Seemingly out of nowhere, Paris Eternal flex support Damien “HyP” Souville announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the team and retiring from competitive Overwatch on Thursday. Almost immediately there was an overwhelming deluge of support as former teammates, coaches, fans, and even players from other teams gave him their well wishes. Fellow French support Brice “FDGoD” Monsçavoir said that he considered HyP a “big brother” and that if it wasn’t for him he wouldn’t be in OWL. Of course HyP’s response was that FDGoD only had his own talents to thank and that he would continue to go far.
One of the players HyP played alongside the longest was main tank Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait, starting together in GamersOrigin and eventually being reunited on the Paris Eternal. BenBest posted a very sincere tweet saying that, “he is someone essential in a team, always present for others.” Echoing the voices of many he added that HyP has helped him “progress as a player and as a person.” He concluded that although he was sad, he believed HyP “deserves to find his happiness.”
With so many similar heartfelt messages, it quickly became evident that HyP was very well-liked and respected throughout the community. The kind of guy that would give someone the shirt off of his back or the last dollar in his wallet without hesitation. So what led to, what seemed like, his sudden decision to leave it all behind? The 24-year-old flex support spoke with The Game Haus regarding burnout, what’s ahead for him, and reflected on his professional career.
For many in the community your announcement to leave the Paris Eternal and retire from Overwatch came as a complete shock. At what point did you come to this very difficult decision? Was it something that has been weighing on you for a long time?
- Yes, I had already thought about it before the season started because I had already burned out. I didn’t take a break between the World Cup and our bootcamp in Korea. I think I pushed myself too hard at the time and that’s why my burnout at the end of 2019 happened. At that time, I was thinking about maybe retiring but I succeeded in motivating myself again. I came back in the best shape for the start of the season.
In your statement you cited that you were choosing to leave due to your “well-being and health”. Can you expand on that in more detail?
- I was at a point where thinking, watching or playing Overwatch was making me sick. Like physically ill. As soon as I knew I wouldn’t have to play a scrim, I would start feeling way better. That’s what made me realize it had to stop. It made me think about so many questions. The answer to most of them was that what would be best for me, and the team, was to retire.
What do you think teams or players can do in the future to prevent the same thing from happening to them?
- This is a really good question and I wish I could have the answer. Being a player or coach in OWL is really hard. Seasons are long, exhausting and it requires a lot of sacrifices. I think I was just done and wanted to move on.
Mental health seems to still carry a stigma globally but has been the main cause of many other professional players retiring. Do you think there is enough support for that in the league? If not, what suggestions would you have to change that for others in the future?
- I’m actually surprised that teams don’t really have a psychologist or a mental health coach that are only there for the well being of the players and helping them during tough times. I think esports are growing and having a complete staff with a psychologist or even sports coach could be an improvement for the future. Especially in the situation we are put in for the Overwatch League. We have to move to another country, far from our friends and families. The schedule can be tough. We are young and it can be very hard for most of us.
Last year you were benched for most of the season but this year you’ve taken up the majority of stage time and put out some incredible stats. What changed between seasons?
- I think I have always been playing well, I was happy about my personal performance in stage 1 of last year. Maybe I just didn’t have a chance to prove I was a great player for the rest of the year. I feel I proved at the World Cup that after all of those months on the bench I was still great at the game. This year, having the coaching staff Paris has obviously helped me a lot to improve. But I think I learned a lot from myself and my experience as well. About not overthinking too much, about trusting myself, about having fun during matches and not being too serious.
Did the team’s new found success make it harder to come to your decision?
- Yes, the team’s new success made my decision really so much harder. This was my year and I still believe that even with me leaving it can still be Paris’s year.
With you moving on, you’re leaving Greyy with some big shoes to fill, do you think he’s up to the challenge?
- Greyy is a great player and he showed it last year. I know it can be hard to be in the situation he is put in now but if anyone can do it, it’s Greyy. I believe in him to succeed without any doubt.
You have been playing competitive Overwatch for about 4 years now. What has your most memorable moment been with the Paris Eternal?
- The most memorable moment for me with Paris was either my first match in the league against London Spitfire or my last match against Philly. It’s actually funny to say that my first match in the league and my last one will be the ones I remember forever. They are the ones in which I had the most emotions.
What about your most memorable moment throughout your career overall?
- My most memorable moment overall was obviously my European Champion Title with Eagle Gaming. The final was played in Paris in front of an amazing French crowd. This was the best moment of my life and it will probably stay that way for a long time! But the 2019 World Cup with Team France was something really special as well that I will never forget.
All of your past teammates and coaches have nothing but kind words to say about you and have credited you with hyping the team up in victories and keeping the PMA during tough losses. How do you stay so positive for them?
- That’s just who I am. I’m always trying to stay positive and help my teammates, my friends or family. I think I just have been educated that way. This is who I am and it’s really heartwarming to see that I had that much of an impact on some of the people I worked with.
Has there been anyone in your career that has stood out to you in particular? Either a coach or teammate who helped you achieve your goals or someone who you witnessed blossom into a better player/coach/etc?
- I think Féfé is the person that helped me the most during my time in Overwatch. He helped me through tough times, helped me to grow and to see things from different angles. I’m the player and the teammate I am today partly thanks to him. But everyone I worked with helped me to grow and achieve my goals. Many people have been really important to me and I couldn’t name them all. But I was really lucky to be so well surrounded during my time in Overwatch.
Due to the current travel restrictions regarding COVID-19, will you be able to travel home soon or do you have to wait until things quiet down a bit?
- Yes, I’m planning to go back to France in the next week! Nothing for sure yet but it should be fine.
Now that you are moving away from competitive Overwatch, do you have any immediate future plans or are you just planning to take it easy for a while? And can we expect to see you streaming again?
- I think I’m going to take it easy for a while maybe. But I will definitely try to play Valorant when it comes out and I will be streaming very soon!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a pro player? What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back in time?
- Honestly I wouldn’t change anything. I’m happy with the decisions I made in my career. I made mistakes but I learned a lot from them and I had to go through everything I went through to learn all of that. At the end of the day, I would say that the biggest lesson I learned is that I doubted myself for too many years. But in the end when I was playing at my best, it was the time where I had stopped doubting myself and just enjoyed what I was doing without overthinking it.
Lastly, is there anything else you’d like your fans and supporters to know? Any last messages to the community?
- I got so many messages and so much love in the last few days. My fans are amazing and I couldn’t thank them enough for what they did! They brought me strength and self confidence. My victories in Overwatch were their victories as well. Thank you so much for that!
Featured Image Courtesy of Carlton Beener for Blizzard Entertainment
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