Call of Duty: The twins who ‘stole’ grandad’s internet now playing for millions
Life wasn’t easy for Bradley and Matthew Marshall as they grew up.
The parents of the twins separated when they were 10, the money was so tight they couldn’t connect to the internet, and the other kids at school made fun of them because they were poor.
“In places we had nothing, wearing the same school shoes for three years in a row,” Bradley tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
Today, at 23, they are two of the best Call of Duty players in the world. They live in the United States, their shoes are designer and they play for millions.
Representing the London Royal Ravens they have a chance to be crowned World Champions this month.
The Call of Duty League playoffs have begun, with 12 teams from across America and Europe virtually competing to be the best in the world and win a slice of a £ 3 million prize pool.
“I remember we didn’t have the internet, so we were using our grandfather’s next door to play games,” laughs Matthew, better known in the CoD scene as Skrapz.
“He would knock on the wall going mad!”
“We really enjoyed playing Call of Duty, that’s what we did to stay off the streets and out of trouble, which was hard to do where we come from.”
When Matthew and brother Bradley (who competes under the name of Wuskin) managed to get online, they played for late-night cash against American players to hone their skills.
“Grandpa’s internet has helped us for years!”
“I have to do it correctly”
Eventually the grandfather cut them out and they “begged” their mom to install them on the Internet, but she couldn’t always pay for it.
“We’d have to wait a week sometimes until payday to get back so we could play – but she always landed the budget.”
The twins say they would never have been able to become professional Call of Duty players without the support of their mom.
“She always made sure things went well with us and when my dad wasn’t around, she played both roles,” says Matthew.
“It was difficult at times, but she always made it look easy.”
The talent and skill of the twins began to shine and in 2016 Matthew qualified for the World Championships and traveled to play in Los Angeles.
“I stopped playing a lot at some point,” says Bradley.
“Then Matty ended up going to the World Championships in LA.”
“This was the first time I saw what an event really was like, once I saw it do I said to myself, what am I doing? I have to do it correctly.”
The twins have since competed at the highest level of the game. They lived in the United States for two years and are now two of the most well-known players in competitive Call of Duty.
Bradley is deadly with a sniper rifle and Matthew is known for his aggressive style of play: getting close and close to opponents.
“Call of Duty has stories to tell”
There are approximately 75 million Call of Duty players around the world, for a sense of scale of their achievements. Twelve teams play in the recently remodeled Call of Duty League with on average only five players representing a team during a match.
The Call of Duty League is looking to grow and compete with the other great esports titles out there. At the top of the agenda is using the experience of people like Bradley and Matthew to turn the millions of casual gamers into followers of the competitive scene.
Call of Duty Esports Commissioner Johanna Faries tells us, “We have stories to tell and a new introduction to the world.
“We’ve tried a lot of different things to market to different parts of the player base, some work, some don’t.
“We have seen incredible growth on our digital channels and on YouTube, so I think we are starting to learn. It’s a daily job, a daily challenge.”
As for the twins, they focus on trying to be crowned world champions at the start of the end-of-season playoffs.
The form of the team this season has been inconsistent and they have lost their first playoff match, but if they play to their potential, the London Royal Ravens have a chance to win big.
They are competing for a prize pool worth £ 3 million.
And now they are also reflecting on how life has changed for them.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of when people got the little mouse. It’s nice to be able to buy pretty much anything I want – that feeling will never get old,” says Bradley.
“Playing Call of Duty, representing London and getting paid for it, what more can you ask for in life?” says Matteo.
Adds Bradley, “If it wasn’t for Call of Duty, who knows where I would be? It’s much deeper than most people think.
“It has put me in a position where I can help my mom and give her back in a way I never thought I could.
“Seeing where we’ve come from to where we are now – it’s a great feeling.”
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