PC Gamer can reveal that the Early Access indie race-'em-up Speedrunners will be a fixture of ESL rotation, appearing alongside Dota 2, CS:GO and League of Legends. Players are now invited to compete in official ESL cups and tournaments, with the first series—the SpeedRunners 1on1 Summer Series—set to kick off this Saturday.
"At its core [Speedrunners is] a simple platformer, and everyone knows how to play those," says tinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik. "It also has a simple set of rules, yet incredible depth in how you use the items, how you keep momentum, and as it turns out, a surprising number of different, deeper elements that we had never considered under pro players took it upon themselves to blow our minds a bit."
Alex hopes that the game can find an audience among the ESL viewers. "We see the younger generation falling in love with the simple ruleset of the game and appreciating its depth," he says, "while the people of my generation—around 30, now with responsibilities and all that—appreciate how easy it is to enjoy SpeedRunners without investing too many hours in it."
Developer DoubleDutch hadn't originally created the game with intentions of becoming an esport. "We quickly realized it had the makings of one," says Nichiporchik, "and confirmed our suspicions every time we hosted a local tournament at a convention. We decided to go fully in that direction after introducing a Ranked system where players could level up and compete for placement in ladders."
Speedrunners ESL presence will use the ranked system's rules, meaning official maps, lethal spikes and all weapons enabled. The first cup will be hosted on Saturday, August 1 at 8pm CEST for European players, and on August 8 for North American players. Between that, during Gamescom, an official SpeedRunners Tournament will be livestreamed from the Twitch stage. Prizes include a custom ESL trail for the winning player.
For more on Speedrunners, you can check out Emanuel's early access review from last year. He categorised its outlook as "Good," which, given that tinyBuild has revealed $3.25 million in sales of the game, appears to be the case.