The Bounty Hunt is on

Exclusive Interview with BLAST Premier – Part 2: BLAST Bounty Hunt

Dota 2
BLAST Logo

BLAST Bounty Hunt will run from from June 9 to June 13. (Image credit: BLAST Dota)

Interested in the inner workings of BLAST Premier, one of the largest tournaments on the esports scene? How it is conceived, the thought process and the work behind it? Or maybe you’re a fan of the brand-new BLAST Bounty Hunt? Read on, because we sat down for an exclusive interview with BLAST’s Director of Product and Experience Nicolas Estrup to get a look behind the scenes.

BLAST Premier is one of the foremost CS:GO tournaments, with the Global Final boasting a prize pool of a whopping $1,500,000 for competing teams and $1,000,000 for the winning team.

The talented people at BLAST took a very innovative approach to re-shaping the CS:GO tournament scene and an even more innovative approach to now shaking up the Dota 2 scene with their upcoming BLAST Bounty Hunt format.

We sat down with Director of Product & Experience Nicolas Estrup to get into the details of the key features of these innovative tournaments that are always a breath of fresh air.

BLAST Bounty Hunt talent

The BLAST Bounty Hunt Talent. (Image credit: BLAST Dota)

Q: Even more than in BLAST Premier, in Bounty Hunt, fans are a crucial part of the experience. A very crucial part.

Yeah. 100%. With Bounty Hunt, we just knew that we wanted to come in with something that was, hopefully, familiar. With all of the homages and tip of the hats that we’re doing to things done in the past in Dota – including that which we know the community enjoys, such as fan predictions. So we wanted to make an event that kind of walks that fine balance between being a lot of fun for fans and players, but also being competitive.

Because I think some of the stuff we’ve been inspired by – and it would be crazy not to mention what was done with Midas Mode – a lot of these more fun takes on what a tournament can be, were deep inspirations when trying to figure out how we could fit in into this space. I feel like, with Bounty Hunt, hopefully, it will be the same, once it concludes. But I really feel like we found a good space to do just that in a Dota space that seems highly competitive with a lot of the same tournaments going on, all pointing towards this monstrosity that is The International. We knew that we had to do things different, but familiar.

The innovative dynamic prize pool & bounties explained. (Source: YouTube - BLAST Dota)

Q: Tell everybody how different Bounty Hunt is because it is quite unique.

Well, I think the bounties are of course the first thing that stands out. As I mentioned, we saw that tried in the past with Midas Mode and that was super exciting. So for us, it just made sense to explore that and see how we could build our format around that. Because it actually came from just thinking about prize pools and how to use them to tell stories throughout the games. After a lot of different talks within our teams, we got to: What if there is just 0$ waiting at the end?

Because they all have pots full of cash when it begins and then it’s just all-out mayhem from there and until they reach the end, stealing cash from each other. I think that was kind of what set it all off and then it morphed into what now is Bounty Hunt. What I feel like we’ve got now with Bounty Hunt is a format that, in its core format structure, is this simple double-elimination tournament bracket, which is fairly classic. That gives us the competitive element.

Then, by throwing in this dynamic prize pool and spreading out the wealth of the teams as they set off to compete… that was important to both the players – because now they’re all fighting for loot – but also for the fans to be a part of it: The bounties that were added to be a fan-vote was: let’s give the fans a chance by giving them a plethora of different bounties that could be, but you can only pick some. So that’s how we ended up with a system of a pool of easy bounties, medium and hard. And we made sure that the bounties that we had, in the way that they work, would be interesting and be in effect while a match is live.

Because that was our biggest fear, that everything wouldn’t happen until the end or the tournament is over. We wanted that dynamic, immediate reaction and letting the fans decide that was just… it just made sense.

Q: Do you think this system is a risk or is it a way forward? Is it a new innovation that we will see elsewhere too?

That’s a super-interesting question because that’s obviously something that we’ve also discussed at length and are not done discussing internally either. It’s something that we, at least now can see on paper, can make for exciting outcomes. I think anything that can do that is worth investigating across other things. If that then means that Bounty Hunt becomes a new format across games? I don’t know.

But the idea of the dynamic prize pool is something that we will potentially look at further when doing other types of events. It’s just such a good way of having excitement at every single step, which normal prize pools don’t really have. There you’re just fighting for some big pool waiting at the end and then you get a check or a fancy trophy and then that’s kind of it. This bounty system is more exciting, so I don’t want to rule that out – it’s definitely been a hot topic at the office.

Q: Fast Forward 10 years – it’s 2030. Bounty Hunt has evolved. What has it evolved to, where is it now and how big can it get?

So in that year, the Dota community will have, with arms wide-open, embraced this fantastic new format [laughs] and embraced us as a tournament organizer, and we’ll run into the sunset together on a field of beautiful Bounty Hunt competitions.

But, no, jokes aside, I think with this we… well, we’re not in the business of just doing one-off tournaments per se. We want to have a lasting impact wherever we enter and I think Dota is a great challenge for that. What the next steps will be, I obviously can’t touch on yet, but I think Dota is extremely exciting, so if we were able to work with that more, I would find that amazing. If Bounty Hunt can grow from this and become a staple thing in the community or across communities, maybe we’re eventually not just talking Dota anymore. There’s no reason why, with other games… we couldn’t do it with that as well.

So I think that’s an interesting part of that when you allow me to just throw fantasies at the wall [laughs]. But yeah, I definitely hope that it finds its place. I hope that the fans, at that point, will have bought into the concept fully, based on a lot of the hard work that’s done by our teams and the Dota tournament teams of the past, who did a lot of the groundwork for this as well. I just hope that Bounty Hunt becomes massive and hopefully that won’t be our only foray into Dota, but that remains to be seen.

Alright, we just about covered everything, I think...

Actually, maybe just one note: When talking fan-cam and all the initiatives you see us do on BLAST Premier – we will be doing the same for Bounty Hunt. So we’re looking forward to the Dota fan community to show us that they’re better than the Counter-Strike fans [laughs].

Catch up on Part 1 of our BLAST interview

Alright. That’s it: 2 out of 2 and it’s a wrap. We loved hearing about BLAST’s innovative ideas in esports and if you’re wondering what the fan-cam is – we cover all of that and more in Part 1 of our interview on BLAST Premier with Nicolas Estrup.

For all other news and updates regarding the BLAST Bounty Hunt, EarlyGame will have you covered, but of course, you can also stay up to date by following BLAST Dota on YouTube and Twitter or by simply clicking through their website.

As for the stream itself – it will be broadcast on the BLAST Dota Twitch channel.

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