Overwatch Could Be Blizzard's Next Warcraft

The prospect of Blizzard making a first-person shooter is already exciting enough, but the Overwatch developers are thinking bigger than that. They don't just want Overwatch to be a huge FPS -- they want it to be the next big Blizzard universe.

Jeff Kaplan and Geoff Goodman, the game director and principal game designer for Overwatch, were warm and friendly when I sat down to talk to them about Overwatch. It's easy to see their passion and excitement -- some of which is perhaps borne out after years of struggling to make Project Titan come together.

But Kaplan's vision isn't limited to Overwatch. As the former World of Warcraft game director, former executive director of game design and one of the company's vice presidents, he specialises in thinking big.

So when Kaplan told me that he wanted people to fall in love with the Overwatch universe, a red flag went up. Just exactly how broad is Blizzard's vision for their Pixar-esque team shooter? He wouldn't outline exactly what was on the drawing board, but it was pretty evident that Blizzard knows they're onto a winner, and they're not going to stop with just a multiplayer-centric shooter.

"I mentioned when you were sitting down to play, I asked you to put the headphones on. I know some people don’t like to play with the headphones on, but I really wanted you to hear the voice acting," Kaplan began. "People were concerned that [Overwatch] was going to be a character-based game, but I can’t see my character -- how are you going to bring that out? So working with the voice actors and cultivating the personalities of each of the characters has been so much fun."

"I think the personality, for us, it’s absolutely crucial to bonding the player to the hero and giving the game that lasting experience that goes beyond, “Hey that was a cool PvP match we just had.” We really want to build a deep, rich universe that we can explore for many years to come, which we think as great as a team-based PvP shooter is we’d like to leave the door open for what’s beyond that."

Anyone at this point would follow up, so I asked directly: is Team 4 already looking at crafting co-op missions (as is the case with Star Wars: Battlefront) or single-player content for Overwatch? The answer was no, but Kaplan's reply left no doubt as to where Blizzard thinks Overwatch is going.

"We’d love to explore ideas like that. Right now our goal for Overwatch is to keep it as a competitive team-based shooter and that’s really the game we’re making. But Chris Metzen said this at Blizzcon when we announced the game that in a lot of ways this is like Warcraft 1, where you’re trying to just establish hopefully both with the company and the player base, establish a universe that people love and want to see more of. And that leaves the door open to a lot of exploration in the future."

The author travelled for the interview to Blizzard's offices at Irvine, California, as a guest of the developer, where Kaplan and Goodman spoke about Overwatch's multiplayer features and the issues with an ever-expanding roster of heroes.


Comments

    It has been sitting in my Battle.NET games list for almost a month, but unplayable. I'm starting to get the shits with this game already.

      I thought your comment meant it was released but 'buggy', much dissapointment when I googled and found out what you really meant.

    *head-desk- THUNK*

    Bleeuuuuuuurgh. Why can't something with a single-player/co-op campaign be Blizzard's next Warcraft? God damn always-online PVP esports-centric... siiiiiiiigh.

    God dammit, Blizzard. Start making games for ME again. I miss you. Come back.

      Yeah, that Blizzard is long gone. There has to be a new Blizzard equivalent out there, somewhere.

        Bethesda came pretty close....

          Bethesda.... noooope.

          They make games with huge potential, and then fug it up with terrible design.

          If I ever meet the devs at Bethesda who are responsible for the disarm effect... I'm going to punch them in the face, then thrown their keys off a cliff and make them go look for it. !#$&%@*(@$

          PS. I buy and spend a good chunk of time playing many of their games... but I don't think I'd give any of them more than 7/10. I generally wait till there are mods to patch up the worst of it now.

      Widowmaker's doing their usual "hero brainwashed and transformed by the villain faction" bit, and those characters always go rogue in the expansion.

      It's just how Blizzard works - maybe the expansion/DLC will get a story campaign to suit you.

    overwatch will never become the new wow if it doesnt have pve. pure and simple

    It might be decent, but I can't see a FPS being as big as WoW. It'd have to be a pretty dam original game

      What is not original about a first person shooter?

      Oh wait...

    after I get World of Starcraft, World of Diablo, and World of Blackthorn i will be ready for World of Overwatch

    You know what i'd really love to see? A world of starcraft mmo for current gen pc and console.

    You guys realise they are not saying WORLD of Warcraft, just Warcraft right? As in a game they hope one day could become a franchise based on its universe and lore etc.

      Well, I'm sure they were looking to achieve more with Project Titan before it got utterly gutted and converted into a well-polished (and utterly unimaginative) TF2 clone, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's plenty of lore there.

      Frankly, I don't even care what they do next as long as it's not yet another entry in the easy-out bandwagon-jumping always-online money-spinner bullshit that they've been all over lately. Their last three games have been a trading card Magic ripoff, a MOBA and a team-based PVP shooter.

      I don't think it's possible for them to come up with anything I care less about.
      ...Unless they whip up an artsy 2D platformer/roguelike with novel physics mechanics in a retro-themed pixel-art or silhouette art style.
      But those are too hard to monetize to exploit whales, and difficult to justify always-online, so I'm expecting them to clone Clash of Clans or Angry Birds, next.

    Yeah, because their fans don't want Warcraft 3 or anything....Hey let's make a crap first person shooter instead! That's what the fans have been dying for!

    Slow clap for Blizzard.............

    Overwatch looks lame, boring and cartoonish.

    It's interesting reading some of the negativity in relation to its similarities to tf2. Myself and a lot of people I played with in TF2 (for like 5k hours) are looking for this to be our next tf2 fix. Different strokes :)

    Warcraft 3 came out over a decade ago.

Join the discussion!