A Fighting Game Event Designed to Connect Top-Level Players With New Audiences Through Competition and Personalized Content

Fighting game player and content creator Steve "Lord Knight" Barthelemy brought together ten high-level competitors at the Banyan Tree in Puebla, Mexico, on April 12-14, 2024, for a remarkable event, the Lord Knight Masters Invitational. These players didn’t just showcase their skills in Guilty Gear -Strive-. They also created content that allowed their audience to get to know the people behind the controllers. Through the support of his sponsors at Beastcoast and the production team at Main Game, Lord Knight put on an event he was proud of, showcasing incredibly talented players while providing a platform to promote their content. Evo spoke to Lord Knight about the event, his career, and his goals for sharing the spotlight with other creators to create a stronger, more visible community.

Inspired by his experiences at Beyond the Summit, a gaming entertainment production studio that has since closed its doors, Lord Knight wanted to create a player-focused event to bring the players and the viewers closer together. At first, Lord Knight was worried that an event of this magnitude might not have been worth the risk. He felt he might be jumping ahead too far in his content creation career to make Lord Knight Masters as big as it needed to be.

I'm close to getting like the silver plaque at YouTube,” said Lord Knight. “It would make more sense for me to follow Diaphone and Justin Wong and do my own IRL interview-style content than putting together a summit-style invitational. This is three or four steps beyond where I feel like I should be. A close friend of mine convinced me to try to do this. I had the idea to do it for a while. If I do it, I think it will help me a lot and help a lot of people. I'm glad he convinced me to try to do it right now.”

Thankfully, Lord Knight had all the help he needed to get the event going through the support of his sponsor, Beastcoast, and the production company Main Game. It took abundant time and planning, but everything came together. Beastcoast was handling the primary financing for the event alongside merchandise sales. The event was held at the Banyan Tree in Puebla, Mexico, the same city where Main Game holds its massively successful Smash Factor events. Lord Knight had the financing, the venue, and the production team he needed to run an incredible event. Now, he needed to make it stand out from other invite-only events within the community.

When creating the Lord Knight Masters, Lord Knight had three goals. His first goal was to give each player a platform. While each player Lord Knight selected was incredibly skilled, he felt they varied in overall presence and following. Lord Knight wanted to provide everyone an opportunity to grow their following and make an impression beyond their performance in major tournaments. Sharing the spotlight was one of the primary ways Lord Knight hoped to make his event feel fresh, unique, and inviting.

This event was a combination of people,” said Lord Knight. “Some people, you know their personality. For example, I invited Kizzie Kay. He has a YouTube channel, too, right? People know his personality. But then there's PepperySplash, for example, who, if you are into Guilty Gear, you really know him because he's top 8 in Guilty Gear XX, Xrd, and -Strive-. See, I don't even have that. I just have Xrd and -Strive-. He's a really well-known, super strong, all-around player, but most people don't know about him personally. So, giving him a whole weekend where he could just sit and say things when he wanted, I think we streamed 20 hours total that weekend; it got him to open up some. I definitely think my biggest surprise was how the players interacted with the event because they made the event, not me.”

The second goal of Lord Knight Masters was to sell $10,000 worth of merchandise to contribute to the players' winnings at the event. While promoting Lord Knight Masters, Bestcoast assisted Lord Knight in creating and selling new merchandise, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the players. Lord Knight said they far exceeded this goal, with final numbers still being calculated.

Lord Knight's third and final goal for the event was to draw 5,000 concurrent viewers on Finals Day. The Lord Knight Masters exceeded expectations, breaking 5-6,000 viewers between Twitch and YouTube. Lord Knight now has a baseline for how successful an event of this scale can be. Now, his focus is on how to improve it.

Yeah, I am looking at doing another one. I don't want to say too much, but I gave a major hint in the broadcast. I want to keep doing these because I have a unique idea that can be built upon across different games,” said Lord Knight. “Ideally, I want to do it three times a year or something like that. That's the main plan.”

Lord Knight hopes to continue creating opportunities for players to come together and compete while providing a platform to grow their following. If you’d like to support Lord Knight and learn about his future projects, follow him on social media. We’d also like to take a moment to congratulate Evo Champion UMISHO on becoming the first Lord Knight Master Invitational Champion!