The cycle of speedrunning marathons raising money for amazing causes is infinite, and there’s no better time to enjoy such content than during the summer. Both GamesDoneQuick (GDQ) and the European Speedrunner Assembly (ESA) have major events in the summer where the finest talent from all around the world comes together.
As ESA’s biggest event of the year comes ever closer, let’s take a look at what I'm most looking forward to as someone who played a large part in the scheduling process!
Honorable Mention - Persona 5 - True Ending (Hard) by Neviutz - July 23 10:30 pm CEST / 4:30 pm EST
ESA is continuing with the pre-shows as they did with Winter earlier in the year, allowing them to showcase much longer runs that would usually have a hard time fitting into the schedule. Kicking off the event is Neviutz with Persona 5, and it’s a big speedrun. This run chooses the hardest difficulty, where you do 20% less damage and take a whopping 60% more compared to normal mode. It also explores the true ending of the game in order to make sure no stone is left unturned inside the world of Persona 5. We’re ready to go through a year of the protagonist’s life, are you?
Bloodborne - All Bosses (Unrestricted) by Yarthow - July 24 5:30 p.m. CEST / 11:30 a.m. EST
Kicking off the first day of ESA Summer 2021 is a first day full of crazy runs, and what is crazier than beating every Bloodborne boss in 90 minutes? To those unfamiliar, Bloodborne is an entry into the Souls franchise. These games are extremely difficult, and Bloodborne is absolutely no exception.
As the game is a Playstation exclusive, users of other platforms might not be as haunted by the names of some bosses when compared to something like Dark Souls. However, The Old Hunters DLC that comes with the package is well known to include some of the most difficult bosses in the entire series. Bloodborne puts a new spin on Souls combat and forces players to be much more aggressive in order to survive. This makes it all the more of a spectacle to watch, and all the more breathtaking when Yarthow showcases his exceptional talent.
Minecraft - Random Seed (Glitchless, 1.16+) by Sizzler - July 24 8:30 p.m. CEST / 2:30 p.m. EST
Shortly after Bloodborne, we will take a large turn from a bleak and hopeless landscape filled with terror to a much more relaxing childhood favorite of many in Minecraft. In recent times, Minecraft has taken the speedrunning world by storm and has become by far the most popular speedrun to exist. At the forefront of this craze is RSG, otherwise known as Random Seed Glitchless. RSG is quite simple; you spawn into a random world and kill the ender dragon as quickly as you can. No glitches, no prior preparation, just you and the tools the game gives you.
Version 1.16 changed the landscape of Minecraft speedrunning forever, as it allowed for trading within the Nether in order to receive ender pearls rather than farming them from Endermen. Nowadays, it gets even deeper (pun fully intended) with runners using ocean monuments to farm gold for the aforementioned trading. It remains to be seen what Sizzler will be able to pull off when he only gets a single shot to take down the dragon.
Resident Evil Village - Hardcore (Glitchless) by Gidano - July 25 2 a.m. CEST / 8 p.m. EST
It is one thing to master a game that has been around for years and possibly even decades, but what happens when a game is only two months old? The newest entry in the Resident Evil franchise is Village, the eighth installment into the main series. Already runners are doing their best to complete the game in record time. This game has made many a headline in the gaming world, discussing how ruthless and unforgiving the Hardcore difficulty is. The enemies are quicker, deal much more damage and won’t give you a moment to breathe. Fortunately for us, we will be safe in the hands of Gidano, who has mastered this exceptionally hard difficulty and will use nothing more than the hand he is dealt in order to overcome the gargantuan challenge he will be faced with. Everything is planned carefully to the last bullet, will you be there to see where they land?
Honourable Mention - JP Block by quino_w / stone_clive / fuso_wasedr09 / swordfish464 / cicada - July 26 2 p.m. CEST / 10 a.m. EST
This block of games is definitely a first for ESA, and possibly even most western speedrunning events. On July 26, ESA will feature a number of top-level Japanese speedrunners in their own segment of the event to showcase their skills to the western world. There usually isn’t much overlap due to language barriers and travel costs for in-person events, but one of the upsides of us all being home is that these sort of crossovers are much more doable.
