Staff were only notified of Blizzard's decision to cut Russian-language coverage one week before the start of season 3.
Blizzard Entertainment is under fire again. Unlike the first two seasons, Season 3 OWL won’t have any Russian-language coverage at all.
Even if the Russian Overwatch audience is not as big as the English audience, it’s a disappointing decision.
But the biggest problem is Blizzard didn't bother to notify staff of the broadcasting studio until a week before the season was due to begin. Blizzard also refused to allow any of the alternate options the team put forward to continue to provide a cast for Russian viewers.
OWL caster Pavel “Rillion” Shabalin revealed the details on his VK page. We summarized his comments below:
- Rillion was seeking alternate options for Blizzard, and found two attractive offers; one of the studios offered free production of content for the whole year. One casting day (studio rent, salaries for producers, managers, make-up artists and sound producers) would not cost more than $1700. But Blizzard refused the offer.
- Casters were only notified about the absence of Russian-language cast one week before the start of the season. They were told to wait for the official announcement, but there was no such announcement. “They just forgot about us...” said Rillion.
The cost to the Russian casting team was four months of pointless waiting. Instead of waiting around for Blizzard, they could have used the time to try find another casting job.
Rillion also thanked the Russian-speaking community of Overwatch for those years; he is still currently looking for new casting opportunities.
The third season of OWL just started a couple of days ago. It’s covered on YouTube, not Twitch. The prize pool of the event is an expected $5 million USD.