Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck “Chuckie” Stephen Gunn, who was partly responsible for the Quantic Gaming/Team Vile merger that happened earlier this week. In this interview, we discuss the merger, the players it affects and how it affects them, as well as some of the more pressing issues regarding Quantic and the community. Below is the transcript from the interview, verbatim.
Justin Telmo: Please, would you introduce yourself for the readers?
Chuck Stephen Gunn: I’m Stephen Gunn. I’m a Father, Google Engineer, and Starcraft fanatic. I’ve been involved with teamVile since last summer at MLG Anaheim, and after the deal this past week, I’m involved supporting those same players after they were picked up by Quantic. There are many people who call me “Chuckie” since my frist name is technically charles, its my character name in most games including SC2.
JT: Did HWG have anything to do with the deal? And if they did, what part did they play?
CG: Not really. HWG reached out to vile while the deal was going on. I know Rommel (HWG’s CEO) from the Christmas/Fall LANs [that] he runs for SC2, as did several other members of Vile.
JT: I know that Spanishiwa had attended a couple of those aforementioned LANs, but as of late he’s been a little MIA. What has he been up to?
CG: We get that question frequently. He’s a freshman at U.C. Davis. I know he played on their CSL team this past year, and that he has a girlfriend. Without speaking too much for Mike, I think he’s just discovered the world (as a freshman in college) and has too much to do. He (QuanticSpanishiwa) and Ryan (QuanticState) told me they were practicing off ladder with the intent of whipping Mike back into shape. So perhaps we’ll see him in action again soon.
JT: I completely understand that feeling – being a university student myself. Let’s talk a little about one of your youngest up-and-coming players, Illusion. My understanding is that he’s only 16 years old, yet one of the more talented players that was on Vile. How do you think he compares to the likes of SaSe and NaNiWa?
CG: I just watched Naniwa’s Code S match from this week again. I’m much more familar with Illusions’s play than the Naniwa/Sase. You’re right that he is only 16, he lives in Virgina. As far as his results, they have been on a steady climb. He continues to improve faster than the curve.
JT: So what are the odds of seeing him taking a respectable position, at say, an upcoming MLG?
CG: At MLG Columbus he dropped into round-6 of open bracket seeded. He lost in that round to iSCrazymoving who has recently been Code-A in Korea, and iSAxlav. At IPL4 in Vegas, he was on quite a tear.
CG: At Vegas, he defeated Liquid Zenio, Kiwikaki, SlayersRyung and FXOz, finally lost to CreatorPrime, who advanced to pool play – or rather the championship bracket for the event – from the loser’s bracket. Korea, everybody asks about Korea. I think its fair to point out that Quantic has an outstanding partnership with StarTale, and that’s part of what made the partnership a win-win. But we’re on day 3 after announcing this, so I can’t confirm his flight details just yet. I think a the odds favor training in Korea sometime in 2012, though.
JT: Moving on from Illusion, let’s talk about the recent controversy regarding Stephen “Destiny” Bonnell II. What did his removal from the team mean for Quantic – both as a team and as a business?
CG: So… Steven left on his own terms. There was some drama in the community about his persona on stream, and his comments. I think thats been beaten to death. I’ve met him several times at events, and he’s very professional and intelligent. This was going on while we were arranging the pick-ups and investment, so we were aware of the events but were not involved in the decision making. He’s got a popular personal brand not withstanding detractors. I wish him the best and I think he’ll land on his feet just fine. There’s no excuse for his behavior but I find that I end up saying that about most humans I know…
JT: Was there any significance behind having the deal happen at Google headquarters? As far as I know, the only ties Google has to the Starcraft 2 community (barring the recent “zerg rush” Easter egg) are having a team in the AHGL.
CG: So the deal with Quantic was arranged online. I met with Rommel at Google, where I work, the other day over lunch to discuss local lan events here in the bay area. In particular events where Quantic players could be available, or some sort of joint/venture sponsorship. He reached out while this drama was unfolding and wanted my help to get Spanishiwa and State to come down for some promotional events. We had to defer until we knew the clan tag again to discuss.
JT: Speaking of the clan tag, will that change? Or did all players simply adopt “Quantic” into their name? I remember some players adopting the tag as “QxG” online, why the change?
CG: Yeah.. so there are some length restrictions. QuanticIllu QuanticDomo QuanticHawk QuanticState – I’ve already seen online. I don’t know the history, QxG was the tag, but Naniwa became Quantic.Naniwa and I think the tag changed at that point. I don’t know if it was planned or organic, sorry.
JT: Since you’ll be financially backing these players, what can we expect out of them in 2012 and possibly 2013?
CG: I think the major goals ahead of us are:
1) Maintain the team cohesion, it kept some players (Illusion) with us. There are many solid players already on the Quantic roster: Agh, Theognis, Flo, etc.
2) In the past, we haven’t been very formal about practice. Most of the players on the team (when we asked them what they wanted to do next) asked for more structure and disipline to practice and tournament prep.
3) You already brought up Korea.
Everything else is probably wait-and-see. This scene changes very quickly.
JT: This brings up a point about Hong “Yong” Sung Yong. He is the only Vile player to not go through with the Quantic acquisition. He is noticeably a very high-level player and has even attended the GSL while on team ZeNEX. What happened?
CG: I’m not sure. I think he got busy with school. He kinda dropped out of the scene (BattleNET, Skype, etc.). I think the necessary cleanup work to make the roster accurate happened inline with the pickups.
JT: You said earlier that you had watched NaNiWa’s GSL games earlier. As it stands, he is still guaranteed a Code S spot next season. How are the standing Quantic players (namely NaNiWa, SaSe, theognis, Flo) reacting to the Vile acquisition?
CG: I have not spoken to the players in Korea, but the reaction from others in Quantic has been overwhelmingly positive and excited. I think this is the proverbial situation where the total is much more than the sum of the parts.
JT: Awesome, I think that about wraps it up for the interview. Any closing words?
CG: Quantic Fighting! GL HF GG! And a shout out to Razer, our awesome sponsor!