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The modern age of gaming has been a wonderful one for gaming fans. As the medium has gone from strength to strength, we have been blessed with some truly incredible adventures that captivate players for hours on end. You may have been lucky enough to have played through Dishonored and played what is arguably the most masterfully crafted stealth-based game ever made, saving Dunwall in the process and clearing Corvo’s name. You may have played through the hellscape that is DOOM and DOOM Eternal, rushing through the fiery pits of hell at breakneck speeds, tearing demons from limb to limb. Or perhaps you have had the chance to check out Deathloop, a narrative roguelike of sorts that tasks the player with killing a bunch of superhumans known as the Visionaries and, ultimately, break the loop!
All of these games are truly a joy to behold, and for the casual player, you’ll probably spend perhaps hundreds of hours across all of these games, seeing all that the respective developers have planned for you. Well, what if we were to tell you that you could finish all of these games in a little over an hour in total. It seems improbable, right? Well, maybe for us mere gaming mortals, but speedrunners, this is a very real possibility, and for Seeker, this is just the norm. Don’t believe me? Check out this run below:
Today we speak to Seeker TV, a french speedrunner that has held world record times in all the games we mentioned above, and a few more for that matter. We sat down with Seeker and got to know the man behind the records, got to know what inspired him to become a world record runner, what games ignited his passion for gaming, and also, we talked about the phenomenon of speedrunning and what the future holds for speedrunning fans. So without further delay, let’s get into it. This is our speedrunning spotlight interview with Seeker TV!
Seeker TV – A Passion for Going Fast
Callum: Hey Seeker, it’s so great to get speaking to you, and with this interview, you become the first of many speedrunners that we intend to speak to at Avid Achievers, and what a way to start. At the time of writing, you hold the second-fastest any% runs for DOOM, Deathloop, Valley, DOOM Eternal, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, as well as some very respectable 4th places worldwide with games like Prey and the full Dishonored experience. However, we want to hear a little bit about you as a person first of all. So tell our readers, what’s your story. I’ll give you the floor to introduce yourself.
Seeker: Hello everyone, I’m Seeker, a French 31 years old dude who’s passionate about video games. I have been ever since I was a kid. I always liked playing competitive games such as Counter-Strike and, more recently, Rocket League. I got addicted to the competitive aspect of gaming, and eventually, that led rather naturally to me becoming a speedrunner.
Callum: Awesome, buddy, so before we dive into the world of speedrunning, which is why we are all here. What got you involved in the world of gaming, to begin with. What was your first console? What game series captivated you the most as a kid?
Seeker: My brothers were massively into gaming when I was growing up, so naturally, I ended up playing games at the age of about four years old. My first console was the SNES. I spent a lot of time playing a lot of games like Streetfighter, Mario Kart, DK country; honestly; there probably isn’t a classic game from that era that I didn’t play. I later got my hands on the N64, and I was once again hooked thanks to games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye 007, Super Smash Bros, and so on. I also loved playing a bunch of Final Fantasy games on the Playstation. I would say these were the early experiences that formed my passion for gaming.
Callum: Then, moving on, we move into the realm of speedrunning. So I want to ask you first, what was the thing that got you involved with this community? Was there someone that taught you the tricks of the trade, or were you a self-taught runner who just saw Youtube videos and GDQ and thought, I can do that?
Seeker: The first real introduction I had to speedrunning was when I was watching Cirno playing Half-life on Twitch. I was watching, and I thought it was a cool speed run to watch, but I never attempted to speedrun Half-Life at the time because, for whatever reason, I thought it was probably too complicated to learn and master, but it was fun to watch. I also watched some GDQs, but it never gave me the desire to speedrun any games by myself.
Then in 2017, after wanting to watch the ending of Prey (2017), I saw how short and broken the game was, and I wanted to see if I could take advantage of this and run Prey, trying out some new strategies and tactics to cut my total playtime down to size. However, after not initially understanding exactly how some of the tricks worked, I decided to join the speedrunning discord community, and I started to ask a bunch of questions about how to do the various strats and tricks. This is how I learned to run this game, and I also met a lot of lovely, helpful people with who I quickly became friends, like CreeperHntr, HenyK, Ceareadeth, Havrd, Bjurnie, and so on. It’s also when I started watching other speedrunners like those I just mentioned on Twitch. I learned a lot by watching their attempts, and it was easy to catch their latest attempts since you can see their status on discord when they are live streaming on Twitch. I also watched them stream a lot of different speedrun-friendly games that I wasn’t aware of, such as Dishonored and DOOM, which I then decided to speedrun myself later down the line.
Callum: Then, speaking of GDQ, was there ever a run that you saw throughout your time, either casually gaming or learning to speedrun, that inspired you to become one of the best global runners around?
