The State of CrossFire and a Brief History
Ask a common Filipino gamer on the street which online shooting game he or she has played the most: It’s not Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). It’s not Battlefield. It’s not Call of Duty. While Valorant is making a case for being one of, if not the most famous (and trendy) first-person shooter (FPS) title in the Philippines, CrossFire still remains as one of the most popular games out there, even as we end the year 2021.
With tens of thousands of players still playing the game each day, CrossFire Online is surely an FPS title that has left an indelible mark in the lives of many Filipino gamers out there.
If one opens up Facebook right now and searches using the keywords “CrossFire stream,” one would be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of results that come up on the screen, especially during the evenings. Players could be playing normal multiplayer games, surf maps, PVE maps, or even have the notorious “bet game” matches between different teams and clans.
For a game that’s been around for more than a decade now, this social media presence alone is a resounding testament to the longevity and replayability of the game – while many of us can argue that it is just a “Counter-Strike clone,” the truth was that the game provided an immersive experience through its multiplayer and PvE modes, thus ensuring that playing CrossFire was an enjoyable experience on its own.
From the bustling heart of Manila to the buzzing bazaars of Zamboanga, internet cafes were filled to the brim with young children who played the game starting in 2009. While many played the standard Team Deathmatch (TDM), Free-For-All (FFA), and Search and Destroy (S&D) modes in the game, a good number of players played exclusively Zombie Mode; after all, surviving a wave of player-controlled zombies is just as satisfying as defusing a bomb in S&D or getting the winning kill in a TDA match.
Inevitably, as the number of players increased in-game, the intensity of competition within the player base also started to heat up. It began with clans and teams hosting bet game matches that would either involve “friendly” stakes (iced water, pancit canton, take your pick) or “rivalry” stakes that would have hundreds or even thousands of people betting on the outcome of that match (on top of teams making five and even six-digit bets themselves). Not much later, Gameclub Philippines, the local publishers of the game, began to host mini-tournaments all over the country that attracted scores of teams and hundreds upon hundreds of spectators.
At its height somewhere between 2015-2018, the amount of semi-professional and professional CrossFire teams was simply staggering; talented FPS players could be found all over the country, with some even leaving indelible marks in the local FPS scene either during their career in CrossFire or in some other FPS title later on.