David Walsh, or Walshy, has long been a force to be reckoned with in the Halo community. He's won three National MLG championships but has quite recently (last week) announced his retirement. Now he's moved on to commentary, hoping to re-energize the fading interest in Halo. Let's see what he had to say at the Red Bull LAN in Orlando, where Halo and Starcraft 2 Pros are training to better themselves and their play.
1) You’ve recently announced your retirement from the professional Halo circuit- what motivated your decision to leave pro gaming behind?
As much as I love gaming, I always told myself that if I wasn’t going to go 100% at it that it was time to stop. I just got to a point in my life where it was time to move on to bigger and better things,apply my passions elsewhere.
2) How do you feel about the recent announcement that Halo 4 will not have a beta?
I’m not surprised. While it was nice to be able to play Halo 3 early, there’s a shorter development cycle this time around (2 years instead of 3) so they don’t have as much time for a beta. I’d love to be able to play it early on, so I’m disappointed, but I do understand.
3) If you had to pick one game in the Halo series, what was your favorite from a campaign perspective and why?
Halo 1 was the one I played the most – has a great storyline. You get to save the world. The games have always had a great campaign. It’s one of the things that built the community, so I’m going to have to go with Halo 1.
4) And from a multiplayer perspective?
Going to make this a 2 part answer: Halo 1 2v2s – I used to play those all day long, I had a good group of three other players a really good rotation of maps, just running around dominating 2v2s, was really well balanced. Halo 2 4v4s – it was the first Halo game that had a large amount of teamwork, and I really loved the button combinations. It was also really well balanced, and as I said, teamwork oriented.
5) Do you think the Halo series is in good hands, or should it have stopped when Bungie left the project?
I’m an optimist, so I’m going to say yes, its in good hands. You still have a lot of really good people on the project like Frank O’Connor. They’re always trying new things and sometimes people are really resistant to change. You have to be optimistic, though – I have faith in them.
6) Sundance DiGiovanni, head of MLG, has tweeted recently that Halo needs to put up good numbers this year – do you think the community can respond to this call?
It’s a mix of the community and also the game itself – people have been disappointed with Reach. That’s one of the best things about me being in commentary, I can help people get more energetic about Halo, understand it more. If not, I’d be sad to see it go, it’s been a big part of mine and a lot of others’ lives for awhile and we’d love to see it stay on the circuit. I always try to be optimistic and hope it stays.
7) What kind of support does being a Red Bull sponsored cyber-athlete get you? How is this unique to other sponsorships out there?
Red Bull helps me with different aspects of my life – I’ve worked with a charity so they come sponsor the event. I was really interested in skydiving so they took me skydiving three times. They’ve let me fly a Russian MIG. More than just money – that’s really important to me. I’m a really loyal guy, it’s nice to see them care about the person rather than just representing the brand.
8) What advice would you give to prospective FPS players looking to get sponsored?
How you present yourself – you can’t go around disrespecting others. It’s all about how a company wants to be represented. Winning’s very important, you have to be very good at the game, but a lot of companies also look at this.
9) Do you follow any of the other up and coming FPS communities, perhaps to see the next big thing in the FPS scene?
I’ve been strictly Halo for the most part, I sometimes watch CounterStrike streams but that’s about it. Haven’t really gotten into Gears of War or Call of Duty.
10) How many hours would you say that a top Halo competitor needs to practice in a week?
At the very least 25 hours to stay at the very top. That’s at a minimum – obviously the more you practice the better you’ll be.
11)Any closing words for the Halo community and my readers on GameZone?
Thanks for the interview Walshy! We wish you luck as you embark on this new commentating endeavor! Dustin Steiner is GameZone’s eSports Correspondent! You can follow him on Twitter @SteinerDustin!