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One-on-one with Jordan Fisher: Blurring the lines between gaming, esports and traditional entertainment

In an interview with WFAA, the actor and singer discusses what he brings to gaming and esports as the newest part-owner of Frisco, Texas-based Complexity.
Credit: Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Jordan Fisher attends the premiere of "tick, tick...Boom!" at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

FRISCO, Texas — Actor, singer, dancer, gamer, streamer -- and now part-owner of an esports organization.

Jordan Fisher certainly has quite the résumé. But, if you asked him about his passions in life, he'd tell you all of the above.

The 28-year-old has won Dancing with the Stars, starred on Broadway and, just a couple of weeks ago, released a film on Netflix (Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between).

But Fisher says gaming will always be a passion of his, which led to his most recent role as part-owner and content creator for Frisco, Texas-based Complexity Gaming

Through his new endeavor, the actor and singer will look to bring his experiences in TV and film to the esports organization and help reach current and newer audiences.

He was in Frisco this weekend for an event hosted by popular streamer and fellow Complexity owner TimTheTatman at the Ford Center at The Star. The TimTheTatman Tailgate is expected to bring thousands to the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.

Fisher sat down with WFAA to talk about his newest role and how his knowledge of the traditional entertainment industry can lead Complexity to success.

QUESTION: Coming from the entertainment industry, what led to your interest in becoming involved with an esports organization and, ultimately, becoming a part-owner of one?

FISHER: "My first memories [of gaming] are around Duck Hunt and Super Mario World and the guest room in my childhood home where this massive box TV was on the floor and then a smaller TV that my SNES was hooked up to. Those were my first memories. All of my life has been dictated by what games I’ve been playing. I can shape my memories based on the games I was playing, who I was playing with, conversations that were had. I don’t remember very much about my freshman year of high school, but I do remember I was playing a ton of World of Warcraft. 

I don’t remember exactly who I was really close to in school at the time, but I do remember our ret paladin named 'Rerollin' who trained me up to being a top damage in our guild and I, ultimately, became an officer in the guild in Burning Crusade. I remember THAT, so specifically, and conversations that we had.

As a gamer and being somebody that comes from traditional entertainment, I see this culture that’s so rich and deeply embedded. And how we communicate with one another through gaming, how we relate to one another through the games we’re playing. The TV shows and films that we’re watching now that are based on our childhood loves for these things. Like, so many people didn’t know a thing about League of Legends but watched 'Arcane' on Netflix and went ‘What the hell? This is unbelievable.’ 

If you sit down and play an RPG from the very beginning you will experience story and character work, incredible acting and voice acting and beautiful animation – the same animators that work at Pixar dream of being able to work for Blizzard one day or for Riot [Games] one day and vice versa. All of these things are richly embedded in our culture and in our entertainment society these days.

Being able to have a title in the gaming community now, not just being somebody that’s more known for the traditional side of entertainment that is also a good gamer that also is a streamer that has an audience there and has worked to build that out, there’s validity. As a creative now, being part owner of Complexity, my production company being partnered with GameSquare, all of these things center around the fact that gaming and traditional entertainment need to work and play together because film and television want to collaborate with gaming. And figuring out how to make that work is where I step in."

QUESTION: How important is it for an esports organization to be about more than esports and how does that factor into the organization’s overall growth?

FISHER: "Our godfather of esports here at Complexity and kind of a godfather of esports in general is Jason Lake. He’s built a foundation, a legacy. Complexity is one of the most decorated and winning esports organizations for a lot of different reasons. Persistency and Jason’s persistency and his need to make sure that we are not only looked at as a corporate behemoth in the gaming space because of our relationships and our partnerships with the likes of the [John] Goff family and the [Jerry] Jones family. There’s so much to offer. 

The fact of the matter is if we were to strip this down and talk about the NBA, in the NBA your team’s apparel isn’t going to selling if your team’s not winning. And esports is very much that. If our organization is not succeeding in where we have bought into, where we have franchised, where we have allotted X amount of dollars to make sure that we have the best training facility for our athletes and the best tools, then we are no longer an esports organization.

The goal is for Complexity to be the sickest, sexist, most beautiful, most inclusive and far-reaching organization in the world. I think we are very much on our way there because of our internal infrastructure, the people that are involved and are passionate. It’s the likes of Jason Lake that get people in this building excited to be part of this ecosystem. And for me, as well, as an outsider looking in and as somebody who was a fan of esports and loved watching Complexity win so much in CS:GO and rock the boat in League of Legends and start to reshape the VALORANT scene a bit and continue to be at the forefront of things while also being partnered with ‘America’s Team,’ the Dallas Cowboys. That’s where are reach comes into play. 

