Written for Broadcast.gg by Stephen Guo and adapted by Ieuan “vowels” Hall
Shoutcasters are a big part of what makes online and in-person esports so engaging. Whether you’re looking to get started or just want to understand their purpose, here’s an introduction to esports shoutcaster roles and goals.
Play by Play (PBP)
It is your job to drive who and what. It is your role to capture the exciting moments of the game and push the narrative of the story. More generally, the PBP caster is known for narrating team fights, and bringing the hype and energy.
PBP interacts with Color by asking the hard questions to better inform the viewer. Why did a team do X and Y, or how does Z influence the match moving forward?
It is your job to explain why and how. Why was a team able to win that teamfight so easily? Why is the team prioritizing vision in this area — what does it give them and how will they play around it? Game knowledge and expertise is vital in this role, combined with the ability to tie it into the story and bigger picture.
Color interacts with PBP by provising smooth transitions into action and analysis on interactions that influence the story or match. The Color caster can also help dictate the energy of the cast.
A hybrid caster provides both PBP and Color and should only be done when you are extremely comfortable with your co-caster(s). The main challenge here is directing both the energy and the flow of the cast while transitioning smoothly. There is no defined moment that is your time to talk, unlike PBP and Color.
Overall Casting Goals
Every match should have a story. A concise storyline between players and teams adds more depth to the broadcast, and keeps viewers and fans engaged.
Riot Casters do a very good job at this. There’s always storyline and history between teams brought up in matches. They bring up scorelines when the teams met in the past, interesting statistics, and what’s at stake for both orgs. For smaller, simpler tournaments I tend to bring up what teams had to do to make it this far, and anything interesting I may have caught in research.
One of the most important elements of casting alongside others is transitions. While certain moments may have defined role priority, most of the matches involve conversation and banter between casters. Your goal should be to ensure clear transition and communication. Listening to casters talking over each other can be aggravating and detrimental to the viewer experience . Hand offs don’t need to always flow. Try to keep talking over co-casters to a minimum e.g. it’s okay as a color caster to just stop mid-sentence to give the PBP some room if a fight breaks out.
Hype is good. Hype is what keeps games exciting, and engages viewers. There are two main hype-based pitfalls that casters run into:
- Too little hype.
Long games or single sided games can get rather dull. At this point, it is your job during the cast to try to find exciting or funny moments, whether they be silly standoffs or a ray of hope for a single team. Additionally, hype can get more difficult after several games of casting. Try to discern if this is an issue for you, and if it is, make a mental note to keep that in mind next time you have a long casting day.
This is definitely an issue that casters run into sooner or later. Whether it be finals of a huge event, or the most action packed game, there needs to be a rhythm to the excitement. See MooshuBeef’s article on vocal energy here. Hype is good. Brouhaha, not so much.
With these tips in mind, the best thing to do would be to experiment and practice. Each caster develops their own style, so find what’s best for you.
Written for Broadcast.gg, a community of esports broadcasters improving by iterating, sharing, and giving feedback on tools, resources, and methodologies. Join the Discord, and follow us on Twitter for updates!