Tagged With jeff kaplan

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This year’s BlizzCon was an odd one on a lot of levels, but I was personally stricken by the number of friends and acquaintances who told me they’d taken weeks or months off from playing Overwatch.

Last year and the year before, it was an obsession. Lately, though, it’s felt a little stale. Despite that sentiment, game director and proud internet papa Jeff Kaplan isn’t sounding the alarms just yet.

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Back before World of Warcraft launched, in 2004, the template for quests in an MMORPG was a little dry. Games like EverQuest were primarily inspired by text-based MUDs, where you didn't need much incentive to go out and kill things. For World of Warcraft, that wasn't going to work.

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At yesterday's New York Overwatch event, in a rented-out space in midtown Manhattan, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan stood in front of a slide showcasing an old Egyptian woman, an autistic Indian woman, a bodybuilding Russian woman, a plump Chinese woman and a Mexican hacker woman. "One thing that we did with the game that was very important to us was to challenge stereotypes," Kaplan said. "If you look across modern shooters in 2017... to think that we have a mother who's Egyptian... that's not a common thread that you're gonna see," he explained proudly.

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It's no secret that Overwatch players are precious about the game's balance changes. On the internet, fans act as armchair game devs, flooding the Overwatch forums with strongly-worded opinions whenever there's an unpopular or surprising change. Most recently, the forums overflowed with salt after the popular tank hero D.Va received a brutal nerf, making her far less powerful. For months, players begged Blizzard to revive the old D.Va.

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The decision to remove Tracer's over-the-shoulder pose from Overwatch has been a hot topic over the last 24 hours, prompting complaints, debates and petitions about the pose and the way Blizzard has handled the situation.

But Overwatch's director, Jeff Kaplan, has no qualms with the choice whatsoever. In fact, according to a clarification late this afternoon, removing the now-contentious pose was actually easy.

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It's fine to want to promote competition within your own game, but there's a reason smart developers wait before attaching the word eSports to their games. eSports comes with a certain set of expectations, and when your game isn't even released it's probably better to avoid using the word entirely.