for the organization to sustain a healthy and capable team. They share their full scenario of what led to their decision to remove their roster.
“We would like to thank Titans fans for your patience during this difficult period. The organization and the team have been dealing with a very complicated situation which included sensitive information and player confidentiality made even more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic. We as an organization want to ensure we communicate effectively and will continue to try to get better in this regard as we grow as an esports team and an esports organization.
At the start of the season, the team and the organization’s spirits were at an all-time high. The team was ready to avenge their Grand Finals loss and contend once again for an Overwatch League championship. We were excited for the players to experience Vancouver as their new home, and we were ready to introduce them to you through content and events throughout the season as they settled into their new home away from home at Adamas Esports Training + Performance.
The partnership with Adamas Esports Training + Performance gave the team a world-class facility to call home located in one of the top human performance centres in the country, Fortius Sport & Health. Adamas also provided them with a built-in esports training centre that came with chef-prepared meals, top-end equipment for both gaming and fitness, and access to physical training and mental health resources. We were set up for success and were ready for the first season of home and away matches, including two homestands here in Vancouver.
The team started the season with two convincing wins but meanwhile, the impact of COVID-19 was being felt across the globe and all businesses were being affected, including ours. With cancelled homestands and travel increasingly limited, the players were bound to their training facility home. Once it became apparent this would be an extended situation, and out of an abundance of caution, the players were flown to their homes in South Korea to be with their families.
Our initial plan was for the team to join the Asian division and continue to play the new schedule from the comfort of players’ homes, but it was quickly apparent that this created a whole new set of challenges. The time difference made it difficult for management and the home fanbase to connect with the team and technical challenges for the players playing from home further exacerbated the situation.
With the organization unable to meet the players’ expectations in Korea, and after much deliberation and conversation with the players, the difficult decision was made to move the team back to the North American division and both the players and management agreed that finding a new home for the players would be in everyone’s best interest.“
What happens now is that rather than a grand return to the League, the roster players including the coaches will be taking some time to find new homes for their esports careers. The Overwatch League even introduced their full May plans, with a brand new Tournament scheme and their full take on the resumption. Fans and players looked forward to resuming, however, that bodes irrelevant for Vancouver Titans now. Things do seem bleak for the moment being, but the hope is that each player gets the stage he deserves to carry on with their Overwatch esports careers.
The following players/staff have since agreed to mutually part ways with the team:
HyoJong “HakSal” Kim,
Minsoo “Seominsoo” Seo,
Seongjun “Slime” Kim,
Chunghee “Stitch” Lee,
Juseok “Twilight” Lee,
JeHong “RyuJeHong” Yu,
Yangwon “Yang1” Kweon (coach),
Jae Hong “Andante” Hwang (coach),
The team has also released Chan Hyeong “Fissure” Baek.
These departures come only after two early departures towards the end of April. The Head Coach Pajion parted ways with the organization on May 1st. Jjanu also left the organization just a day before that.
It truly looks grim how today’s circumstances have changed so much for many esports teams. From high prospects towards a return to the scene ended up with bleak news of full roster departures and leavings. Fans are saddened to hear about this and look towards the future to see what ends up for the players and coaches, and the organization. The Overwatch League shall resume onwards, and fans are left to think what will come forward.
The leaving was mutually agreed upon to be the best option for both parties. However, it was certainly not the happiest. It would allow the organization to recover from the stiffened circumstances it bared in these past few weeks, however, it still portrays susceptibility of the hard choice being the only way out. The letter to the fans from the organization followed onwards to give thanks to each leaving member and how the organization shall work on to make a recovery.
“From all of us at the Vancouver Titans organization, we would like to thank these players and coaches for the positive memories we’ve had, of course, highlighted with an appearance in the Overwatch League Grand Finals in our first season. These players were able to leave a lasting impression on fans from around the world. We wish them all the best as they move on in their careers.
There are so many young, talented, and passionate Overwatch players who dream of playing at the pinnacle of competitive play. We are excited to tell you that we will be supporting that path to pro, and in future announcements will share our plan which will include introducing our new core of Vancouver Titans players along with how we will help aspiring young players make the leap into professional play.
Our goal from the beginning has been to create an environment that can embody what competitive Overwatch means for those in Vancouver. Aligning with our core values we will always aspire to be a team that believes in community and engaging with the fans that love watching them every minute of every game and beyond. We recognize that we have a lot to learn and want to make sure we do all we can to improve and deliver a great team for our fans and Vancouver.
A force of nature is a collective one, and we know that we need to step up our game in order to truly make that force felt across the league for years to come. We look forward to announcing our new roster of Titans in the coming days. We hope that you join us as we move into this new chapter of Vancouver esports.“
Sincerely, Tim Holloway, Esports Director, Vancouver Titans.