Overwatch League host Malik Forté announced his departure from the broadcast talent team last night. One of the community’s favorite hosts and Reaper 1-trick will sadly not join us in Season 3. Malik served in a variety of talent roles, and slowly grew to be a weekly staple of the League. From conducting interviews to analyzing teams from the desk, his presence will be missed in the upcoming games.
I'm not returning to the OWL broadcast team for 2020, for those who've asked 😢
It's been a long journey with the OW community so it saddens me to say. A HUGE thanks to all the fans, the amazing production crew, my talent team family and most importantly, the players! pic.twitter.com/PCwmllsOYj
— Malik Forté 🎤 (@Malik4Play) January 14, 2020
Reasons for departure
Malik will be joining a number of departing broadcast team members. Their ranks include Chris Puckett, Auguste ‘Semmler’ Massonnat, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, and Erik “Doa” Lonnquist. Members of the broadcast talent all have different reasons for their departure. Some have stated that a leadership change in Blizzard has driven them away. Malik stated that his reason for leaving was based on pay and better opportunities.
Season 3 of the Overwatch League will greet players and talent with massively increased travel. The league will be going global, with matches played around the world rather than centralized. Ultimately, this demands more flexible participants, as some teams – like the Chengdu Hunters – will have 20+ hour flights between matches. Although more local talent will be hired, the broadcast team will see an increased amount of travel as well.
Issues within game
There is no doubt that the state of the game could affect whether a talent member leaves. Many matches in Overwatch League look the same, with teams only playing a set amount of heroes for months. MOBA games like League of Legends boast a larger cast of heroes and more interesting interactions between teams. FPS titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive take pride in exhibiting the high-tier mechanical skill of players. Overwatch seems stuck in the middle, with arguably undeveloped elements of both genres.
Their time on stage may have come to an end, but their story with OWL has only just begun!
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) December 12, 2019
While Season 1 of the Overwatch League was touted as a success (and extremely interesting to watch), Season 2 saw a loss of viewership during GOATs meta. Enough issues were caused by this meta, that developers introduced role lock, requiring players to have at least 2 damage heroes on their team. Time will tell if future development will renew talent’s interest in the game. I’m personally excited to see former professional player Jake Lyons on the desk in the next season.