Blizzard On Overwatch: "We Needed This"

Overwatch is new. It is super new. It's a new franchise, it's a new game. It's a new universe. Everything about it is new and that's what's so interesting about it. It is literally the first time Blizzard has attempted to do this in over 17 years. If you ask Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President at Blizzard, that's exactly what the studio needed.

Blizzard's cancelled project Titan had a notoriously difficult, drawn out development period. Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime told Polygon that the team just "didn't find the fun" and "didn't find the passion". With Overwatch, Metzen says, Blizzard rediscovered that passion.

"Under the hood," said Metzan, "we needed this."

According to all involved Overwatch has made incredible progress over the past year. As soon as the team decided to focus on the game that would become Overwatch, all the pieces clicked into place. Making a technically 'smaller', less ambitious title allowed the team to hone in on finding that core. Jeff Kaplan, at a press conference today called Overwatch "extremely focused".

"That’s what makes it so fun," he said.

But both Metzen and Kaplan were adamant that Overwatch wasn't just a game constructed from the bones of Titan.

“Overwatch is its own game," emphasized Kaplan. "With all our games we borrow ideas and take inspiration from what we’ve done. There are things from Titan in overwatch, but there are also things from World of Warcraft."

For Metzen in particular, Overwatch is a chance for Blizzard to stretch its creative legs again, and work on something he loves.

"It’s so good to have it out there in the world," he said. "Now we can just go.

"I don’t care if [Overwatch] cracks the world in half, I just love it and it’s so great to get back to developing from that core of passion."

Disclosure: Mark Serrels travelled to Blizzcon as a guest of Blizzard


Comments

    But in no way does it feel new, at all.
    This post by @transientmind sums it up for me perfectly
    "I think the frustration is that instead of making a REAL game, they've wasted their time trying to cash in on popular multiplayer games. TCG, MOBA, now TF2-clone.

    Hearthstone might now be dominating the mobile TCG space, and maybe Heroes of the Storm will take a chunk out of LOL/DOTAs playerbases, and I'm sure this generic TF2-clone bullshit will be high-quality as well.

    But Warcraft/Starcraft/Diablo they ain't. It's very annoying that their latest games all feel like jumping on the "hey this genre makes fucktonnes of money," bandwagon.

    Where's the Ghost, or Warcraft adventures? Sorry, they can't be used for esports or F2P gouging. Are we ever going to see any reimagining of Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, Rock'n'Roll Racing style games that Blizzard knocked out of the fucking park? No, we get to see their very polished, highly-refined takes on the industry clone-spawning cancers of this gaming generation.

    It's a disappointing waste of Blizzard's talent, so no... I'm not enthusiastic, excited, or impressed."

      I don't know what you guys are talking about, watching the gameplay trailer now, this looks awesome!

      Yes there seems to be one of these sorts of games announced every day, but Blizzard always does it best. How many people were scratching their heads at the thought of a trading card game from these guys? And then they created one of the most popular ones in the history of the game. I have no doubt they'll do it again with this game.

      There's nobody who cries themselves to sleep every night at the thought of there never being a Warcraft 4 more than me. But honestly, it's almost naive at this point not to get excited about new IPs from Blizzard, they've proven time and time again they'll surprise you and hook you in.

      This is the kind of company Blizzard are now, this is the sort of company Valve are. They are in the business of being in business. And that means games with broad appeal and high replayability. That means Free to Play (done about as "right" as anyone with bills to pay can manage right now). It means a smaller scope polished to a mirror sheen instead of a "rich immersive world" that's ultimately empty and unfocused like Skyrim.

      The fact of the matter is the world of games has changed. We will probably never get back to an industry full of nerds making games for other nerds. If you're one of the people who ever paid for a Call of Duty game, you can pat yourself on the back for making that a reality.

      Even if Blizzard DID make Warcraft 4, you can bet it would have this focus on "replayability" and Esports rather than rich storytelling and endless LAN matches with your friends. In my opinion, Blizzard are now the last company you want actually making their old guard of IPs today.

      Anyway, this is the sort of game I would love to have on PS4. I hope they are considering that.

        See, by contrast, the only way I could be less excited about a new game announced by Blizzard than an online PVP class-based lobby-shooter would be if they announced a MOBA. But they already did that.

        Developers who love games make games and there's a list of blockbusters longer than my arm to disprove your cynical assertion that F2P is the future. The single-player/offline gaming isn't going anywhere. Maybe that's not Blizzard anymore, but it's sure as hell the guys who are making the games that don't rely on cheap repetition and whale-exploitation.

        But that's not the point. The piont is that if you were to see Blizzard announcing a new game bringing their trade-mark polish, tight balance, refined gameplay mechanics and hardware optimization to something that was otherwise a clone of XCOM, Skyrim, Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed, Alien: Isolation, Dark Souls, whatever non-F2P-garbage, you wouldn't be able to move anywhere without stepping in spontaneous nerd-spunk.

        People like myself look back to the Blizzard of old, and when we hold our breath for a new game announcement, what we're really hoping for is some sign that they're returning to their roots, instead of jumping on whatever's the easiest money. So you're going to see a lot of disappointment (not necessarily surprise) from people like me who are no longer the target audience, but remember and long for when we were.

