What's Blizzard's Next Step With Overwatch?
Blizzard's Overwatch is shaping up to be the next big eSports contender. Indeed, as we saw, the game has quite a lot going for it in this respect, but the general consensus is that its eSports future hinges entirely on what Blizzard is planning next with the IP.
What exactly do they have planned for Overwatch?
This is the question many of the forums are buzzing with, and unlike other times, Blizzard seem eager to answer it now. In response to those questions, game director, Jeff Kaplan made an unusually long and detailed forum post in which he touched on a number of things the team had lined up for the title. From Kaplan's post, it's obvious that the game - in its current shape and form - represents but the first stage of the project. Apparently, there's a plethora of new content in the works, including new maps, new heroes, as well as competitive play.
According to Kaplan, there's a lot of focus on new heroes right now. There are quite a few of them in "development", some of them near completion, others not as far down the creative conveyor-belt. Still others are mere prototypes which might never actually see the light of the in-game world.
The time investment into the heroes is obvious because Blizzard is aware that one of reasons Overwatch is so popular is their characters. They're focused on delivering more interesting heroes and personalities that may lead to more internet memes, and generally more player interest.
The game's director has also revealed that there is a brand new map currently in the works. The new map is apparently play-tested all the time to make sure that the art additions do not in alter its specific game-play. During this process they're abandoning ineffective maps. For example, one such map highly favored long-range heroes while others were left redundant.
Special attention is being paid to competitive play, a mode which has come along nicely. Kaplan said however that he didn't expect the team to be where they wanted to be with this mode before a few seasons passed, as constant tweaks and iterations would be required in the beginning.
The mode is still scheduled for a June release. Now given its complexity and importance for the eSports viability, competitive play will hold many surprises that will have to be cleared before Blizzard releases the feature.
Kaplan has promised that competitive play will be highly entertaining upon launch.
Girvan Lambert currently mans the Overwatch barricades at Gosugamers.net, the web's top eSports hub.