Not Torbjorn and Reinhardt Paladins, a video game that looks very much like Overwatch, has taken some heat for its similarities to Blizzard's popular team shooter — to the point where last night one of Paladins' top developers felt compelled to write a big ol' Reddit post explaining how it isn't a clone at all.
In the Reddit post, Hi-Rez Studios COO Todd Harris lays out a timeline of Paladins' development and its connections to the studio's older games. "We created almost all the Paladins classes and abilities using Global Agenda and Smite as our template," he writes. "While Overwatch is a fine game, we want people to understand that game development is an iterative process with many ideas coming from past projects. This is true for Hi-Rez and almost every other game studio. For a hero shooter, the game that deserves the most credit for the genre is [Team Fortress 2]."
Many began discussing the uncanny similarities between Paladins and Overwatch last week, when Hi-Rez Studios' free-to-play shooter entered open beta. Many of Paladins' heroes — like the dwarf who builds turrets and the tank who uses a chain to pull over enemies — look a whole lot like the characters we've been playing in Overwatch for the past few months. A viral video by YouTuber videogamedunkey summed things up nicely (and hilariously):
There's some desperation in the Reddit post, but it lays out a compelling case, complete with video footage of early Paladins hero concepts from way before Blizzard announced Overwatch.
Unfortunately for Paladins, they're late to the party: Overwatch has become a cultural phenomenon. No matter how much inspiration Hi-Rez did or didn't take from Blizzard's hero shooter, Overwatch is one of the year's biggest (and best) games. The comparisons and accusations are impossible to avoid. Sometimes it's just about being first. And being Blizzard.