          Well i'm the same way. I loved their old stuff. But I just know the realities of the business for a company as large as Blizzard. They literally can't afford to take triple A risks anymore. They are too big of a business now. That was my point about Blizzard being the worst company to remake those games you loved, only a mid-sized developer like CDProjekt Red would do it the way you wanted.

          I definitely don't think Free to Play is the future, I hate it and think it harms the industry big time. But unfortunately companies like Blizzard and generally most other developers that are primarily a PC developer will continue to push towards this always online, highly social, free to play gameplay.

          It's proven to be one of the most effective counter-piracy measures they have. Without that initial paywall, people don't pirate or crack (or whatever they do these days) these games from the pirate bay. They download them for free, get hooked, invite their friends, who also join for free, and that peer pressure / social enjoyment hopefully (and generally does) lead to some sort of financial conversion.

          Because EVERYONE owns a PC, it's in these developers' best interests to set the barrier for entry (graphics, price, simplicity of gameplay) as low as possible, to attract the widest audience.

          The irony of the "master race" assertions is that the "console peasants" are far more likely to get games that might push the boundaries and create the most depth simply because of the way that side of the business is structured. People are happy to pay full price for console games.

          If you're not liking free to play or bandwagonism, my suggestion is jump the PC ship and head over to consoles as your primary system. You'll still be disappointed, but you'll occasionally have games like The Last Of Us to remind you there's still hope.

          Blizzard should make poker machines....and I'm only half joking. They have a captive audience to exploit, so why rock the boat? See the latest South Park, that's modern Blizz 101.

        How many people were scratching their heads at the thought of a trading card game from these guys?"

        Not that many, they already had the Warcraft TCG that was fairly successful before Hearthstone.

        Yes there seems to be one of these sorts of games announced every day, but Blizzard always does it best.

        Debatable at best. They dropped the ball with Diablo, which Path of Exile's picked up (Which Diablo later went and took ideas from) and their MOBA does have a few interesting ideas, but really feels like too little too late, especially after their terrible custom map system in SC2.

        But honestly, it's almost naive at this point not to get excited about new IPs from Blizzard
        I don't think anyone's complaining about the IP itself. I'll probably give the game a try on that alone. People are just complaining that the game attached to it is just another TF2/Monday Night Combat type game.

        There's a lot of twists they could do with the genre. Heck, they already had with Starcraft: Ghosts multiplayer of capturing the Commander Centre. (Think King of the Hill where when you hold the hill the hill moves toward your base while the enemy team boards the airborne hill to infiltrate and capture it to send it flying towards their base)

        Instead it's just a by the numbers FPS/3PS with the standard objectives and a few abilities pulled from MOBAS.

        Last edited 08/11/14 2:33 pm

          "Best" meaning best in the way World of Warcraft was the "best" MMO. Taking a niche genre and making it accessible, fun, and most importantly (for the shareholders), profitable. I say that as someone who doesn't really like WOW at all or play it past lvl 40 back in the Burning Crusade days.

          I do agree about the whole playing it safe with the mechanics idea. They could have pushed the envelope more, I mean what's the point of these low risk ventures if they aren't going to take any risks. But also, to be fair, as a developer that has never really done first person shooters before, that in itself is a gamble. Look at Destiny, as soon as Bungie tried to branch out into a different genre, it came with many teething issues and flat out missteps (And I say that as someone who loves Destiny). Doing something new is tough.

          Last edited 08/11/14 2:43 pm

            "Best" meaning best in the way World of Warcraft was the "best" MMO. Taking a niche genre and making it accessible, fun, and most importantly (for the shareholders), profitable.

            That's because they went and tried new aspects of it. Small group dungeons? Able to quest solo without having to find a 5 man group? These things were crazy way back when.

            Whereas Overwatch, the crazy, genre-bending changes are...hm.

            Look at Destiny, as soon as Bungie tried to branch out into a different genre, it came with many teething issues and flat out missteps (And I say that as someone who loves Destiny). Doing something new is tough.

            And yet (from what I hear) it's still doing quite well.

          I'm glad you know the entire depth of this game that just got anounced, based off of one gamplay trailer and a handful of character breakdowns, you are truly remarkable having gained such vast knowledge of the exact scope/breed of the game from such little info.
          Teach me!

    Awh. I have mean-spirited thoughts and feelings about the game born of frustration and disappointment ("Maybe its devs needed a reinvented TF2, but we sure don't,") but those last couple quotes are kinda heart-warming.

    It certainly doesnt look bad though
    Its a shooter with interesting environments to move about in and some interesting abilities
    And its very pretty looking
    It looks to me like a good fun game,
    Whether it is or not remains to be seen.

    Nice from your standard cod or battlefield
    Perhaps, look at it as blizzards take on FPS

    I think its wrong to bash them for making a game within a particular genre, theyve all been made before. If theyd made a new Rts or mmorpg would they have copped the same bashing?

    In short, im interested so far.

    why do blizzard games always have that cartoony WoW look, so annoying

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