Commentary is not for everyone. Having to constantly be “on” and entertaining, it’s a job I certainly wouldn’t like to do but one that I appreciate all the same. Wrestling commentators like Mauro Ranallo are often as exciting as the action in the ring.
Sports games can either live or die by the quality of their commentary; the unusual pairing found in most PES games is reason enough to turn some people away. But FIFA has always been good, even if they’ve never managed to replace the tones of Andy Gray.
However, with FIFA 19 and the introduction of the Champions League license, we have two new commentators for all European football coverage: Derek Rae and Lee Dixon. The latter is largely fine despite being Lee Dixon, but the former, Derek Rae, delivers some of the oddest lines I’ve ever heard in a sports game.
I can’t even begin to think of how the process of providing commentary for the simulated version of the sport of your area of expertise works, but however EA Sports approached it, they approached it the wrong way.
Rae is consistently incosistent with his delivery, often sounding like he’s ready to go wild over a 90-yard overhead kick when the players are actually just passing it around in midfield. He’s constantly lingering on the final syllable of player names, which I’ve found is a regular source of hilarity during Manchester City matches with so many players’ names ending with an “O”.
Passing it around, you’ll hear “Aguer-ooo” and “Fernandinh-ooo” so often that it feels like you’re dropping in on Steven Toast as if he’s recording his lines with Clem Fandango for whatever bizarre production he’s a part of.
It reminds me a lot of Alan Partridge, such is the strange detachment on Rae’s part from what’s actually happening on-screen. He wouldn’t feel out of place in Pro Evolution Soccer 6, which is a huge shame as he’s actually one of the most underrated commentators in the real world.
I’m not suggesting that EA Sports replace Derek Rae like Bungie did to Peter Dinklage in Destiny (though that really was an outright terrible performance), but they may need to return to the commentary booth to try a few things again. Or they could just live it in and allow me to completely lose my mind every time he says “Sterling”.
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