One of Fortnite’s top casters will shift focus to Valorant this year.
Arten “Ballatw” Esa is arguably the most recognizable broadcasting talent in Fortnite Battle Royale’s nearly four-year history. While fans watched in-game events and partook in the impressive crossovers, Balla spent time learning the competitive ins and outs of Fortnite. He rose through the rankings as a caster and became a pillar in the professional scene. Balla has commented on almost every significant Fortnite event in history, including the $30M USD World Cup in 2019. Despite his stance in the scene, Balla announced he would no longer focus on Fortnite in favor of Riot Games’ first-person shooter, Valorant.
Balla Teases his “Last Major Fortnite Finals”
Almost one year ago Shyo and I embarked on a journey at @DreamHackFN Anaheim.
Today - I cast potentially my last major Fortnite finals w/ the NAW Finals.
— Ballatw (@Ballatw) February 1, 2021
Rumors and rumblings began shortly before Balla and long-time casting partner ShyoWager were set to take Fortnite fans through the final four DreamHack Open matches of the year. The former went on Twitter with some curious words. “Almost one year ago Shyo and I embarked on a journey at @DreamHackFN Anaheim,” he said. “Today - I cast potentially my last major Fortnite finals w/ the NAW Finals. Feels. Bringing it home - don't miss this.” The wording had fans of Balla and the popular Battle Royale game wondering what he meant.
Could one of Fortnite’s most recognizable and appreciated personalities be calling his last tournament? It was a frightening question to ask, but undoubtedly one worth asking. Balla - a former professional Counter-Strike player - has notably spent several weeks streaming and analyzing rising FPS title Valorant. It made sense, considering his history, but the question remained whether Balla was diversifying his game knowledge or planning a transition. The tweet was peculiar, and the respected Fortnite caster soon confirmed what most feared; that he would no longer focus on Fortnite primarily.
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Balla Reveals Future Plans on Reddit
After wrapping what he called perhaps his final major Fortnite competition, Balla answered the question all fans had in their mind. He did so in a Reddit thread that questioned the caster’s cryptic tweet:
“Ayo - not sure if there will be Dreamhack's in the future. If they want me back I'll hop in here and there, but given my current position within the community and my enjoyment with the game because of it, definitely going to be focusing more on Valorant. Hoping to keep up FNTASIA as the season really starts and throughout the year - and probably will do viewing parties here and there... but if i'm not casting the biggest moments, my heart just isn't in it. That's what I live for.”
Balla’s mention of his “current position within the community” might confirm that his controversial take on solo tournaments from August of last year damaged his stance with Epic Games, but that’s merely conjecture. He’s always been an outspoken personality in the scene but never with the intention to cross Epic. Although the developers have not announced their commentary lineup for FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5, we can safely expect that Balla’s name won’t be on the list. If so, the community has undoubtedly lost a massive influence and voice of reason. He and ShyoWager’s legendary makeshift DreamHack Anaheim broadcast will go down in Fortnite history. It shows the effort he put forth to benefit the community and players.
Now, the Fortnite veteran will move onto Valorant with hopes of replicating the same success. Many will echo ShyoWager’s sentiment, who may have just called his last foreseeable tournament alongside Balla.
— ShyoWager (@ShyoWager) February 1, 2021
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