Overwatch League Casters Exploring Other Options
The current Overwatch off-season has been somewhat tumultuous and, therefore, interesting. Many popular players retired, the meta has shifted, the entire esport as we know it is changing, and this trend of sweeping changes affected even a couple of Overwatch League casters.
Once the third season of the Overwatch League begins, the whole thing will look and feel quite a bit different. Whether that’ll be positive or negative remains to be seen. But, it feels like we’re getting changes across the board, both good and bad ones.
Overwatch League Casters: MonteCristo Leaving the Scene
First, and this is a surprising piece of news, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles will not return to the Overwatch League in 2020. Monte is, along with his long-time casting partner, one of the most recognizable and vocal personalities in the Overwatch realm (not to mention polarizing). Monte casted many different games throughout his career (to great success and fanfare). He often talked about his relationship with Blizzard as an incredibly positive one. The partnership that benefitted both parties to great effect.
With former Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer leaving for Epic Games, however, that seems to have changed for the worse. His departure from the Overwatch League is not something that fans expected. But, it still makes sense, given the many problems plaguing the entire league.
Fortunately, Monte, who is without a doubt one of the most fascinating and vital voices in the industry, will focus his time on a completely different project. He’ll be working as a creative director and on-camera caster/talent for am unannounced project.
In a long (but thorough) list of tweets, the legendary caster explained his thought process and why he decided to depart from Overwatch. He invested years of his life and was at the forefront of its development as an esport.
The departure of Nate Nanzer from OWL led to irreconcilable creative and philosophical differences between myself and the league’s current leadership, and all parties will be better served by parting ways. (2/12)— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) December 31, 2019
Overwatch League Casters: DoA Exploring His Options
After weighing his options, Erik “DoA” Lonnquist has decided not to return to the Overwatch League. He is yet another high-profile caster that has opted to test the waters and part ways with Blizzard’s growing (albeit inherently flawed) esport.
Toss a Coin to your Caster— LFT Erik "DoA" Lonnquist (@ggDoA) January 6, 2020
His farewell post was, in many ways, a carbon copy of Monte’s. Creative differences with management and the inability to further affect and influence the trajectory of the League were the deciding factors in his decision. In his TwitLonger post, he reflected on his career and long-time casting partner, before delving a bit deeper into the future. Going forward, DoA will work as a freelance caster (“esports mercenary,” as he puts it). You can expect to see him cast other titles like League of Legends, Hearthstone, Teamfight Tactics, and so on.
Regardless of how you feel about Monte and DoA’s casting, they brought a certain air of validity to the Overwatch League which, paired with their immense experience, certainly elevated the broadcast, at least in the very beginning. Losing them will certainly be a heavy blow but the situation is far from dire.
Overwatch League Casters: Puckett Not Returning
The beloved desk host Chris Puckett will also leave the Overwatch League in pursuit of other projects and endeavors. Much like LEC’s Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere, he will become a freelance host and dabble in many different titles like Halo, Call of Duty, Apex Legends and so on.
Puckett brought positive energy to the Overwatch League as a stand-out entertainer with a breadth of experience from various esports. Even though Malik Forté and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez are perfectly sound replacements (with unique strengths of their own), Puckett’s enthusiasm will be missed.
2020 Life Update— Puckett For Hire (@MLGPuckett) January 1, 2020
Ready for this Freelance Hustle pic.twitter.com/22oTtW9uiY
Overwatch League Casters: New Faces Joining the Mix
We already know Jacob “JAKE” Lyon (from the Houston Outlaws) and Scott “Custa” Kennedy (of Los Angeles Valiant and Dallas Fuel fame) are joining the Overwatch League broadcast as on-air talent (the former as a caster, the latter as an analyst). They’re both young, outspoken individuals who have experience in playing the game at the highest of levels.
This also tells us that there is a natural ebb and flow to these things. The fact that so many beloved faces are leaving the scene isn’t the end. There are new ones who’ll jump in and do just as good of a job.
Andrew “ZP” Rush is another veteran caster joining the Overwatch League. ZP will finally be making his dream a reality. After casting the “B leagues” for years, he’s more than deserving of a full-time casting gig. This was a long time coming. He’ll be sharing the casting duties with JAKE, who’s transitioning to full-time casting after competing at the highest of levels for years.
We can’t wait to see (and hear) this brand-new casting duo in action come February!
Very happy to announce that my fifth year of casting @PlayOverwatch will be done with the @OverwatchLeague for the 2020 season! It's been a long journey to get here, but I can't wait to get started casting some of the very best Overwatch in the world alongside @jakeow.— Andrew Rush (@TempoZP) January 6, 2020
Sometimes change is necessary. If Blizzard makes the right calls and approaches this talent exodus in the right way, they could potentially come out of this even stronger.
Overwatch League Casters: Old One’s Making Changes
Brennon “Bren” Hook and Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson will also switch for the third season of the Overwatch League. The fan-favorite pair will move from the analyst desk to work as a caster duo. Hopefully, we’ll still see them weekly. Their banter and in-depth knowledge created some of the best and most memorable moments on broadcast.
Both individuals were integral to the success of the Overwatch League analyst desk. They will undoubtedly continue to excel as casters (something they already have experience in doing back from their Team Fortress 2 days).
Overwatch League Casters: Verdict
Even though people come and go, the fact that Overwatch League casters are exploring their options or downright leaving the scene is just one of the many problems currently plaguing the entire esport.
One must wonder: Is this a natural development or is it a sign of things to come? The Overwatch League is entering its third year. It’s simply too early for these things to be happening. For Overwatch, 2020 will be the most crucial test yet.
The entire league will be localized, which puts more pressure on permanent partners and their ability to organize events. Players will have to fight harder to remain relevant with so many new faces coming into the scene. They will also have to adapt to an entirely different schedule with “home” and “away” games.
If Blizzard does things right, the Overwatch League stands a lot to gain from such a setup. However, downsides and potential pitfalls are monumental. In many ways, this is a do-or-die kind of moment, and it’s fair to say that everyone is eager to find out how well it’ll work outcome February 8.