There’s a lot that goes into an Overwatch League game. The stands fill, the desk preps its notes, and the players get ready for some grueling competition. An often overlooked portion of the broadcast, though, is the casting duo- the two guys in charge of making sense of the chaos, delivering easily palatable portions of play to our desperate, greedy brains.
Overwatch is not an easy game to follow. 12 players flit about on screen, flailing at each other in a storm of noise and particle effects. Turning that action into something consumable is no mean feat, but a chosen few have stepped into the role. Each caster brings his own special something to his games, but there’s one who has gained a fair bit of attention in recent weeks. Dubbed the “Overtime Rap God“, Mitch “Uber” Leslie captures the frenetic energy of Overwatch like no one else on earth.
Like trying to catch a waterfall with a spoon
That’s how Uber describes casting Overwatch. Uber must have quite the spoon, if you’ll pardon my phrasing- he seems to have no trouble trimming the fat of a fight, getting right to the good stuff underneath all the screaming voice lines and bouncing camera angles. Unless he’s the one screaming himself.
Overwatch can just do that sometimes. There’s so much going on that all you can do is sit and wait for your eyeballs to stop spinning. Not that that ever stops the man- when things are at their craziest, sometimes it’s good to start screaming. It’s the kind of game that can sometimes knock you flat if you look too hard, but the ex-engineer puts in the time to stare down that Herculean task while keeping the laughs coming at the same time.
That might sound like a lot of work, probably because it is,but by now Uber is no slouch. He reviews games he’s previously casted, having established a solid system of improvement after cutting his teeth on other crazy-to-watch games like CS:GO and League of Legends. He also worked his way through the amateur Overwatch scene in the days before the Overwatch League, making his mark and getting noticed by those in the scene.
His co-casters are all grizzled veterans in their own right, hailing from a multitude of high-energy titles. Uber’s other half, Matt “Mr X” Morello, got his start casting in the Call of Duty World League. The two cast games every week, pairing off with other duos like Robert “hexagrams” Kirkbride and Auguste “Semmler” Massonat, or the esteemed Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles and his counterpart, Erik “DoA” Lonnquist. Each pair has a certain way they go about games, a routine established after hours riffing off one another. Uber and Mr X are no exception, and the time they’ve dedicated together shows.
Being the play-by-play commentator of his duo, Uber gets to play with his favorite toy- words.
“You have a lot of information,” Uber explains, “and some of it may not be important, but the vast majority of it is- so you need to package it up quickly and deliver it with context in an understandable way.”
Understandable doesn’t mean dry, though. Uber peppers in little pop culture references and pithy one liners at every available opportunity. He also throws in little jabs about what’s happening in the league. Like this comment after London’s Joon-yeong “Profit” Park was fined for flipping the bird on camera. You might blink and miss some of his quicker jabs, but his zeugma-riddled commentary will reward attentive listeners. (And you thought zeugma was just an annoying AP English term!)
A chip off the old block, indeed
You might think that Uber has a little notebook full of Eminem jokes and puns, but the Rap God maintains that he’s just quick on the draw. It almost makes one wonder what we might see if he did pre-write any material, though we should be more than happy with these spontaneous bursts of self-styled “esoteric humor”. Fans agree, reddit threads and tweets abound with praise for the caster from down under, especially from the lads back home.
The Australian Business Review describes Uber as “A Chip Off the Old Block,” and his fierce pride for his home country is well documented. In an operation as global as the Overwatch League, representing his countrymen is a must for Uber. In the same article, Uber insists that “I want people to know I’m Australian. I’m gonna hurl at them a bunch of phrases they don’t understand, because I’ve got a country of 20-plus million people behind me, and I’m really happy that I’m able to represent them. It’s huge.”
kiss the ring
A fan favorite caster with charisma in spades and a wit to match. Uber has taken the Overwatch League by storm, and it doesn’t look he’s slowing down anytime soon. With the 2018 Overwatch World Cup just announced, he’s no doubt chomping at the bit to shout about his home team, and if they can repeat their success from last year, we might see a very excited Australian in the booth. And even if they don’t, something tells me we’ll be hearing about chips and cheesesteaks for quite some time.
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Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment