PUBG esports has been around for quite a while now, and there have been many tournaments and trophies to decorate its history. Along the way down history, there is one team that shined the most: Gen.G. From their first championship at the AfreecaTV PUBG League pilot season (Gen.G Black), they were successful in many domestic and global competitions.
Many players had gone through Gen.G and had their glorious moments. Among those players, Cha “Pio” Seung-hoon has been with the team since 2019. Pio’s memorable performance in the 2019 Nations Cup and the 2019 PUBG Global Championship put his name high among the PUBG pro players.
In the 2021 PGI.S, Pio and Gen.G came in 3rd place overall, just trailing to Soniqs and Zenith. Although he wasn’t fully satisfied with that result, he continued on and hoped for better results in future tournaments.
After Phase 1 of the PUBG Weekly Series was over, Pio sat with Inven Global to talk about his career and PUBG esports in general.
How did you first get to play PUBG?
I enjoyed going to PC cafes with my friends, and we heard that there was a new game. So we just tried it. I wouldn’t say I liked FPS games in particular — I just liked all kinds of games. When there was a new game, I always tried it out with my friends. I mostly played League of Legends or Overwatch before PUBG — the most popular games.
How did you first become a pro gamer?
At first, there wasn’t really a “pro scene” and everyone was amateurs. There were tournaments, though, so I entered them with some people. We had teams set up amongst ourselves and we entered tournaments. But since the venues where they hold competitions were so far from home, I thought I’d be better off if I lived together with my teammates somewhere, so I applied for a pro team. Luckily, I was able to join GC Busan on my first attempt.
You played in GC Busan, OP.GG, and then joined Gen.G. Players in PUBG esports, especially the Korean players move teams a lot, but you’ve been in Gen.G for quite a long time now.
I think I was able to stay in Gen.G because I worked hard. The team is really great, my teammates are awesome, and the coaching staff or the team headquarters look after me so well — there’s no reason I would look for another team.
Why do you think other players move so much?
I don’t have that much experience playing a team game or living together with other people, but from my short experience, I think there might be conflicts in-game or outside the game. If the conflicts are hard to resolve, they would want to join a different team.
You said it was your first time living with other people in a team house — how is it?
Frankly, it was really awkward at first. I tend to be very shy around new people, so it was hard to become friends with others, but now that I’ve been here for quite a while, I’m pretty used to it. Now, I can befriend any new people since I’m used to it.
What would be the pros and cons of living together with your teammates?
First, everything is interesting and fun. Since I’m not alone, whatever we do, it’s enjoyable. As for cons… I don’t think there are any… It’s quite far from home. I need to travel a while to get home. Other than that, there’s nothing. [Laughs] The organization even does our laundry for us!
Putting the welfare and teammates and everything aside, Gen.G is the most decorated team in PUBG esports. How do you think that was possible?
I think the environment our organization sets for us is amazing. When we play, they look after us really well. Especially when we go abroad to attend world championships, the organization looks after our littlest matters starting from food. That way, we were able to play in the tournaments very comfortably. I do think food is quite a big matter.
Also, as a member of the great Gen.G PUBG team, you’re a player with one of the best careers in the scene. How was it all possible? Is it your instinct? Practice? Talent?
I do know that I won quite a few championships as I’ve been active in the PUBG esports scene. To do so, luck is quite a big factor, but more than anything, the game isn’t played by myself. My teammates were very reliable and they did so well. I think everything was possible because they were there with me. One person doing exceedingly well doesn’t mean anything. All four people have to work together and do well. Since Gen.G was a team that did that, we were able to win more championships than others.
As far as I know, you’re the in-game leader. Even so, you’re always ranked near the top in kills or damage. Isn’t it difficult to do that as the in-game leader?
When I go to get kills, my teammates always brief me of other things and gather valuable information, and they make it easy for me to deal damage or pick up kills. Even when I’m in danger, I have faith in my teammates when I play, that they will protect me. I think that’s why I’m able to deal damage and pick up kills.
Also, when I listen to your in-game calls, your explanations are very detailed. Pings, directions, landscape descriptions… How could you multi-task so well?
Actually, I wasn’t able to do that at first, but as I gained experience, I learned the ways little by little. Whenever I practiced, I tried to give detailed instructions in the simplest way possible. If I say left or right, it could vary by person, so I worked really hard to make that work.
