The 27-year-old won the world title in the Rainbow Six Siege two years in a row, and took the whole gaming world by storm. Now he wants to get more females into the games industry. Fabian Hällsten, Piteå, had already started studying to be a social studies teacher at university when his e-sports career took off.
–I started quite late. Many start already at the age of 12, but I had had turned 20 before I entered this world.
The choice of Rainbow Six Siege was really just a coincidence. He had been playing Counter Strike for a couple of years when he saw the trailer for the new game.
–I was really fooled there. I saw the trailer for the new Rainbow Six Siege and was terribly impressed, but when I tried it, it didn’t turn out to be as cool as I thought. I still thought it was fun with something new and kept playing and it turned out I was good at it. I made many new contacts and started playing at a higher level.
Fabian Hällsten lived in Helsingborg for two and a half years, but at the end of 2017 he moved back to his hometown Piteå, where he feels most comfortable.
–I like it better in Piteå, here it is calm and safe at the same time as it is perfectly possible to play at an elite level from a smaller town. You can play from anywhere, but in my experience it is best to play where you feel most comfortable.
Now he has worked full time as a professional player for four years. Between 2016 and 2019 he dominated the e-sport scene.
Won the world title two years in a row
In 2018, he played for the world title in the Rainbow Six Siege and won.
–I was down 0-2 and I had barely played the map that came up then, so I thought “now it’s over”, but somehow I magically won that game and it ended 3-2. The adrenaline rush after that win sat in for 42 hours. It was an absolutely wonderful feeling.
The following year, he won the world title again. The game ended 3-0 to Fabian’s advantage, but the feeling after that win was not at all the same as at the first.
–That time I felt nothing. It was just like “Well, so I won again”. That time I already knew before that I was the best in the world. Starts Delta Project – with respect for the players Fabian has seen how the games industry works and noticed a lot of shortcomings which he wants to change. That’s why he started Delta Project together with colleague Marc “Jume” Steinmann from Germany.
–With this project, we are treating the people in the e-sports industry correctly and with respect. In large organizations transparency is very poor and players are treated as products that are thrown out if they do not generate enough money. We’re building an organization that does not exploit people, where all players have the opportunity to buy in and be involved and decide, and where they can leave whenever they want, Fabian says and continues:
–In larger organizations, there is often a culture of silence, we want to work against that with our project. With us, there are no contracts that you need to keep quiet about, why you are leaving the organization for example. With us you get say what you think.
Welcome females into the industry
They also have an ambition to get more female players.
–We want to give women a chance. What I noticed in this industry is that it is a structural depression of female players. Some have women’s teams in their organization, but then it is only for PR and they get poorly paid. We value female players.
Now they have a women’s team that recently won a European competition and is ranked as Europe’s best women’s team.
–An idea for the future is that we will have mixed women’s and men’s teams for them to integrate with each other.
The goal of the organization has never been to be the greatest or to earn the most money.
–Those things are a nice side effect, but our goal is to create a happier existence for the players. In addition to running the Delta Project, Fabian has a desire to return to the top.
–Of course I want that. I’m a competitive person. I am working on becoming the best in the world again. The attitude has helped his media personality Fabian Hällsten has been called “The man who shit-talked his way to the top” and “E-sports’ very own Zlatan”.
–In this industry, it is required that you have a personality and that you show who you are to make an impact on, for example, social media. E-sports is a lot about entertainment and that I have taken on this attitude helped my media personality. He says that it also takes an incredible mental strength to be in e-sports industries.
–If you lose matches, you can get a lot of hatred against you. I can be the greatest asshole. Then others can focus on hating me instead of my teammates. I do not deal with hatred, but younger people could and that’s why I take it on instead.
Many talents up north
A lot is happening in the e-sports industry in both Norrbotten and Västerbotten.
–I have a feeling that northern Sweden, to a greater extent than the rest of the country, creates talent. There are lots of talents that come from here both in sports and other activities.
But what does it take to be good at e-sports?
–That you dedicate hours and that you set goals. It also requires rapid response and to be able to read situations and adapt to them. In the beginning, he devoted quite a few hours to playing.
–It could be 10-12 hours per day. I often stopped playing at 3 o’clock at night. You always aim to get better and then it’s hard to quit. Now he plays about five hours a day to maintain his skill level.
–We start playing at 11 am. That is really early in the morning for us players, before we used to start at 3 pm. But we have a healthier schedule now. It is important to be able to have a life outside of gaming as