Paladins’ Developers Deny Cloning Overwatch

Paladins’ Developers Deny Cloning Overwatch

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.


  • I wonder if there was any cross-pollination between the two games. Too many coincidences for my mind. Whether it was Blizzard who was ‘inspired’ by this, or this by Blizzard, I’d eat my hat if there were no transfer of ideas in some way, shape or form.

    • IIRC Blizzard admitted they were influenced by Global Agenda when developing Overwatch, so I’d say it’s probably a two way street…

    • This was my thoughts exactly, a little creative turn over at a crucial point in development could have taken these ideas cross studio.

      “Hey guys, when I was at Blizzard me and Fred had this SICK idea”

      “Hey guys, remember when Frank worked here? We had this KILLER idea we were playing around with”

      Ideas developed independent of the company thrown around between new co-workers. Neither Fred or Frank are gonna go “hey wait guys don’t use that idea it’s not completely mine” they’re just gonna go let’s do it and completely blank on the IP potential.

    • Almost definitely I’d say. Nothing exists in a vacuum and the people who work at both studios are only human and inspiration seeps in from everywhere, even subconsciously.

  • Not surprising. Blizzard had fans accusing eq2 of being a wow clone… ignoring the fact that eq2 followed the origional everquest which was (like tf/tf2) years before Blizzard decided to join the genre.

  • Surely this will be a lot more like Battleborn than Overwatch, in that no-one will buy it and play it.

    • I’d say Overwatch owes more to LoL than it does to TF.

      Regardless of influence, Blizzard has done with Overwatch what they have always done: take elements from other successful games, combine them in a (nominally) novel way, and polish it til it fucking gleams.

      Edit: typo

  • The brutally unfortunate reality of popularity (/competing with Blizzard).

    Any DikuMUD-derived/inspired MMO that came out after WoW launched was liable to be labeled a ‘WoW-clone’. It might not matter that they were actually copying more of EverQuest (or Anarchy Online, or Ryzom, or Lineage 1 or 2)… WoW was the big one that ‘everybody knew’.

    At its height, EverQuest was known as the most successful MMO of its time, colloquially referred to as ‘EverCrack’, with industry pundits frequently remarking on its staggering ‘hundreds of thousands’ of subscribers, almost reaching the half-million mark in 2003; blowing away Ultima Online, which had previously been the genre-titan at a quarter-million subs.

    …Then the EQ-clone, World of Warcraft, launched and nuked the fuck out of everyone’s very concept of what an MMO should be, with 5 MILLION subscribers in their first year.

    That’s when diku-style MMOs started being called ‘WoW clones’.

    Coincidentally, WoW: also by Blizzard, just like Overwatch.

    Similar to FPSes in the 90s all being labeled ‘Doom clones’, regardless of when they were made or which franchise they bore more resemblance to. There was one monster blockbuster of the day, and it was Doom.

    • Even Metroid Blast Ball was revealed right on top of Rocket League’s release last year, but will forever be “just a clone”. And then funnily enough came Lucioball…

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