How Blizzard Is Making Overwatch Different

How Blizzard Is Making Overwatch Different

More than a decade into its lifespan, World of Warcraft is still one of the biggest games in the world. Other games made by Blizzard — like Starcraft or Diablo — boast huge sprawling worlds too. But they’re trying to make Overwatch a bit more… intimate.

Announced last year, Overwatch marks a big departure for Blizzard. It’s a team-based shooter, where two teams of six heroes face off against each other. As such, the upcoming game is operating at a scale that’s not as broad as Starcraft or Diablo but not as narrow as Hearthstone‘s two-player matches. According to game director Jeff Kaplan, a lot of decisions about Overwatch are still up in the air. For example, he says they don’t know yet if Overwatch is going to be subscription-based like WoW or free-to-play like Hearthstone.

I talked with Kaplan at PAX East last week to try and find out what Blizzard might be thinking about with regard to a single-player component to Overwatch and whether there’s a console version in the works. In the videos shown here, you’ll see me talk to Kaplan and take newly-announced character Zarya for a spin.

Part of the challenge that Blizzard faces with Overwatch, says game director Jeff Kaplan, is to have players connect with Overwatch‘s brighter yet more realistic gameworld in a way that makes it more than just a backdrop for headshots. Whether there’s a more diffuse focus on narrative or not, I definitely want to play Overwatch more.


  • My one and only question: Can I play it on consoles, where 99% of my friends play?

    Otherwise I’ll give it a miss, but watch streams/vods of my fav twitchers and youtubers play it.

      • But unfortunately i think this game is being designed with console in mind (much like d3 did by limiting hotkeys and abilities to 6 buttons).

        • A Blizzard game and a competitive FPS. Two things that never should and never will be designed for console.

          • Depends what level you want to compete at. For FUN competition, console is more than fine. For stressful and lucrative competition, PC only I guess.

      • I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re just being satirical.

    • Same boat. Would play it a lot if it was on console. On PC, I doubt my mac could run it, which would be a shame because it looks rad.

      • Oh I have a pc that could play it fine, just not interested in ‘wasd’. The mouse is good and easy enough, but I’ve struggled with ‘wasd’ my whole gaming life. Either the wrong keyboard or just wanting a different input, like a stick. Eh no biggy.

  • Subscription based shooter?, they’d have to be bat-shit insane to think that business model would work with that style of product.

    • Yeah I thought that was a pretty dumb comment, there is no way in hell a pay to play model would work for this. Possibly free to play with a premium service subscription model might work but still would be an odd choice

      • That’s the thing, why even cause the negative speculation by making the comment. You’re trying to sell a brand new IP and New genre that hasn’t been done by the company before, there’s no need to throw out into the wild that you haven’t decided on pricing model yet.

        Sometimes it is better to be just quiet about things.

    • Right on the money. Hell, the only reason even WoW is even still on a sub model is because it started that way and they have zero reason to change it.

      It’s a whole other story trying to do it with a brand new game in a day and age where there are SO many free to play games…

  • Part of the challenge that Blizzard faces with Overwatch, says game director Jeff Kaplan, is to have players connect with Overwatch‘s brighter yet more realistic gameworld in a way that makes it more than just a backdrop for headshots.Team Fortress 2 has been pretty successful at this. Many people I see talking about it love the whole Mann Co. story behind it.

    As for Subscription vs. F2P, unless they have some serious meat to the content other than a series of maps or implement subscriber perks, they would be crazy to have a subscription model for an FPS. It would work if there were a paid tier for the more dedicated players (BF has something like this I think) and a free tier for the less dedicated players, but not as a gate to entry. My preference would be for a content store like TF2 has, except maybe make a shirt and pants based economy for the poor female and male characters that can’t afford them.

  • I am pumped for this and i want to pour hours into it when it comes out or if i get beta, but i’m a tad worried. 6v6 is generally cancer. It is competitive non-fun cancer. If it was a 32 slot server that allowed more then 1 of the class then it might prove to be some laid back fun and some nice offical matchs.
    I think it will also be un-fun if you choose to main a class only to not be able to play as him/her because some one else is playing it and isn’t playing it correctly.
    Oh well, hope it’s fun.

  • I’ve heard from someone who apparently played an alpha build of the game was that it was a lot less like TF2 than he anticipated.

    He said it was a lot slower than TF2 due to the lower mobility of the characters in general. He compared it more similarly to the speed of CS:GO. I guess I can see where he’s coming from, where a lot of the characters would be very strong at simply locking down an area.

    No knowing until Beta stage, however I am concerned with Blizzard’s pricing model. While they make some fun games, Blizzard’s pricing models have generally been very greedy. I’m fairly sick of the pay4convenience model, though historically Blizzard has been fairly fond of it.

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