To the shock of the DOTA 2 community, North American organization Forward Gaming has announced its closure less than a month before they were slated to compete at The International. Despite the team making it to the event through the regional qualifiers at the last opportunity, this apparently wasn’t enough to fix the company’s deeper issues.

Originally entering the scene last September with the signing of the former J.Storm roster, Forward Gaming has found some non-unreasonable success in the DPC circuit after their revamp this March, bringing in CCnC and Sneyking in the place of UNiVeRsE and SVG.

The team finished sixteenth in the Dota Pro Circuit with 304.88 points, falling short at the EPICENTER Major with a lower bracket round two elimination to PSG.LGD. While they did manage to claw their way through the grueling regional qualifiers, the CEO’s announcement suggests this wasn’t enough to turn the company’s fortunes around as they were essentially insolvent around the time of the last major. Notably, the players are going to miss out on their salaries for this month alongside a chunk of their prize money. This amounts to $36 000 of their winnings, which is not insignificant considering Liquipedia has their total earnings at $102 510.

The CEO’s announcement reads as follows:

It’s hard to close a company. It’s even harder to close the company you’ve founded.

With a heavy heart, I regret to announce that Forward Gaming ceases to exist. As of today, all employees’ contracts are being released and our players become free agents.

I also regret to inform that we have to close the company with the debt remaining owed to the players. Due to insufficient financial results, we are unable to cover players’ salaries for July as well as $36,000 of players’ share of prize money (which was used to partly cover June’s salary).

Back in June we informed players about the company’s state and told them that we might shut down the team right after the Epicenter Major. However, we decided to wait until the end of TI qualifier in the hope that we would be able to overcome our financial difficulties. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

I feel terrible for leaving our guys at the worst moment possible. We tried so hard to provide them with everything we could throughout the year and failed at the very end. This sucks.

I apologize to everyone who put their time and effort into Forward Gaming – our players, employees, and fans. I don’t know how to express our appreciation for your support and incredible dedication. Thank you.

And of course, I wish best of luck to our guys – Yawar, Quinn, Sney, Mojo, Pie, Kurtis and Jack. I hope you’ll kick some ass in Shanghai, will be cheering for you like crazy.

Goodbye guys. All the best.

— David Dashtoyan, CEO July 21, 2019

With The International’s prize pool hitting thirty million dollars for this year’s edition, the now ex-Forward Gaming squad still has a shot at a life-changing sum of money. It would be a Cinderella story worthy of last year’s storylines.