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The Nationals Spotlight: Hot-E, Tekken Caster
Posted by Raphael Leynes on August 19, 2019

The Philippines has been widely known as Tekken Country by both the local and international fighting game community. Whether its the intense pulse-pounding action, stylish visuals or tight mechanics, we as a country have always found something to gravitate to in Tekken making it easily our favorite fighting game. That’s why with the Tekken leg of The Nationals currently underway, it’s great to have one of the esport’s most prolific local casters, Ron Muyot in our corner to lend his voice and insight to the first-ever franchise based esports league in the country.

Ron a.k.a. Hot-E has made his name synonymous with the Philippine Tekken scene. He’s the business development and events head of Playbook PH, a local bastion of fighting games where he grows and trains pros and members of the local fighting game community. He also hosted the Tekken Segment for  GG Network’s Esports Academy, an informative beginner’s guide to watching, playing and enjoying Tekken 7. Most recently, Ron has been selected as the manager for the national representatives for Tekken for the upcoming SEA Games under the SIBOL National Esports Team.

A veteran and advocate of the local Tekken scene, Ron  has been casting for almost 6 years now, back when the new hotness in the arcades was Tekken Tag Tournament 2–a game he used to play competitively before joining the commentary table. It was at one of these TTT2 Tournaments where Ron would be approached by Jab Escutin, also a long-time advocate for esports and founder of PinoyVersus, to do commentary at the other side of the action.

From there he became a regular at PinoyVersus, pairing up with different people, learning the ins and outs of the casting game, and seeing the community grow and develop from the absolute grassroots. According to Ron, the whole casting/ commentary scene was very different back then. There was nothing  to draw and learn from except for the international tournaments and as such, they had to figure it all out on their own.

“There was no pattern like back then we didn’t know about Color and play-by-play, perfecting the synergy between you and your partner, there weren’t any techniques before that were developed for that.

So ayun bara bara lang (It was all very raw) You call it as you see it.”

Today, with Ron being one of the movers and shakers of local esports, the scene has come a long way. They’d eventually develop their own techniques and what he calls “cheats” on how to cast. Still, everything Ron learned about the industry was on the fly, in the action and on the field. He had jumped over the deep end and learned to swim from there. Thankfully, he had a tough but capable mentor.

“When I first started, Jab was the one coaching me like “You could do this better” or “You’re getting a lot of dead air” or  “You’re a little monotonous” .

There was even a time that I casted a whole tournament all alone. It’s hard, without anyone to talk to too, it’s hard and tiring work.”  

All that tiring work has paid dividends in 2019 however, as six or so years after the fact, Ron is an absolute professional at his job. With his experience, he’s become very versatile in the caster chair, playing to his partners strengths, and filling in some of their blind spots when needed. I see this as him paying forward all of the training that he’s had in the past to the new crop of casting talent.

“My style is a mixture of analytical and hype. It depends on who my partner is. So for example, my usual partner is Pica Lozano.

So since Pica plays, he can be very analytical but also very hype as well. Whatever he does, I do the opposite. Same as with whoever it is I’m casting with.

If it’s someone without much game knowledge, I just tell him or her to just call it as you see it and build the hype and I’ll take care of the analysis.”

One look at Ron’s work in the Nationals, Rev Major or even the weekly Playbook streams and it’s easy to see that Ron is a master at his craft. When asked about the most important thing to know about casting Tekken he states that gaining first hand game experience and developing a unique commentary style is key.

The number one thing is you need to know the game. You have to have at least played the game and experienced it first hand in addition to your knowledge about the game and its  ins and outs.

Second, Character, you have to have your own style. I hear a lot of casters now they tend to emulate what ever they see in the international scene. It’s not a bad thing though, if it’s a known term go use it but sometimes even the style and how the international casters say it they imitate it.

Hindi naman siya mabilis na nangyayari yun e so take your time. “

([Developing your own style] doesn’t happen quickly so take your time)

All throughout our short interview, Ron’s experience in the scene provides the backbone to his every answer. You’ll see what I mean with his answer to how he prepares for a tournament:

“First of all, I need to know who’s playing. As someone who’s been around, I know most of the consistent tournament players, the regulars at the Top 8. I know the lore, I know how they were before the entire Tekken 7 scene and how they played. I know who their characters are and their play style.”

As a caster, Ron is the bridge between the action and the audience. In addition to knowing the playing field, Ron uses his experience to know what makes for a more entertaining watch for the viewers.

“I study the character they use. To be honest, I don’t know everything so for example it’s the Top 8, We take a short break and review everyone who’s in. I check their characters review their moves list because it’s important to know the names of moves instead of the saying the notation.

You can say that’s the Electric Wind Godfist. For me that’s more exciting for the viewers instead of using jargons like down, back, 2; down forward 2, or -14.”

It’s good for the viewers who actually play the game but I actually want to connect with the people who is just new to Tekken who don’t play and just want to watch. 

As far as specific players to watch out for in The Nationals, Ron has his own inside picks who he thinks will deliver solid performances throughout the high-profile tourney.

“Of course, the child prodigies PBE.AK and PBE Doujin. But also watch out for Cignal Ultra’s MachineHead.

He’s a newly acquired player, that guy is a beast. If there’s one underdog that’s MachineHead that guy has a lot of potential and he’s so quiet about it and no one but the most hardcore Tekken players know about him. This will be the first time that he will show himself to the world. “

With the Tekken leg of the Nationals currently underway, Ron is taken aback by the potential it opens up to local esports. From growing up and learning the ropes when the scene was in its infant stages to being part of where it is now, Ron describes the wealth of opportunities as “surreal”.

“It’s still surreal that this is happening. There are so many opportunities, not just for players, not just for talents. Now if you’re not that good, there must be something else you can do to be part of The Nationals, you can be a manager a coach, you can be whatever the team needs.”

Ron even surmises that the opportunities don’t just end at the esports and gaming door but extends outward to other disciplines and practices.

“Not just in the Tekken scene, for example if you were a health professional, I know players that have been enrolled to a gym because you have to be physically fit to perform. These are real athletes so they have to be physically and mentally, emotionally, psychologically fit.

It comes with everything the player needs, if they need a dietitian and such all those roles are going to open up because of The Nationals”

Catch Ron and the rest of the Tekken 7 casters and courtside reporters at The Nationals, the biggest esports tournament in the Philippines.

Catch the action on 5 Plus, the home of esports on free TV every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also watch the livestream via the 5Plus website, and on OneSports via CignalTV for paid TV.

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