Frank Villarreal Says Farewell to Rogue – The Esports Observer

Rogue co-founder and CEO Frank Villarreal announced Monday that he would be leaving the organization he helped build to move on to new things, but would remain a shareholder in the ReKTGlobal-owned esports organization. The following is a farewell letter penned by Villarreal to his now-former colleagues.

TL:DR – The last five years of creating, founding, and building Rogue have been some of the best years of my life. As of today, I’ll no longer be working at Rogue and will be pursuing other projects. I’ve accomplished what I wanted to with Rogue, am extremely happy with its successes, and am ready for the next challenge.

Five years ago, my pet project, Rogue, was announced in an ESPN article along with our first Overwatch lineup. We launched Rogue days before the official launch of Overwatch, hoping that it was a new enough game that a small, upstart organization could become an actual contender in the space. We hoped that our success in one game would lead to recognition by fans and success in other games, and eventually lead the organization to being a top ten esports team. And, thankfully, we were right. Our Overwatch team dominated with more tournament wins and titles than any other team in its first year, and when Overwatch franchised, we were able to pivot to new titles, eventually even securing franchises in League of Legends and Call of Duty. I’m incredibly proud of that trajectory and legacy.

We struggled with very little funding compared to our competitors at the beginning of the organization, but it was not too long before we found people willing to take a risk on us, starting with my incredible founding partner, Derek Nelson, and the amazing Steve Aoki. Eventually we were even acquired by ReKTGlobal, our current parent company, who has done an amazing job of taking Rogue to new heights.

My original goal with Rogue was not to create the successful organization that it is today. I built it because I wanted to create a family and a home for myself and for a group of incredible people I knew in the esports industry. Rogue’s purpose was to allow each of them to shine and to learn and become the best versions of themselves. I don’t know if we always lived up to that ideal, but I do know that we tried. 

Most of the core staff that I made Rogue for have moved on to new and exciting things now, but that group will always be the heart that made Rogue what it is. Sean, Derek, Lauren, Jason, Andrew, Fifi, and Brian, I created Rogue for you. You may have been there when it started or came in some time a little later, but you pushed me to put the effort in to make sure that we succeeded no matter what. Our combined efforts saved things from collapsing a thousand times over and I’m proud of what we did. I’m so proud of where your careers are today and excited to watch your futures. Tomas, Ryan, Miguel Antonio, and Chloe, you’re the future heart of Rogue. You have the passion and the skills to ensure its bright future.

I’d also like to thank all of the players who made Rogue what it is today. We’ve had so many brilliant and championship teams that it’s hard to list all of them, so I’d like to thank a few players whose impact is still felt by the fanbase to this day. TviQ, you were Rogue’s very first player; without you, we would not have had a team to even start the organization. Thanks for taking a chance on us. aKm and Winz, you brothers are superstar killers who always made your presence and veteran skills felt in every match. Sizz, you brought a whole new level of hype to Rocket League and still are killing it every day. Cadian, you were always there when I needed you. You are the truest leader I’ve ever seen in esports, and I’ve loved watching you rise after returning to EU. Kronovi, you are the mountain. You are the GOAT. MSDossary, thanks for nearly giving me a heart attack in multiple world championships and for winning! Easily and Slashug, I’ll never forget your abilities and work ethic that brought us to a U.S. National Championship. Huskers, Sweetdreams, Dropped, and Stormen… you have all shown just how crazy H1 pros can be in any BR/FPS game. Stormen, I’ve loved watching you grow into your role as a father. Firstkiller, I can’t wait to watch how you grow over the next few years. You’re already easily the #1 player in NA. All of Rogue LoL from our academy team the past two years, watching you grow has been amazing and I can’t wait to see where you’re at by the end of the year. And finally, DrLupo, thank you so much for being such an amazing human being. You make me want to be better every day.

I am the last founder actively working at Rogue. When it became a stable organization, I wrote a list of things that I wanted Rogue to accomplish before I moved on. I wanted Rogue to win a world championship. I wanted Rogue to find a dedicated fanbase. I wanted Rogue to win at least 30 championships. I wanted us to build an educational program for younger players to learn how to work in the esports industry. I wanted to bring in an agency client. I wanted to make LoL Worlds. And, I wanted our logo fixed! All of those things are done. There are absolutely things that Rogue still needs to accomplish, but I do not think I’m the one to push for those accomplishments. I have done what I wanted to do, and am ready to pursue new challenges.

I loved building Rogue, and am ready to build again. I want to build teams, businesses, games, projects, tournaments, and people. I want to help people enter the gaming world again and consult for companies that would fail their entry without my expertise. I want to help build the esports industry into its next phase, not tied down by a project I’ve already seen through its hardest phase. I’ve spent more time on Rogue than any other project in my life, and I’m ready to move on. As of today, I’ll no longer be working at Rogue and will be pursuing new challenges.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Even as I write this, the entrepreneurial spirit and adrenaline that I felt when starting Rogue is pumping through me. I don’t know what the future holds, but that makes it all the more exciting.

See you all soon,


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