BTRL returns with Minecraft

From April 30-May 2, ESA will run Break the Record Live featuring the Minecraft Any% 1.16+ World Record and a significant bounty.

By Alice Pow

Filed Under: event

Break the Record Live (BTRL) will return at the end of April with a three-day battle for the Minecraft Any% 1.16+ World Record and the largest bounty in speedrunning history.

The event format, hosted by the European Speedrun Assembly (ESA), began in February 2020 at a small conference hotel. Although it was intended to remain a primarily in-person event with a friendly atmosphere, the event was forced online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in a little more than a year, BTRL has become an incredible spectacle of competition and excitement.

The Event

The premise is simple: seven top Minecraft speedrunners compete for one weekend and while nobody will go home empty-handed, only the runner with the best run time will take home the $3,000 first-place prize.

“We think it’s an amazing celebration of excellence to give games a stage for a longer period of time than they usually get during a marathon,” said ESA founder, Fredrik Lidholt.

And this time there is another bounty in the mix. Youtuber Dream has added an additional challenge with a contribution of $4,000 to the first five runners to perform sub-15 minute runs regardless of their overall ranking in the competition. That’s as much as $20,000 at stake!

“This changes the entire dynamic of the event. Sure you want to get the fastest time but I now imagine that the first day or the first two days are going to be very reset heavy because there’s as much money in winning the event as completing the run in under 15 minutes,” said Lidholt.

The BTRL roster is stacked with seven of the top runners in Minecraft: Illuminahd, Couriway, Sizzler, Ninjabrain, Feinberg, Reignex, and Dylqn. It’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top!

The Legacy

This marks the sixth BTRL event and so far each one has fulfilled the promise of a new world record, and Lidholt is hopeful that this streak will continue.

Perhaps more important than the records themselves is the way ESA keeps community involvement at the core of the format. “What’s been really good about all these events is that the community surrounding the games have really been involved in the process of creating the events,” said Lidholt.

This collaborative nature allows BTRL to really highlight the particular interests and wants of any given community.

And since its inception, the BTRL format has popped up in smaller community events. “I’m actually really glad the event format is spreading and it's being taken by others. I completely believe in this format for speedrunning competition,” said Lidholt. So even while his ambitions are high for the future of BTRL, the structure can continue to benefit any interested community.

The Future

Although BTRL is currently conducted virtually, Lidholt hopes to return to in-person events once it is safe to do so. He said, “I think we have just started to scratch the surface on what we can do. Watch this space for when we can go back to live events. They’re going to be spectacular.”

When and Where to Watch

Catch BTRL from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. CEST this Friday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2 at https://www.twitch.tv/esamarathon. Learn more about the event on the official site.

Note: an earlier version misspelled Mr. Lidholt's last name and erroneously identified the event as "Beat the Record" instead of the correct "Break the Record."

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