Seeker: GDQ never gave me any motivation to be the “best” at speedrunning since it’s a marathon that showcases the fun, community aspect of speedrunning, not the competitive aspect of it. I’m also a shy person overall; I never wanted to be “known” or anything like that. I always did speedrunning because I found it and still find it fun to break the rules of a game by “outsmarting” it, finding ways to overcome the rules the developers set. This is my favorite part of speedrunning. Having a whole community trying to break the game, find glitches and small optimizations, and find the best route possible is fun. I work hard to ensure that my run is as tight as it possibly can be, that I know each section of the run pretty well and that there are no easy optimizations that I am missing. Then this is usually the time that I begin running the game and working towards a time that I am satisfied with. Not to brag, but it usually ends up with a World Record as I work tirelessly to learn every single aspect of the game. I learn how the game ticks, what slows you down, and more importantly, what makes you go fast!
Callum: That’s great! Then I want to get into your accolades within the space. You have so many incredible runs to your name. You have this inherent ability to break down games and rapidly complete them. So I have to ask, what does it take to be a speedrunner, in your opinion?
Seeker: I’m not gonna lie, if you wanna have a good competitive time in any particular game, you need to put in the hours. You will want to practice a lot of the key segments of the run; if you play these aspects of the game a lot, you get some muscle memory going, then you only need to think about what’s going on in the run instead of focusing on what key you have to press.
You also have to be smart and think a lot about every aspect of the run. Things like how do you get from point A to point B the fastest way possible, if it is possible to do dangerous and risky, potentially run-ending strategies consistently, You then need to consider if these strategies are worth it when compared to easier, safer tactics. There are so many variables and potential pitfalls you need to avoid, and with practice and experience, you become better at improvising and keeping runs going in the face of adversity.
There is a lot that can go wrong while speedrunning, and if you are not ready for every situation possible, you will lose a lot of time overall. Usually, the best speedrunners in their respective games are people who are the most consistent. Playing risky can pay off sometimes, but it costs you a lot of resets for potentially little reward. So my one tip would be to play it safe and use risky strategies sparingly.
Callum: Then move slightly away from speedrunning and onto your content. You are a streamer and a YT content creator. So what I want to ask is, how has that process of building a community and building a brand been for you as a speedrunner, and how do you think it differs from a traditional gaming streamer?
Seeker: I don’t consider myself a streamer or a youtube content creator. I’m streaming my speedrun attempts on Twitch so people can learn some stuff about the speed runs. I kind of see it as a way of providing a resource to the community, or people can watch me because they enjoy watching the games I run. I’m not an entertainer or anything. When I reach my goal, I usually stop streaming for a while until I find something new that interests me. But yeah, when you get World Records, it helps with the viewership of your streams/youtube channel. When I’m satisfied with the time I get, I upload my Personal Best on youtube. I was lucky after my first speedrun to have Kotaku making news about some dude beating Prey in under seven minutes, news that gave me a really good start to the youtube algorithm, which helped the growth of my youtube channel.
Then I also got lucky again when my DOOM (2016) World Record was noticed again by some big websites relaying the news, generating another new wave of followers/subscribers.
Callum: Now, One of your most recent consistent runs has been Deathloop. I just want to ask you how that game was to run. As obviously, this game was made with an internal speedrunning team at Bethesda/Arkane Lyon and was essentially made for speedrunners to play fast and Break the Loop. Plus, do you think that this is a consideration that developers will take into account in the future within the gaming industry?
Seeker: I wouldn’t say the game was made for speedrunners, in my opinion. You can finish it way faster than your 1st playthrough once you know what path is the most optimal, but they didn’t add what made, for example, Dishonored 2 good in terms of replayability. For example, a lot of cutscenes are still unskippable, whereas Dishonored 2 allowed you could skip them by holding F,
you also have to go through their forced menuing tutorial even with tutorials disabled in the settings every time you reset a run. Deathloop also made sure you can’t get past the 1st level of the game if you manage to open the door without the code needed; after finishing that level, you are sent back to the beginning of the game. Plus, if you miss a particular trick at the second part of the start of the game, you can’t reset your save file; you have to finish the day and go into the second stage if you want to reset that savefile. They also restricted the use of the scroll wheel for some actions like Jump or Interact, whereas, in Arkane’s previous games, it was allowed.
A lot of those issues could easily be fixed if they wanted to be speedrunner friendly. Plus, I’m not even going to mention the performances issues being fixed in the same patch where they fixed the glitch we need to speedrun the game, which makes us need to use the day one patch. I don’t want to sound like I’m hating on Bethesda Game Studios and Arkane Lyon because I love these companies and the game they are made, but it’s not a game that is “speedrun friendly” in my opinion, despite the internal team they dedicated to this. I wouldn’t want to put anyone off running this game because it is a really fun title to run, plus it’s a very short run, too, if you know what you are doing.
