In the last few hours REUNITED have shocked Overwatch fans around the world with the announcement that the organisation is to disband, ceasing all operations and releasing its players.
Today we are sad to announce that Reunited will cease all operations and we have allowed our players pursue new opportunities to further their careers elsewhere. One year ago we started Reunited and everyone involved with the organization had high hopes for our future together, but things don't always go like they are supposed to. We are sorry to disappoint our loyal fanbase but hope that you will continue to support the Reunited players in the future.
CEO Frederik "Huggos" Kragh Christensen and COO Christian Jantzen go on to offer up some very frank reasoning for their decision to disband, citing the financial expectations and uncertainty created by Blizzard's ambitious Overwatch League plans:
There is a range of reasons as to why this is happening now. The main reason, however, is the timing of the Overwatch League conflicting with our internal financial model, as we are running out of money. Earlier this fall, the news surfaced that we were in talks with several large sports entities, however, none of these were successful due to the uncertainty surrounding the acquisition of league spots. To be very clear: we are not opponents to Blizzard's work with the league and actually believe that this is what the industry needs to push forward. However, in the case of Reunited, the timing came at the worst possible moment. We look forward to following the league and cheer for the boys as they enter the most ambitious stage in esports history.
The pair are currently running a Reddit AMA alongside their former Overwatch team captain, Morte.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of the news that Sergi "Winghaven" Torras and Stefan "ONIGOD" Fiskerstrand had been released from the roster. Over the weekend that story had developed with word coming from the REUNITED Discord that former Slav Squad members sharyk and Rubikon were the prime candidates to replace them.
Curious to learn more about the roster shuffle I interviewed Kruise last night before the REUNITED disbandment had been announced… and then followed up today with a few clarifications! So don your time travel hat and read on:
So we have heard the news on Twitter from the players and the organisations that Winghaven and ONIGOD have been released from REUNITED. Now it has emerged that Rubikon and sharyk are playing with the team, you will be moving to flex and Morte will be on Lucio. Can you fill us in on the background to these various moves? What has driven the team decision making process up to this point?
Kruise: We needed a change, we were seeing no improvement with our scrims and the atmosphere in the team was getting worse and worse. We've taken quite some time to think about what we want to do and this is the decision we made.
We just want to get back to where we were a few months ago, we've had quite some unfortunate situations come up in the past few months, which have pushed us back but we are on track again and I am feeling good about this.
In the past REUNITED have taken what could be seen as risky moves on the transfer market with varying degrees of success. Picking up Kyb from the EU leaderboard and plucking ONIGOD from relative obscurity on Nordic Alpha. This time you are considering two more established players. How much have these previous experiences shaped your recent decisions? What were the criteria you had in mind when looking for new members this time?
K: We just needed a good Ana and Reinhardt player and uNFixed played with Rubikon at the World Cup so he knew he was good and we all already knew that Sharyk was a beast from playing against him.
I can't say that our past decisions were mistakes, the Kyb pick up worked for gamescom but went downhill after that. Onigod was a last minute pickup as we needed a player for OGN as Kyb wanted to take a break a few days before we had to fly for OGN.
But yes picking up more established players is way more secure but the problem is most players are contracted.
As a player owned organisation do you feel that REUNITED are handicapped when it comes to making roster moves in so much as these other organisations have deeper pockets to negotiate buyouts?
Despite the fact we haven't seen REUNITED compete recently, you are still viewed as a tier one team. ANOX/Slav Squad were the quintessential tier two team in that they had produced some big wins but had not matched that with consistent performances. Fans might ask why you have not sought out big names to deliver on your big aspirations?
K: I can agree with other organisations having an easier time dealing with picking up players/ buying out players.
It's nice that you think we are still a tier 1 team, but we have a lot of proving to do. It's pretty depressing going from being one of the best teams in the world to not performing very well. I am very motivated at the moment though, and I do think you will see us back in old form very soon, but we shall see.
Big names come with big contracts and normally big names are happy with their teams. But I am going to be 100% honest, I am very happy with the current line-up, and wouldn't want to pick up any other Ana or Reinhardt from other teams. Rubikon and Sharyk are very good at what they do. We've only been practicing for 2 days now, but like I said before I am very happy.
OK so maybe I do have my rose tinted spectacles on and REUNITED have fallen down the rankings in recent months. Who do you see as the current top five teams in Europe? As an outsider, it seems almost impossible to judge with the lack of significant tournaments and the best European teams being exported around the globe. What is going on in the scrim scene? How are REUNITED stacking up against the best in Europe right now?
