We spoke with Miles Ross about his career, MW2 and predictions for CDL 2023.
Recently ESTNN got the opportunity to speak with Miles Ross, a Call of Duty League caster and 2021 Esports Caster of the Year. We discussed his career as a whole, his thoughts on Modern Warfare 2 and his early predictions for CDL 2023. You can watch the full interview below.
- 1 How Did You Get Into Gaming and Casting?
- 2 You Joined the Call of Duty scene before franchising; how do you think franchising has changed the esport?
- 3 You now cast alongside Chance. Did you know that you two would have the chemistry you do now when you did your first cast together?
- 4 How did it feel to win Caster of the Year?
- 5 What is Your Favourite Event and Match You’ve Ever Casted?
- 6 What are your predictions for 2023 Champs and MVP Winners?
How Did You Get Into Gaming and Casting?
Miles Ross: “I've always sort of been surrounded by games in one way or another, my dad and his brothers and friends. And we all played Super Nintendo when I was a little boy and watched him play Street Fighter and Mario Brothers when I was tiny. And it didn't take much time for me to watch them and learn how they played, jump on and smack them. I've always loved competitive games, sports as well. But there's something about gaming, it was something about the sort of more mental side of it. I've always preferred that. I found that really, really interesting. And that really got me going. So games in that regard have always just been brilliant.
As far as serious competitive games, I started back in the early 2000s, playing Halo and Halo 2 semi-professionally; Halo 3 I played professionally, managed to get some wins there representing Great Britain at the World Cyber Games, we didn't make it out of group sadly. But the Canadians who beat us in our final match, they did go on to win the whole thing. And it's probably for the best that we didn't win that tournament. Because what would you do at 21 with 30,000 euros, nothing good.
One thing led to another, my career came to an end and I moved immediately into the commentary role, which was at first just a bit of fun, a nice way to stay in touch with the community. And it basically evolved from there, but nothing ever serious, nothing crazy. Through a crazy, strange twist of fate, I was invited to come to the opening tournament of the Master Chief Collection way back when, and that was my big debut back into professional commentary. I was told to bring a suit, get on a flight from Australia, where I was living at the time back to London. And yeah, it was wild; it was really, really crazy. After that, the phone just sort of kept ringing! Eventually, I managed to get a gig for the halo World Championship, which was a dream of mine as a former Halo player. And the second that job finished, I was in Hollywood, California. And I was poached literally then and there by Activision.”
You Joined the Call of Duty scene before franchising; how do you think franchising has changed the esport?
Miles: “Honestly, the scale and the excitement around the game, and the community and the esport itself is still very, very much there, which is really cool. My first event was the 2016 World Championships for Black Ops 3, which was held at the forum in Los Angeles. And I knew this was something special when we were walking down this great big, long corridor, and all across the top of the wall, there are all the different artists and performers, and everyone has been at the venue. Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Call of Duty. I was like, wow, we've done something right here if I'm alongside those names, even in a very small capacity.
When we came into franchising, there was the same sort of excitement, or money getting thrown around at the start. And it was crazy. I think one thing I was worried about was, and I think a lot of the fans were worried about, you kind of changed the model in such a strong way. It used to be so open, anyone could come in and sort of find their way to the top. Now it's a bit of gatekeeping. I think when it comes to the professional league. I think the local franchise model really works on a local basis. When we walked into that Minnesota arena, the armory, we walked into that venue. We had no idea what was gonna happen, we had no idea that the crowd was going to love the Minnesota team, the local folks got behind the team in a way we'd never seen before on stage at the time.
None of them were particularly famous or had fantastic followings. But it didn't matter. The whole stadium was behind them because it was their team. And I think there was something really special about that.”
You now cast alongside Chance. Did you know that you two would have the chemistry you do now when you did your first cast together?
