Despite the many ways the science fiction genre has been depicted over the years through various media, there are always new channels to always expand the genre, whether it's through games and literature.
The digital age brought new opportunities for sci-fi content, enabling creators to explore virtual worlds, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics. Now, more than ever, sci-fi has become a powerful tool for reflecting on our own reality, provoking thought, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible.
That passion and interest speaks volumes with indie VTuber Pomatomaster, whose whole lore, content, and even interests have long revolved around her love for the sci-fi genre.
In yet another comprehensive interview for our Spotlight series, NewsDrop sat down with her and learn the roots of her sci-fi passion, how to integrate this well with VTubing, and even talk about her prolonged interest with the recently-released game Starfield!
A Deep Dive Into Pomatomaster's VTuber Journey
Q: First off, could you tell us how you ventured into being a VTuber in the first place?
Pomato: "So before I decided to become a VTuber, I had actually been a face cam streamer for around 4 years. I had started with playing Fallout: New Vegas, but eventually moved on to be mostly known for my Old School Runescape streams.
"I loved streaming but I mostly saw it as a fun hobby and didn’t take it seriously at all. My stream schedule was incredibly inconsistent, and I would take long breaks because of school. Because of this I was a pretty small streamer."
"Around the end of 2020 [or] beginning of 2021 though, I met and became friends with a fellow Old School Runescape streamer who was a VTuber and was really introduced [me] to the world of VTubing. Before that point, I think I had seen a video that Gigguk had done on the subject and knew vaguely of Hololive and Kizuna AI, but I had never really looked into VTubing or considered it for myself."
"That changed though the more I hung around my friend. She seemed to love it, and was able to stream without having to ever worry about how she appeared on camera. The prospect of not having to spend an hour before each stream putting on makeup was incredibly enticing.
"One of the things you needed to do for your NIJISANJI audition was to submit a video of you introducing yourself in character. I don’t know why, but I became hyper-fixated on this. I found myself constantly thinking about what character I would play if I were to make an audition video.
"If I wanted the character to really reflect me, being a science student, it made sense to want to play a scientist character… and since my favorite genre is sci-fi, why not be a character that is exploring space?
"In these daydreams of my hypothetical NIJISANJI audition (which I never even ended up submitting anything for), the basis of the VTuber that I am today was born. Since I couldn’t shake the idea of this character from my head, not long after I decided to take the plunge and commission a VTuber model. The rest is history!"
Pomatomaster's Best Moments in VTubing
Q: Moreover, could you some up some of the best moments you've had in your VTuber journey so far?
Pomato: "In terms of the best moments I’ve had in my VTubing journey so far, I would say making [Twitch] Partner was a big one. With the support of my community, I was able to make it to partner less than a year after I started VTubing which was wild! I never thought I’d actually be able to make it to partner and definitely not so soon.
"Another great moment was when I did my first subathon in the summer of 2022. The support from my community was amazing, and it was during that subathon that I got to experience what full-time streaming was like… and I loved it. It made me realize that being a full-time streamer might be something I actually want to try and achieve.
"Finally, one of the biggest moments in my VTubing journey was being recognized by Bethesda and being able to do a sponsorship with them! It was honestly a dream come true to be able to work with my favorite game developer."
On Love for the Sci-Fi Genre
Q: Interestingly, your lore has been centered around the sci-fi genre. What interests have pushed you to drive your content towards such genre?
Pomato: "I think my background in science is what has driven my deep love of sci-fi! As an IRL scientist, currently wrapping up my Master's degree in plant genetics with a background in molecular biology and genetics, I am deeply intrigued by all things science… and sci-fi gives us a glance into what the future of science could look like!
"I am most interested in Space sci-fi because space travel and the mysteries of what lie out in the universe fascinate me. This has kinda resulted in me consuming a lot of sci-fi content in all forms of media, from Star Trek to Interstellar to No Man's Sky. So needless to say, I'm passionate about sci-fi and it's probably the genre I can talk the most about!"
"So obviously when I was designing my character, it made sense to go the space sci-fi route because of my love of the genre paired with my love of the general aesthetic of space sci-fi characters and environments.
"While my theming has always laid in the sci-fi genre, I didn’t start exclusively playing sci-fi games until a few months post-debut. At first I was playing games like Rat Simulator and Hollow Knight because as I mentioned earlier, I used to exclusively stream RuneScape, and while I knew I wanted to move away from that…I was worried about playing games that would distract me too much from chat.
"I eventually grew more comfortable with time and I slowly started to add more and more sci-fi games to my streaming rotation, starting I believe with my long-time favorite, No Man's Sky. This continued until I was only playing sci-fi games and I realized it was working in my favor!
"Not only did I love being able to play so many games in my favorite genre, but since the games all fell under the same space sci-fi umbrella, viewers who were fans of one game I was playing were likely to be fans of the other games I was playing as well, [like a] lot of No Man's Sky fans are also Mass Effect and Subnautica fans.
"Because of this, even if I finished a game, viewers would stick around for future streams and my numbers started to really grow. So yeah! I am now very happily branded as a sci-fi themed VTuber who plays sci-fi games!"
Juggling IRL and VTubing Science Duties
Q: I understand that you scheduled to conclude your thesis in time for Starfield. How were you able to rush that?