K: Top 5, hard to judge, can't always take scrim results seriously, but we are doing well in scrims that's for sure. Will need to wait and see for tournaments to pop up in EU again to see how we stand.
How do you feel about the current state of the European scene with regards to tournaments? Compared to six months ago the EU schedule looks barren, yet we increasingly see region locked majors like MLG Vegas or the NGE Winter Premiere. Is it inevitable that we will see REUNITED relocate to North America in search of competition?
K: It's sad that there are no EU tournaments, it's forcing a lot of the top EU teams to move.
I can't say for sure that we will move to NA, but it is fairly likely.
Looking to the immediate future then, can we expect to see REUNITED back in Korea for APEX Season 2?
K: Would love to go, but I don't think we are invited.
If we get invited we will go. I love Korea!
Damn! There are going to be a lot of broken-hearted Korean fangirls... What have you taken away from your time in Korea, both as a team and on an individual level?
K: Yeah, I am pretty sad that we can't go, I really enjoyed my time in Korea, the fans are amazing and I loved the food, but I can't really go into what we learnt in Korea.
Circling back round then to the roster shuffle... at what point did you decide to switch roles? Did you recruit to build around this change or did you change based on your new recruits?
K: Decided to try a few things out, I was down for playing Ana or flex I've always been the type of player who doesn't mind what role/ hero he plays I just want to win.
We found Sharyk first so we needed to find a flex or an Ana and we found a Ana first. I played DPS before I joined Reunited so it was nothing too new to me, I've always been practicing other heroes.
So we didn't really build around me playing flex, it just sort of happened.
Which heroes can we expect to see you flexing on? How does impact on your role as an ingame leader?
K: Morte is now doing the ingame leading.
Right now I am playing a lot of DVA and Zarya but hopefully in the future I can be on Genji etc.
Genji is my favourite hero.
Yeah I've seen your stream! How much has the current world of tanks meta dictated the roster moves? Are you building for the current meta or with hope that tank compositions get balanced out?
K: I dislike the world of tanks meta, but we didn't build our team based on any meta. Expecting to be good at any meta with this team.
Just to wrap things up then, indulge me a little bit - what are your wildest dreams for REUNITED and for Overwatch in 2017? What would make the perfect year for you?
K: I really want to get back on top, that's for sure. Also would love to go back to Korea, those two would make 201 7 amazing for me.
Maybe pretty basic but that's what I want.
Staying grounded, I can respect that! Thanks for taking the time to talk to over.gg around your practice schedule. Can't wait to see the new roster in competition. Good luck!
K: Thanks no problem
So since we spoke last night the news has broken that the REUNITED organisation has disbanded, but it has been clarified that the Overwatch roster will remain together. In hindsight, was the impending disbandment the real reason you were not returning to Korea for APEX S2? Was it part of the reason Winghaven and ONIGOD parted ways? Or are all these events independent of each other?
K: We will be staying as a team and all those events are independent of each other.
We want to become the best team possible and to do that we needed to replace Wing and Oni.
Beyond the players themselves, will see the ex-REUNITED staff such as your coach Hayes or your manager Huggos continue to be involved with the Overwatch roster?
K: Hayes will carry on and I am not sure about Huggos, I am sure he has plans elsewhere, he's a smart man.
What is the legal status of the players now that the org has disbanded? Are you all technically free agents or would a new organisation have to buy out your contracts?
K: Free agents.
What details can you give us about interest from potential orgs? How many interested parties are there? How far advanced are the talks? Who is taking the lead on negotiations now that you no longer have a manager?
K: Morte is doing all the talking, we only started today so let's see what comes of it.
Well, may your contracts be fat and your fans be many. Best of luck in your new adventure. Thanks again for clarifying the situation.
K: Thank you.
The legacy of the REUNITED organisation as the most successful home grown Overwatch esports brand to date is now being consigned to the history books, but the roster is set to continue in the hunt for glory. It is a bittersweet realisation that the only way forward was to dismantle all that they had built and take a leap of faith with some other organisation, but it just serves to illustrate how high the stakes are now in competitive Overwatch.
The as yet unnamed ex-REUNITED roster is currently:
- Hendrik-William "vallutaja" Kinks (DPS)
- Andrei "uNFixed" Leonov (DPS)
- Thomas "Morte" Kerbusch (Support)
- Harrison "Kruise" Pond (Flex)
- Normunds "sharyk" Faterins (Tank)
- Ruben "Rubikon" Zurabyan (Support)
- Elliot "Hayes" Hayes (Coach)