Saturday 15 September 2018, 14:58

Chu 'ChuBoi' Morah: It was crazy being thrown in at the deep end

  • Chu Morah speaks with about his route into FIFA eSports

  • "I don't think anyone invests more time and energy in the game than 'Megabit'"

  • "Everybody gets nervous"

Chu 'ChuBoi' Morah has been part of the FIFA eSports scene since early 2017 and was an expert analyst at the FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final 2018. We caught up with him to discuss his path into FIFA eSports, last season and the upcoming campaign. How did you get into FIFA eSports? Chu: I was living in the USA in 2012 but when my student visa expired I started looking for jobs in Canada and was hired as Community Manager at EA Sports. After four years there I decided to go self-employed and make YouTube videos and streams, as that had always been a dream of mine. After EA Sports brought me on board at the FUT Championship Series, I became part of the FIWC team and later the FeWC broadcast team.

What was your first event? The Regional Finals in Paris in 2017. I was initially the post-match interviewer but given my expertise – I love statistics and know the playing styles of the pro gamers – I soon moved into an analytical role.

What was that like? It was kind of crazy just being thrown in at the deep end. You have to learn really quickly – my first event was shown on ESPN and other broadcasters and you have to learn to give an answer within a fraction of a second. I learned so much from those first experiences and began to feel a lot more comfortable in the role.

How has your private life changed over the past few years? I probably travel way too much. FIFA eSports has taken me to places I'd never thought of visiting, like Australia, and I'm very thankful for that. You have to get used to the travelling and you need to organise your time, stay focused and eat well in order to stay in shape.

You did a live broadcast during the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Final Showdown. Do you still get nervous beforehand or while you are doing it? The most interesting thing I've learned over time is that everybody gets nervous. Even other commentators and more experienced FIFA eSports presenters get nervous sometimes. The same goes for commentators of other eSports series too. It's ok to make a mistake occasionally. When I watch television now I see things I'd never noticed before. Everybody makes mistakes.

Do you have any tips for people looking to get involved in FIFA eSports broadcasts? Be persistent. Never lose sight of your objective and if you work hard then you can achieve it. When I had my first event in Paris in 2017 all I could think about was the FIWC Grand Final. I'd watched the Grand Final a year earlier and was desperate to be involved in it, which I eventually was. You should always go the extra mile for people and always be polite to everyone, because there are a lot of eyes on you. The same goes for Twitter: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it.

Which aspects of eSports do you like most? There are a few things. It's always nice to see the players, the broadcast team and the community at all the events. What I really enjoy are the comebacks, for example in the Final Showdown at the FIWC Grand Final 2017 when Gorilla went behind in the first game but still fought back to win comfortably in the end. I always find extra time really exciting too.

Whose playing style has impressed you most this season? A number of players, for example 'F2Tekkz'. The way he dominated the FUT Cup in Barcelona was impressive. It seemed like everything he did at that tournament worked. Looking back on the Grand Final then I'd say 'Maestro'. He definitely didn't go as far as expected but I think he scores the best goals and therefore deserves to be mentioned. And of course you have to talk about the champion, 'Msdossary'. The playing mechanisms change in every game in the FIFA series but there are a small number of players who are always very consistent, and Mosaad is one of them. He won tournaments in 2017 [in Whistler] and 2018 [in Manchester and at the Grand Final in London].

What was the biggest surprise at the Grand Final? Definitely the stage. It was the best set-up I've ever seen. I was in awe when I walked into The O2 for the first time. In terms of players, then I'd have to say 'kurt0411'. After his incredible attacking performances I thought he could win the title.

What was the key to Msdossary's triumph? He defends a lot better than anyone else. The amount of pressure he puts the opposition under is unbelievable and it always feels like he's two steps ahead of his opponent. Even if you're prepared, he knows what your next move is. 'Gorilla' was the only one who really managed to attack him and it's just amazing to keep a clean sheet in the Final Showdown.

How has the tournament changed since the FIWC17 Grand Final? The scale of it all is different. Everything was a bit bigger and better. The players have improved a lot in front of the cameras too. They're stars in the making and are now used to interviews with the media and they conduct themselves very professionally.

What are you looking forward to next season? I'm really looking forward to the competition venues and I'm curious to see which players will bounce back after a disappointing year. I'd like to see the players who did well at FIFA 17 making a comeback.

Who do you think could be the new star in 2019? I've spoken to several eSports managers and players who have already played FIFA 19 and there was one person who stood out for everyone: 'MegaBit'. I don't think anyone invests more time and energy in the game than him. FIFA 19 could be his season.

Which team looks strongest to you? As we're already talking about 'MegaBit' – Werder Bremen eSports are really strong with him and 'MoAubameyang'. There are other good teams like Hashtag United or FutWiz but with MoAubameyang's attacking strength and MegaBit's dedication, I think Bremen have the strongest team right now.

In the last five years there have been two champions from Saudi Arabia and two from Denmark. Which nation will next year's champion come from? There's never been a German champion. They take the sport very seriously and always give a good account of themselves. We could see a German champion next season and the country deserves it because there are so many professional German players who invest so much in the game.

What are your personal plans for next season? I've got two aims in mind. I want to dedicate more time to the players on my channels and also turn the spotlight on the North American FIFA players and introduce them to the world.