Pomato: "So unfortunately because of health problems, writing my thesis got pushed back a lot, but yes initially I had scheduled my thesis defense to be on September 6: the launch day of Starfield!"
⚠️An update regarding my streaming activity ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/UufDalQZTj— 🧬Pomatomaster - Sci-Fi Vtuber🚀 (@Pomatomaster) August 3, 2023
"Back in May, my supervisors let me know I had enough data to write my thesis and it was time to try and schedule a defense date. They were keen to try and schedule it early September, but it was up to me to choose a date.
"The earliest date I could choose was September 6th, and since I didn’t want to be wrapped up in thesis defense prep when Starfield [gets] released… I figured why not defend on release day so I could go home after and play Starfield?
"Now again it didn’t really end up working that way–but it was a fun concept if it had worked!"
Gushing Over Starfield
Q: Let's talk about your huge interest for Bethesda's new game Starfield. Where did that interest come from and what do you think of the game so far?
Pomato: "So I’ve been a huge fan of Bethesda RPGs since I played Fallout New Vegas back in high school, and I can say with absolute certainty that they are my favorite game dev studio. Bethesda RPGs, whether it be one of the Fallouts or Skyrim, just scratch a certain itch for me.
"I love the freedom of exploration that the games provide and how your curiosity to explore is rewarded with fantastic side quests and goodies that you wouldn’t know about otherwise! I also love the humor they inject into a lot of their games."
"So as a huge Bethesda games fan AND a huge space sci-fi fan, when I learned Bethesda was going to release a space game in 2018, I was SO excited. I’ve pretty much been eagerly waiting for this game since then, and my hype only grew with time! I pretty much wouldn’t shut up about it on stream for years."
"Anyhow, now that it's out, I love the game. It's exactly what I wanted… a Bethesda RPG set in space with a bunch of new fun features to play around with. My only gripe so far is that because I’m still working on my thesis, I haven’t been able to play it half as much as I’d want to!"
Q: You've made a video about professing your love for the game, and now Bethesda has sponsored your recent Starfield streams. How's that journey so far?
Pomato: "Getting recognized and sponsored by Bethesda was a surreal experience. I had only dreamed about having the chance to work with them and never really thought it would become a reality.
"When I made that video, deep down I hoped Bethesda would see it, but I mostly just expected it to attract the attention of a few new people who might be interested in my Starfield streams.
"Even if people at Bethesda did see it, I figured that they would probably send me a game code maybe, and leave it at that."
"Well, that’s not at all what happened. Just 2 hours after I posted my video to Twitter, I got a DM from Bethesda’s head of influencer marketing who said she loved my video and they were interested in working with me!
"I was completely overwhelmed with happiness to be honest. I think I might have jumped around my apartment like a child when I got that DM [laughs].
"Anyways, a few weeks later they sponsored one of my Starfield streams, and even sent me a super cool box of Starfield swag! They also recently invited me to the Xbox mixer at Twitch Con, which was super fun! Bethesda has been amazing to work with, and I hope to do more stuff with them in the future!"
Advice on Creating Sci-Fi Content, Starting VTuber Journey
Q: As a sci-fi VTuber, why do you think there should be more of your kind that caters to sci-fi enthusiasts in the community?
Pomato: "I feel that sci-fi is a huge genre and there is so much you can do with it. Especially if you are passionate about sci-fi, I think it makes a lot of sense to integrate it into your branding and content. Not only will it let you channel your passions, but it will also draw in the huge amount of people who are also sci-fi fans!
"Unlike when I started a year ago though, I don’t really think people are shying away from the sci-fi genre anymore. With the anime-induced rise in popularity of Cyberpunk, as well as how many big VTubers like Zentreya and Rainhoe are integrating sci-fi into their theming–there has been a massive rise in sci-fi VTubers. It’s a VTuber theme on the rise! So yeah…join us. [laughs]"
Q: As parting words, what sort of advice would you give for aspiring VTubers, especially those going for the same route you took?
Pomato: "I think one of my biggest pieces of advice to aspiring VTubers is that VTubing isn’t a fast path to success anymore. Over the past couple of years, the VTubing space has become incredibly oversaturated, so you can't just debut and expect to instantaneously pop off anymore.
"If you want to grow as a streamer, you will have to work at it over time. Part of that is figuring out what your brand is, and what unique niche you can fill content wise that suits your own personal strengths."
Content creation is a marathon not a sprint 😊 pic.twitter.com/K0prrggu6g— 🧬Pomatomaster - Sci-Fi Vtuber🚀 (@Pomatomaster) July 20, 2023
"With my love of sci-fi and background in science, I made a niche for myself as a sci-fi streamer that makes content at the intersection of sh*tposting and science. This is the branding, unique to me, that has helped me grow.
"While it took a while to figure it out for myself, it was well worth it because I believe it helps me stand out in an oversaturated crowd. If I had just tried to mimic content that was successful for others, I wouldn’t have the amazing community I have today, I don’t think I ever would have gotten Partner and I wouldn’t have had my dream come true of getting to work with Bethesda!
"Take the time to figure out a brand unique to you…I promise, it’s worth it!"
We thank Pomato for her valuable time for this interview amidst her busy schedule over the past few weeks. You can check out her content on her official Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok pages. For updates regarding her, you can follow her on her official X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and Reddit pages. For more information about her, you can check her other details here.