Valve has announced the premiere details of Free to Play, a feature-length documentary that follows three professional DotA players as they prepare for The International in 2011, the first million dollar prize DOTA 2 tournament and the first million dollar prize esport tournament in video game history. The announcement comes along with a trailer and a promotional website.
“FREE TO PLAY is a feature-length documentary that follows three professional gamers from around the world as they compete for a million dollar prize in the first Dota 2 International Tournament. In recent years, E Sports has surged in popularity to become one of the most widely-practiced forms of competitive sport today. A million dollar tournament changed the landscape of the gaming world and for those elite players at the top of their craft, nothing would ever be the same again. Produced by Valve, the film documents the challenges and sacrifices required of players to compete at the highest level.”
DotA’s own story about its origin as a community supported mod becoming a bigger than life esport is paralleled by the professional players represented by three names featured the Free to Play documentary and beloved by the DOTA community – Dendi, HyHy, and Fear. The feature-length film follows the emotions and struggles of the players as they set their goals on their biggest competition yet.
DOTA 2 is described as an action RTS game produced by Valve and is the Source Engine standalone port of the popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients All-Stars (commonly abbreviated to DotA.) The gameplay is difficult to describe – two teams of five players are matched in a complex game of hero strategy that blends game mechanics of Blizzard-style real-time strategy and dungeon crawlers. DOTA 2 not only enhances the fluidity of the gameplay over the mod, but offers means to immerse oneself beyond the game by being able to watch tournaments in the client live and on demand. Each year, DOTA players can tune in to The International, the games top premiere tournament with a 1.6 million US dollar prize pool sponsored by Valve. The most recent yearly event, The International 2013, broke the esports prizing record with its partially community funded prize pool of 2.8 million.
Free to Play is scheduled to be available for download for free from the Steam Store on March 19. A special premiere screening will be held at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco on March 18 at 8 PM.