Aaron "Medic" Chamberlain has stepped up his game in the League of Legends European Championship Summer Split by taking over the Analysts Desk without depriving us of the ever-delightful MediVedi casts. In a conversation with Lara Lunardi, he opened up about his accomplishments in his career, the future of esports, and what we can expect from him in the upcoming year.
Good to follow up with you. I know recently you turned 29, so I’d love to start this interview with a conversation about your progress through the years.
There is that small bit of me that thinks that I am 29, and I am here talking about video games. I wonder if this is the life that I want or if this is the life that I’ll keep for the next few years, but whenever I think about this, I get reminded that I get to talk about video games, and I really enjoy my job, and the people around me. I feel very comfortable where I am in life, overall I am quite happy.
Are there things that I want to work on? Sure. I think it’s healthy for everyone to continue to work on themselves throughout time, this avoids you getting too comfortable, in a place where you think you’re perfect.
Do you think that having a part of you still think about having gaming in your career path comes from society generally speaking having a negative connotation of that?
It could be. If I had not become a doctor, I think that there would have less inherited societal expectations to use that training to its fullest. Especially during the pandemic, there have been moments where I have thought whether or not I should go back to the U.K., or work in the medical field again. I had very ardent debates with friends from the medical field on how much good I would be able to do as a relatively junior doctor with no specialization.
I ended up not going. The most common question I get asked is “Why did you quit medicine? Don’t you want to keep being a doctor? Are you ever going to come back?”
[laughs] Hey, I have asked you that…
[laughs] I didn’t mean it like that! It’s the question that goes on in your head when you hear that someone has left a job that benefits society to go do a job that perhaps doesn’t have the same impact. I’ve been quite deliberate in the way that while I am not curing the sick, I am still helping in my own personal way, right?
I am curious if there is a “legacy to society” feeling, and where it comes from. Also, I’d like to argue that regardless of the path that you chose, your work brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people’s days.
Sure, it’s a strange thing to talk about. Around the LEC when we think “legacy”, we think “legacy and dynasty kings”. [laughs] I might be wrong, but there are a lot of things about myself that I am still discovering, that is part of the “you’re never perfect” sort of mentality, right? It’s not about legacy, it’s about me wanting to be the best I can be because of how that impacts people directly.
I don’t care what they think about me when I am dead, or when I am gone. I care about the people here at the moment, I want them to feel comfortable and to be happy, even if that comes at the cost of my personal comfort and happiness. This leaves me fulfilled. Whenever I have these discussions with myself, I kind of push these thoughts away and hope that it all works out for me. Probably not the best way to do this, but it definitely has developed.
Do you feel accomplished? In terms of personal life, or even the LEC.
I am quite proud of how I have developed as a caster in the past couple of years. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement, as a lot of people on Reddit and Twitter keep reminding me. This development will come over time.
In the last two years, I managed to cast two LEC finals in the last year, developed a relationship with the best color caster in the - wait, maybe not the entire…- Nah, yeah, he’s probably the best color caster in the entirety of the world right now, Vedius. He is super strong. I think even with MediVedi, I made a space for myself, which I am quite happy with, including Newsflash, advertisements, moving from being a red badge (full-time Riot Games employee) to being a freelancer… which was definitely a decision I did not want to make.
Going freelance has allowed me to explore different work, I’ve been able to step into different spaces that I had not expected to get into. Going into the Analysts Desk this split was definitely challenging. We had a lot of internal discussions about it, on how we would use play-by-play content and how it would work without making people feel like they lacked analysis because I was on the desk. I have put in a lot more work trying to get to a point where I have the required knowledge, even though I am still far from veterans like Froskurin or Vedius.
This is the put up or shut up split for me. Either I will thrive under the pressure of doing extra work and stepping in new grounds, or I am going to burn out and struggle with it. If it doesn’t work, I will take the feedback into the offseason and see how I can grow and become a better caster.
Talking about exploring new grounds, you jumped into some VALORANT casting. How is this working out for you?