If we are winning in our games, if we are a winning organization, as long as we are winning in our communication with our fans and keep them proud to be a part of the organization and to be a part of the family. My [merchandise] drop is titled the ‘Home of Heroes,’ I feel that is aptly titled. The whole idea of Complexity is that it’s a home that houses winners and people that are hard-working and can succeed. That way people know what they’re rooting and cheering for. It’s about reach and it’s about making sure that people know we’re listening and are engaging as much as possible. And tapping into new things, which is very much why I’m here and a part of the ecosystem now."

QUESTION: TimTheTatman’s tailgate event is this weekend and is pretty unique for an event run by an esports organization. What’s the future for large, physical events within the esports and gaming scene aside from just big tournaments?

FISHER"I think that the future of our social culture in esports would die if live events ended. We really do thrive on any of the conventions that we can go to, any of the opportunities like-minded people can gather, that’s just natural thing, that’s human nature. If you like a thing and you’re drawn to that whether it’s a hobby or a real true passion and you don’t have a ton of people in your personal life that you’re making connections with every day that don’t share that common interest, you yearn for a community that does. You yearn to be in a place where you feel at home in that way. 

As a theater kid who grew up in a football town, I yearned for that. When I found my kind of home, just this theater organization in Birmingham, that was me going ‘I can fully be myself. I can be the happiest and best version of myself.’

For gamers and for people in the streaming community, the only time that we really see each other because we’re all so spread out all over the country and the world are those opportunities. It’s the TwitchCons, it’s the VidCons, it’s the PAX Wests and Easts and things like [the tailgate event]. It’s [TimTheTatman] building an opportunity for his community where we haven’t had a TwitchCon that people are treating like an opportunity to go to a place and see a bunch of their friends. But, It’s so concentrated because it’s Tim and his friends, the community and sub-communities surrounding him like the Baka Bros, Ninja, Nickmercs and everyone part of the Complexity ecosystem. 

We get to all be together for the first time in so long and there’s memories that come from that. There’s also really great content on a selfish, creative level. *laughs*"

QUESTION: Is the tailgate just the beginning for these types of events for Complexity?

FISHER"We are just beginning. There’s so much about the social culture that isn’t streamlined yet and that’s something that needs to be worked on. There’s no gaming-centric, multiple streaming platform opportunity for everybody that’s in that space to have like a public forum, aside from Reddit, to able to get on a talk, that needs to be developed. More watchable esports for primetime television, we’ve gotta have games that reach really well where viewers at home can be educated on what’s going on in real time. 

Until that happens, we’re not going to be seeing esports on primetime television unless it’s like the most major thing in the world, and that’s the kind of evolution that keeps my up at night trying to play the tinker of this space and figuring out how to make something that should have already been working for the last 20 years a thing that works now.

We have a long way to go. Yes, this is just the beginning. This [tailgate] for Complexity is the leading off point. The pulse of the future of gaming and the way that it’s shaped is going to be here in Frisco and at The Star and at Complexity. I couldn’t be more thrilled to know that and to be part of it."

QUESTION: Esports is still a growing business, and there’s not much education on the industry within the general public. Because of this, stereotypes regarding esports players still remain. There’s obviously more to esports than players just sitting at their desk and playing video games for money. How can you and Complexity help educate the general public and help break those stereotypes?

FISHER: "Education through content. The people that don’t get it simply don’t get it because they don’t understand it. People that refuse to are the people that are unsure and don’t want to learn something new. The fact of the matter is that we just need more content out that educates people on what the lifestyle is like. The fact that there’s not a single-cam dramedy on HBO Max or Apple TV about the life of a streamer that started in college and eight years later is now living in a mega mansion somewhere and the lifestyle that comes with that and all the ins and outs. Until there’s a show like that that exists, people are still going to wonder and scratch their head. 

If you can just look at the very beginning of literal gridiron football in America in the late 1800s and what it is now, it’s two totally different sports. The types of individuals that are a part of those ecosystems are two totally different things. It’s fashion, it’s music, it’s politics, it’s all of the stuff that has existed in this space for a long time. 

And there’s been a seat at available at the traditional entertainment table, and it’s time for gaming to claim that space. There’s room for that type of content on streaming and more gaming-centric things. There’s so much that we tap into and it can be educational through documentaries or docu-series or it can literally just be a show that you’re watching that touches you and moves you that’s about a streamer or about an esports pro. You don’t have to be sports fan to love an episode of '30 for 30' but you still watch an episode because it’s about the human experience and about stories. That’s what we need more of."

QUESTION: Are those types of shows and film something you guys are thinking about? Maybe teasing there a bit?

FISHER: "*grinning* Oh yeah. More to come for sure."

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