If PUBG was a simple FPS game, I don’t think I would have been able to come this far. I don’t think my mechanics are at the highest level. I think the reason I could play this way is that I tend to play smart. In other FPS games, I wasn’t able to get to the highest level — I was just below the highest. For example, I remember that I reached just outside top 500 when I played Overwatch.
How was PGI.S for you? It was a huge competition. Were there any memorable players?
It was a great experience since we were able to get acquainted with foreign players. I got quite close with Shrimzy during PGI.S. We played a lot of games together and he taught me a lot of English too. I think all the players were very memorable. [Laughs]
The PGI.S had the biggest prize pool ever in PUBG esports history, and you ended up 3rd. Even at 3rd place, the prize money was quite large. But for Gen.G, and for you, I don’t think it would have been completely satisfying.
I would say about 30%. I really, really, really wanted to win the championship, but we fell short, and that was very regretful.
The PGI.S also featured a completely new rule. What do you think about the chicken rule?
I think those attempts are positive. However, the game, PUBG, has the circle which is random. There’s a lot of luck involved, and I think it’s very discouraging that it means nothing unless you come in 1st. Nothing else matters if you don’t win the chicken dinner. Kills don’t matter.
I think both kills and becoming the last man standing are important. In that regard, I liked the super rule the most. In the super rule, they give you placement points, and kill points are added. They reward you for surviving a long time, and give you points for kills, too. I liked the PGI.S finals rule.
In the PGI.S, teams needed to win a chicken dinner in the preliminary rounds and fight with the super rule in the weekly finals. This rule even makes it more dramatic. If a team advances by winning a last-minute chicken dinner, and wins the finals, it would be really amazing.
The current rule is different — winning chickens is all that matters. What do you think of the current rule?
[Laughs] Honestly, it’s really exhausting. As a player, it’s so much harder than the kill point rule. We did get decent results in the most recent PWS grand finals, but that’s not the point. With this rule, players or teams tend to die earlier and fight more. Especially in the later games of the series. The lower-ranked teams have to fight for nothing, if they’re too far behind the top. If I were to be in such position, I think it’ll be extremely discouraging. I think it’s a very difficult rule for pro players.
I think they should meet somewhere around the middle. Since PUBG is a survival game, winning the chicken dinner is important, but kills should be important too. I think if they find the neutral ground between the two, it’ll work out for the best. Most likely, it’ll be the super rule. If that doesn’t sound right, they could adjust the placement points to make it more important.
Are there any other things that you think need improvement?
I think they should promote the competitions more. Back during the Nations Cup, the teams were divided by country — it was quite popular. They may have advertised that tournament more, but in the later tournaments, people didn’t really know they were happening. I hope they promote the tournaments more in the future.
One of the biggest criticism PUBG esports gets is that it’s rather boring to watch. What do you think?
Since it’s a survival game, I agree that some parts are boring. We need to loot, and while we do that, as a viewer, it gets boring. Also, if the team they’re rooting for gets eliminated early in the game, they have to wait for like 20 minutes. I understand their criticism.
However, that could be improved in several ways — catching more kill moments, playing replays, and things like that. If they show those moments in more detail, people would have much more fun watching the game. If these parts are improved, it’ll be a lot more interesting.
What was the most memorable moment in PUBG esports history?
The 1v3 that Inonix pulled off against Brazil was amazing. That was the most memorable. It was back in Nations Cup.
Also, the one against OATH at the PGI.S too.
How about your highlights?
I don’t think I have any of those great moments. [Laughs]
What? Have you already forgotten crawling for 10 minutes?
Oh! [Laughs] Since I lost at that last moment… [Laughs]
It’s been about 4 years already since you’ve become a pro player. Did you think that you’d be able to become a professional gamer?
I did want to try to become a pro gamer, but I wasn’t sure that I could become one. Back then, I didn’t even think about joining one of the big major teams. All I thought of was winning the championship. It could be because of that pure mindset that brought me here.
How do you like life as a pro player? Are there any hard times as a pro?
I’m really enjoying it. Probably the hardest times as a pro player would be having conflicts with teammates or maybe the results, but I get along extremely well with the others, so if I just get good results all the time, I would be always very happy.
I sometimes do feel pressure about our results, but I always think that since I’m one of the four players on the team, I have to work harder to get closer to the championship, so I do exactly that.
It’s time to wrap up. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We lost the World No.1 reputation at the last PGI.S, but in the next global tournament, we’ll bring it back. I’ll work hard so that Gen.G fans could always be proud of us. I’m always doing my best, so I’d be grateful if you keep an eye on us. Thank you.