SINGAPORE – Nur “M4ryjane” Haafizhoh and Siti “Hazel” Suriyanti share almost a telepathic understanding as teammates in e-sports team Newgank and are hoping this partnership will help them succeed at the upcoming Free Fire World Series 2021.
Such trust and communication is unsurprising though, given the pair are daughter and mother.
“We know each other very well and have that rapport which helps us work closely together in the game,” said Nur, 19. “Having open lines of communication is very important for winning in Free Fire. We’re able to give feedback to each other honestly, be transparent in our strategies, and pick up on each other’s cues instantly.”
She picked up the mobile game about four years ago and is now a full-time gamer.
Siti, who encourages her fellow parents to “trust and support their children” should they take an interest in gaming, started playing Free Fire as a way to spend time with her child.
“It has now evolved into such a big part of our lives and we’re proud to be representing Singapore on a global stage,” she added.
She was also the driving force in getting mutual friends Fahtin “Mirah” Shamirah and Muhammad “MrFrost” Nizam to join Newgank, which is one of 18 international teams involved in the US$2 million (S$2.7 million) tournament held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.
The play-in stage begins on Friday (May 28) and the top three teams advance to Sunday’s final alongside the other nine qualified teams.
Being a female in the male-dominated e-sports environment has had its challenges, said Nur.
“Once, I competed in a mixed local tournament where other players joked about how I must have gotten a male friend to play on my behalf,” she recounted. “(But) the tournament required all of us to submit a video recording of ourselves playing, which proved to the rest that my skills are my own.”
She added: “The beauty of Free Fire is that the playing field is level once you enter the battlefield, and you can quickly demonstrate to others that you have the experience and skills to compete.”
Siti, who works part-time as a paramedic, also hopes “more female players come forward to try their hand in e-sports” to help the local community grow.
She noted: “We need to be strong, resilient and outspoken to prove that female players can make it in the e-sports scene.”
Her team trains almost every day from 11pm to almost 3am to accommodate those who have full-time jobs.
Sponsors yup.gg and Gushcloud have also helped arrange for training sessions with overseas professional coaches and players in the lead-up to the Free Fire World Series.
Despite some nerves, Nur said she and her teammates were feeling confident.
“We are striving to be one of the top three to qualify for the finals, and will give it our best.”