At the time of submission, we contacted the runners and all of them were extremely friendly when we were trying to make sure English commentary was possible and to schedule tech checks. Every single one of them had a plan in mind, whether it be speaking English themselves or having a dedicated commentator to bridge the language barrier, so I’m super excited to see these guys showcase their exceptional talent to a world that might have never seen them otherwise.
Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen - Elite 4 Round 2 by Shiru - 5 a.m. CEST / 11 p.m. EST
There is nothing comfier than a good old-fashioned Pokemon speedrun. The amount of preparation required in order to efficiently level your Pokemon while also using a single team to sweep the entire game is really impressive.
Runners will know every trainer they face, each move their Pokemon have and each item they carry. This knowledge allows for a limitless amount of potential when it comes to routing and creating a powerful team, and this is amplified when we look at Round 2. Most people will be familiar with defeating the Elite 4 in a playthrough, but in these titles you can have a rematch against them. During Round 2 their Pokemon will be at a higher level, and they will have switched out members of their team to have a more deadly lineup. This means that new strategies will need to be utilized in order to efficiently defeat the Elite 4 once again, so join Shiru as he takes them down.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - 100% by mralberto - July 30 midnight CEST / 6 p.m. EST
When it comes to speedrunning, Zelda speedruns have made up a huge chunk since the hobby’s inception. Some of the most well-known moments in speedrunning history stem from the Zelda scene. The 18:10 & the infamous barrier skip, to name just a few, with the latter all coming to a head within the HD version of The Wind Waker. Currently, if you take a look at the top of almost any Wind Waker HD leaderboard, you will see just one name and that name is mralberto. Alberto has been dominating WWHD for a long time now and shows no signs of slowing down, so it is an honor for us to let him show his skills to the masses as he collects every last hear, item, song, and upgrade on his way to 100% completion.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - 100% by Mhmd_FVC - July 30 9 p.m. CEST / 3 p.m. EST
Continuing on from 100% runs you definitely should not miss, how about seeing a Grand Theft Auto title completed 100% in less than 5 hours? The Grand Theft Auto community is one of the largest on the planet, and Mhmd is one of the greatest of all time. We haven’t seen a 100% run of Vice City at ESA since 2015, and the difference between the two runs is going to be colossal. Huge amounts of mission duplication and memory corruption are segmented between casual Sunday drives through Ocean Beach. This run truly has it all. Ever wondered how to complete 100 taxi fares while only delivering one? How about completing the firefighter missions without using the water cannon, or completing the paramedic missions without saving a single patient? All will be revealed and much much more as Mhmd takes you on a trip to the eighties.
GeoGuessr - Perfect Score (A Diverse World) by havrd - August 1 2 a.m. CEST / 8 p.m. EST
The finale of ESA Summer 2021 is quite a unique speedrun. We’ve all played GeoGuessr at some point I’m sure, putting our geographical skills to the rest by trying to pinpoint a location anywhere in the world purely by looking at Google Maps. It’s definitely not easy, and usually, I find myself sometimes guessing the wrong country or even wrong continent entirely. havrd is built different though. Not only will he get the country, but he will find the exact road he’s been placed on anywhere in the world within a few minutes. A perfect score is 5 maps, and he will guess perfectly for all 5 maps in order to complete a perfect run. Bonkers.
Where Can I Watch?
ESA Summer 2021 will be taking place from July 23 - August 1 over at ESA’s Twitch channel, and will be running around the clock during those dates to bring you only the best of what speedrunning has to offer.
What we have mentioned in this list is not all you will be seeing at ESA, and you can find the entire event schedule on their website. The event will support Save The Children. Their goal is to improve the lives of children everywhere through better education, health care, and economic opportunities. Save the Children respond to major emergencies, deliver innovative development programs, and ensure children’s voices are heard through our campaigning to build a better future for and with children.
You can also find ESA on these platforms:
We hope to see you there!