Two Overwatch League casting staples have revealed their intentions for 2020, and neither is staying.
Malik Forté and Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat are not returning to the OWL broadcast talent team, they have announced on Twitter.
The reaction has been worrisome among some segments of the Overwatch League community. A lot of fans had expected some of the talent to leave, but Forté was one that fans weren’t expecting. While most of the talent team from past seasons had a background in other esports, Forté made his big break with the OWL. Before his time with Overwatch, he worked as a gaming editor for Nerdist and produced YouTube videos.
His reason for leaving the OWL hasn’t been publicly revealed, and it leaves a lot of fans with questions about what’s going on behind the scenes. Many fans have already speculated that Blizzard wasn’t making much headway with contracts ahead of Season 3, but it’s also entirely plausible that the travel schedule isn’t something the talent were interested in after having spent the vast majority of their time working locally in Los Angeles during the league’s first two seasons.
Now there is a question among the community of who is going to stay. Besides the announcement of Scott “Custa” Kennedy, Jake “Jake” Lyon, and Andrew “ZP” Rush joining, there has been radio silence about any new signings for the 2020 season for talent. Although Brennon Hook and Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson have confirmed their return, the shortage is leaving fans worried with the start of the league less than a month away.
Still, not everyone has been upset with the changes. Former pro player Daniel “dafran” Francesca went on record during a stream calling Semmler and fellow departing caster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles “the overrated Gucci brand” of casting, implying that there was far better talent available elsewhere in the Overwatch scene.
As for the futures of Semmler and Forté, Forté seems to be heading in a musical direction and will be freelancing. His website advertises “the most grand unification between hip hop and video games”.
While it seems that Forté is switching his focus this year, Semmler hasn’t yet indicated which direction he will go. He got his start casting Bloodline Champions and transferred through games until he found more success in the OWL. Semmler did say that he was interested in broadcasting more Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the game through which he best made his name.
With less than a month to go, we’ve only seen a handful of talent announce their intention to stay. There are other members of the talent team that haven’t announced their plans either, but with Season 3 quickly approaching, time is running out.