Blizzard Devs Explain Why They Ported Overwatch To Switch

Image: Blizzard

Overwatch is finally coming to the Switch but everyone's curious to see how the thing's going to run, given the hurdles between porting PC and console games to a smaller handheld device.

While the game is loved for its fast frame rate and gameplay pace, those aspects might not be immediately available on the console. What you'll get instead is portability and some gyro-aiming, which allows players to aim by pivoting their console and looks admittedly tough to master.

Blizzard developers, Jeff Kaplan and Wes Yanagi, told Ars Technica in a video interview about why they decided to bring Overwatch over to everyone's favourite handheld console.

Yanagi explained they began work on Overwatch for Switch when the highly-acclaimed Diablo 3 port was released. "One of the reasons that we're a bit late to the game ... is because we initially had that reluctance [of bringing a PC favourite to Switch]," Kaplan said.

"Once you get over the hurdle, there are so many advantages to the platform. It's not only about visual fidelity."

Gameplay differences are minimal on the platform aside from the inclusion of gyro-aiming. As for how steep the learning curve is for gyro-aiming is, Yanagi reckons you'll only need around two hours to learn it. So, that'll probably translate to two days for me.

The biggest hurdle for the game's entrance on the Switch is likely to be the ever-problematic crossplay issue. The developers said while they'd love to have cross-platform play on Overwatch, it's not yet available on release.

"We hope some day we can work through those challenges but right now, it's all within the Nintendo ecosystem," Kaplan said. He also pointed out they're not likely to apply specific tuning changes to the Switch, unless the gyro-aiming unfairly advantages or disadvantages a character.

Blizzard has been in the midst of a PR crisis after it received backlash regarding its response to Hearthstone players who came out in support of Hong Kong protesters.

Whether that political turbulence among the community will impact the game, and specifically its release on the Switch, remains to be seen.

Overwatch comes to Nintendo Switch on October 16.

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Comments

    "Once you get over the hurdle, there are so many advantages to the platform. It's not only about visual fidelity."

    So many advantages = additional revenue streams.

    The same reason that guides every decision they make: Money.

    from platform-ports, to Pride events (in the West), to declaring calls for basic human rights as offensive, divisive, and worthy of nuclear-grade punishment orders of magnitude worse than those dealt out for actual cheating.

    I haven't read this yet... but was the reason 'money'?

      They didn't say specifically why, no individual reason was given.

      All they really said was that they were initially hesitant about the Switch and had big reservations around porting Diablo 3, but the results of that port proved that it can be done.

      So yeah, basically money.

        Welcome to capitalist America. You must be new here.

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