I hope someday developers and publishers will start hiring some globally recognized speedrunners to offer a new perspective on the games they are developing. If developers truly want to support the speedrunning community, this is something that they have to consider. However, I also understand how small the speedrunning community is compared to the number of casual players who just want to enjoy the game at their own pace. We represent like 0.1% of their player base, so we can’t expect them to do anything for us, we are not their priority, but hopefully, this will happen sometime in the future.
Callum: Then, with regards to the speedrunning community, I believe that this phenomenon continues to strive forward and do more and more incredible things year on year. So with your first-hand experience as an active runner, where do you see the future of speedrunning going in the next decade or so?
Seeker: The speedrunning activity is getting more and more popular, which is great, we see so many different online/offline marathons getting a lot of viewership, and it’s something great for the future of the community. Although, I’m also worried that speedruns may start being automatically associated with marathons to collect money for charity. It’s a nice way of showcasing speedruns and having a great time watching them, but there is also a competitive aspect of speedrunning that’s often not given the same spotlight. That being said, this aspect of speedrunning was recently supported by ESA (Break the Record LIVE) and some small tournaments organized by the speedrunning community. I don’t think it can become like an e-sport sized activity, but with the exposure that things like GDQ offers, I think the future is bright, and speedrunning isn’t going anywhere. I just hope that the competitive aspects get more coverage in the future. After all, very few runners get records during marathons.
Callum: Then lastly, as I know you are a busy guy, I just want to ask a few quickfire questions, and you can be as brief or as in-depth as you like. Here we go!
Favorite Game to Run?
I always end up going back to DOOM 2016. The movement and the glitches in this game are unique, very satisfying, and the atmosphere of this game is captivating. Plus, we are still finding new and interesting ways to break the game and potentially go faster, which is fun to mess around with.
Proudest Speedrunning Achievement?
I would say having 1st place on the Speedrun.com leaderboard for several years in DOOM 2016. So many runners were trying to get the record back, and every time my record stood until quite recently, so I’m proud of that. Also, having my Prey (2017) run stand as the world record for two years was a huge achievement. Again, a lot of guys were trying to get the record, and my record stayed on top for so long, which was an incredible feeling. I ended up losing my 1st place by one second after the new World Record holder found a new glitch that saved some time overall during the run. So to summarize, the proudest moment would be one of these two.
Your Speedrunning Hero?
I have a lot of respect for Distortion2; he’s good at a huge variety of different runs and can grind them daily like a madman; he’s talented at those games. I also have a lot of respect towards Voetiem; he’s good at movement-based games and always ends up beating the WR in the game he’s running. He recently took the World Record on the Deathloop leaderboard from me after running the game for less than a week.
A Game that you Wish you Could Run?
I wish I could run 2D platformers, like Celeste or the classic Mario Bros games, but I’m not good at games like that. My favorite type of games to personally speedrun are FPS games, but if I had the skills, I would run a platformer.
Favorite Game to Play Casually?
Back in the day, I enjoyed playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy 7, I finished those games a bunch of times, and I would happily do it again as they have aged beautifully and they never feel stale or boring. Although lately, I don’t have the same passion for playing games casually, I still enjoy playing a lot of different games.
So there you have it, our interview with an incredible speedrunner that has made some of the developers of some of the finest games of the modern era look real foolish. We would like to take this time to thank Seeker for their time and wish them luck on any future runs they take on. We know that there are more World Records in their future. Also, if you want to check out any of Seeker’s runs, keep up to date with their content output, or you just want to talk shop with a speedrunning whizz, we will include their socials and channels right here! As always, thanks for reading Avid Achievers!
Question: What Is GDQ?
Answer: Games Done Quick is a speedrunning showcase where gamers from all over the world who speedrun games come together and play these games live, showing fans just how broken their favorite games are. This event is not only about speedrunning, though. There is a great sense of community, tonnes of incentives for fans to vote for to spice up runs, and most importantly, the proceeds from this event always go to a worthwhile charity. If you haven’t seen this before, we suggest you check out the GDQ Youtube channel!
Question: What’s The Most Popular Game to Speedrun?
Answer: It’s hard to pin it down to just one game as the communities for these games are ever-growing. However, if we were going to select just one game to rule them all, it would probably be Super Mario 64. This game was one of the first popular games to speedrun, and even in 2022, this game still has tonnes of players who love running this classic title. Outside of this, a more modern game that would be a worthy contender would be Minecraft.
Question: Where Can I Play The Games That Seeker Runs?
Answer: You can play Dishonored on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. You can play Doom and Doom Eternal on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can play Prey on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and you can play Deathloop on PS5 and PC. If you want to run any of these games, we suggest that you watch some streams and join a speedrunning Discord related to the game in question.