Yes, that really is me standing next to the fabled Siege trophy. I’m back from my second Six Invitational, and it was a blast.
It’s been an exhausting week and a half, make no mistake. But what a great time we all had! The first Six Invitational with an audience since 2020, the hype was certainly there and tickets sold extremely fast when they were finally put on sale. I was so excited to go back to Canada, to see my best friend Camcamzoro again, and attend another Invitational & watch the trophy being lifted in-person once more.
It was great to be back among fellow Siege fans and to witness some incredible matches. One of the most exciting of them was the KOI vs Astralis game, which was ultimately heart-breaking as I was hoping KOI would advance to at least the finals. However, I wasn’t expecting to root for G2, but I was glad they won the tournament. The games were fun to watch, with some great strats and kills.
Ubisoft did an great job of organizing the event at Place Bell in Montreal. The eSports security director, Bruno LeBlanc, went above and beyond to make sure us cosplayers were accommodated and given a secure area to change and store our costumes, as well as permitting our props through security. There were some hiccups with Place Bell security itself, as they were clearly not experienced with cosplay, but overall, it went smoothly. I cannot thank him enough for the hard work Bruno did in making sure we were looked after at the Invitational.
Guess who? pic.twitter.com/bz2CKQrRWS— Rainbow Six Esports (@R6esports) February 19, 2023
The atmosphere there was fantastic. I had the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful people who had heard about my work in the Siege community, as well as all of the fantastic developers like Spooks, Alex, Laure, Vincent, Mathieu and Dorian. It was great to chat with them about the game, gadget design, cosplay, and see the humans behind the scenes. They are truly nice people, and they had even nicer words to say about my work. Spooks and his colleagues blew my mind when they revealed that when they start a new gadget design, they think of me and how I’m going to tackle the design challenges of that gadget.
I also had the pleasure of meeting many fellow cosplayers at the event, and it was great to see everyone as their characters and showing off their creativity. Some I hadn’t seen in over three years, while some I cosplayed with in Berlin back in August 2022 at the Major. Being among them all brought a tear to my eye. The Round Table of Operators, Siege’s biggest cosplay community, was there en force and there was no shortage of selfies being taken, stickers being handed out and group-shots with photographers and fans.
Looking back on the event, the happiest memory I’ll have of it will be standing on the large ‘6’ logo outside the front of the venue alongside all the cosplayers shouting “Welcome to the Six Invitational” as Ubisoft filmed us all. I’ve often said that we cosplayers bring the passion like no other, and being there among them all made it feel all the more real.
Siege fam <3 pic.twitter.com/2MAhxBBAid— Rainbow Six Esports (@R6esports) February 18, 2023
It was, however, not without some downsides. Ubisoft usually announce the event well in advance, around August/September, but this year we were only given the dates for the event in mid-October. Sadly, this meant that some people only had a few months to get things ready and plan flights, which were already expensive, let alone secure time off of work and accommodation in Montreal/Laval. My girlfriend wanted to come to the Invitational, but the flights from her part of the world on 4 months notice were extremely expensive, and to my great sadness she could not attend. The audience at this year’s SI was considerably smaller than at SI2020, and out of 65+ cosplayers that were present 3 years ago – only 30 this time.
Then, there was Covid. While I took all precautions leading up to the event, including testing daily for 2 weeks before my flight (and travelling with a mask) I sadly contracted it during that weekend and tested positive on the Monday after SI finished – as did many of my fellow cosplayers, and even some of the developers. While I knew it was a distinct possibility that I’d catch it from such a large event, I was surprised to see a lack of masks and sanitising stations around the venue. This is on Place Bell, however I think Ubisoft would do well to insist their events do have these amenities at their future events with large audiences.