It’s been quite fun. I am very fortunate to have these opportunities. Recently I did a cast with Panzy, Drakoz, and Sjokz. Because of our synergy, it was really easy to do conversational casting, which is great for Twitch Rivals. The second opportunity was with Panzy and Jason Kaplan, and because they are highly knowledgeable about CS:GO, I was able to come in as a facilitator for them.
I think my play-by-play is good because talking fast about what’s going on in a game is a skill that translates across titles, but understanding why the situations are important for the game is still lacking for me. Hopefully, I can continue to grow this by watching more VALORANT gameplay.
With other freelance gigs, what other IPs do you think you will be stepping into?
There is the possibility I will be doing some Teamfight Tactics tournaments as well as participating in Legends of Runeterra ones. I cast the games I like, and this is why I got into League of Legends. It was easy to understand it because I enjoyed it, so I played a lot and watched a bunch of vods, which essentially is how you learn the game. With these other titles, I feel like it will be a bit more difficult to pick up because I enjoy them far less.
In the case of VALORANT, I was fortunate enough to really enjoy the game and have strong connections with the people that were running these tournaments, so they were willing to give me a shot. With other games, I feel like it would take a lot of time for me to become as knowledgeable and have people trust me to cast their tournaments.
Now with Wild Rift coming up, I would love to have an opportunity to try casting for that. The thought of “am I spreading myself too thin” with all this League of Legends, plus VALORANT, plus Wild Rift casting?
With so many new titles announced recently, would you say it’s required that casters specialize in more than one title to ensure their career longevity?
I think so. There’s part of this internal debate I have with myself about how long my career will be in League of Legends. What happens when I leave the League scene? Do I go and cast something else? Or so I look at producing, or working for a team?
For me, I am fortunate that I am able to pick things up rather quickly, so to do base play-by-play, I need a dedicated three weeks of studying a game, and I’ll be able to do basic casting based on that knowledge. The tier 1 stuff, like Rainbow 6 and Majors, it’s about the experience you have under your belt, and I feel like if I had a chance at casting these, it would be unfair to every caster in the respective scenes that had been deliberately casting these games for a very long time. I don’t live with this assumption that I would provide the same quality of casting by studying it in three weeks' time.
What about the value of someone’s personal brand in this case?
I would definitely push myself as a personality as well, not just as someone that does play-by-play. There is a lot of value I can add to a broadcast, like assist in production, and while I show that I am consistent on a game, I see if I can gain grounds to escalate casts to finals, semifinals, or whatever. I don’t live with this assumption that I would provide the same quality of casting by studying it in three weeks time, it would be unfair to do so just based on my brand.
I think every freelancer feels when someone undercuts them, and I really don’t want to be that guy being unfair to people in broadcast teams.
Now, this question may sound ridiculous, but I swear I have a point. What do you think will be coming up in the next decades of esports? And the response can be as ridiculous as the question if you’re wishing for any absurd gaming ideas to become reality…
I once saw a post on Reddit about a one-handed gamer that was looking for ways to insert all the commands of a game in every button of his mouse so he could adapt and play. We don’t see a lot of one-handed gamers out there, but we do see it in sports with Golf or Rugby. There is niche esports that I would love to see everyone having the ability to play this game. In the future, I think the biggest esports games will be more inclusive and require less physical ability.
For the next couple of decades, I think we will have a few bigger games on Tier 1, it could be iterations of the games we have now. I don’t actually think we will see our largest events growing to be even bigger. Maybe at home, we will have more spectators, but we are already filling out stadiums. The next step is to introduce easier access to viewers, either in VR or through more camera angles. We will likely develop more tech for esports, which will be the cutting edge.
Also, I wonder how geolocation will play in the future of esports. I think forcing esports teams to all be in the same place in order to play kind of pigeon holes you a little bit. There is a possibility to have more home stadiums and more home crowds, but I think we need to start small and create viewing parties and events, very much like the Overwatch League is doing. This gives the home crowd a chance to go see their local team play.
To close things off, what would you like to say to the fans getting to see your new adventures in the LEC?
Thank you all for watching, I hope we continue to put on a great LEC for you. I hope that you enjoy some of the new stuff we are bringing in the analyst's desk, and I hope it makes you see through new viewpoints.
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