Miles: “Yes, I did. We both knew. We knew our partnership was going to work. My first event in the US and the first person I worked alongside was actually Chance and he was hot off winning the cast off, which was sort of America's Got Talent, you know, Britain's Got Talent sort of competition. He'd won that and when I met him I introduced myself to him and I was very, very honest in the same way I was to my bosses I was like I don't know anything. I don't know the names of the maps and the weapons. I barely know what's going on but I can tell you what's happening in a fun and exciting way. And he was like just hearing you say that got me excited. So I'm ready to roll because I know everything about this game and I was like yeah, we're gonna work. This is brilliant.
We complement each other professionally, in a lot of ways, the fact that I try to keep a sort of a bigger picture about what's happening in the game where he can go really granular and tell you what's happening and why something's important. We look at it in two different ways. We’re like a band, you know, I am the lead singer, and the lead guitarist; I'm going to be loud. I'm gonna be in your face. He's the rhythm section, he's the drums, and he's the bass guitar. And he's making sure that no matter what happens, we're always going in the right direction, I might hit you with this big explosive moment. But when it comes back to him, is always driving forward, we're always learning something new about the game, we're always thinking about it, he makes you think I make you feel I want to give you goosebumps, he wants to tell you why.”
How did it feel to win Caster of the Year?
Miles: “It was amazing. Honestly, it was an amazing experience. It's quite surreal. I'm really new in the industry, so when I saw my name on the ballot alongside some of the brilliant commentators out there, Pansy, Machine, and a lot of people I really look up to in the scene. A lot of those people are brilliant, and I mean, truly brilliant commentators and to see my name alongside that, I was like, oh, this is nice. This is a fun thing to tell my mum. It's a weird thing because an award is not necessarily something you can work towards; you can't compete for an award; you can do the very best you can and at the end of the day, it is a panel of experts that go yeah or no. So I'm immensely grateful to those people for seeing my work that year and going wow, this guy really killed it and he deserved that.
When I thought everyone else in there essentially did the same thing. So I'm exceptionally grateful. The award is very much Chance’s as well. And I mean that sincerely. I don't get to do the job without him. I don't sound any good without him. Without his Yang to my Yang there's no balance there. And it's just an idiot shouting about bombs and, and explosions and, and flanks. He really helps make that special. So I do owe everything to him in that regard.”
What is Your Favourite Event and Match You’ve Ever Casted?
Miles: “That is a fantastic question and one that I've never got the answer to. I think my favorite event of all time, it could well be the first CWL London event, the legendary London event down in the copper box where we really do go mad and we showed the world that British audiences with a lot of European flavor in there can do it. It was also an amazing tournament. So many great moments happened. As far as the greatest cast or the best feeling, it might have to be the end of the 2021 season. Dallas Empire vs Toronto Ultra, I think it was the lower Bracket Final. And it was a very, very exciting series in general. But it was also a historic showdown between two amazing teams. And there were some really great finishes in that one, Cammy got a four-piece and kitchen on raid.
It had that amazing hardpoint finish as well. On raid again. The energy in the arena was so special because it was the very first time any of us had been back into a space like that since COVID hit, so it was cool to see people. It was cool to see that excitement again. And it was just a sort of really important reminder of why we do the strange job that we have. But that was really special. And I think that one will remain with me for a very, very long time.”
What are your predictions for 2023 Champs and MVP Winners?
Miles: “I think one of the teams I'm really, really genuinely excited about is the new Minnesota ROKKR. I think that teams got legs; I think they've got a really, really high skill ceiling. They've got great brains behind not just the players in the game, but also the coaching staff and other staff, I think they're going to be a contender for a lot of events. I'm a little worried about OpTic, I think there might be trouble in paradise. And I don't know how you fix that one. And if they do fix it, good for them. But I think that sort of trust issue might come into play a little bit around mid-season, and we might see a change again; who knows.
As far as who's the MVP, it's going to be another cerebral annoying player. It could be Cellium once again, it really could be. He's a special player, a really special player. Anyone who’s ever got to watch him or talk to him. He sees the game differently. He was really born into the gaming world. And he's going to be the sort of player that drives ever further, so we will be learning from someone like him. He's my MVP, early, bold prediction. Not that bold of a prediction, really.