Overwatch Origins - BlizzCon 2014 Panel Recap

Overwatch Origins

Quote from Blizzard

Panel

  • Chris Metzen is the lead creative director on Overwatch.
  • Bill Petras is the Art Director of Overwatch. He was the Art Director for World of Warcraft in the past.
  • Jeff Chamberlain is the VFX supervisor on Overwatch. He worked on the Heart of the Swarm, Wrath of the Lich King, Mists of Pandaria, Diablo III: RoS, and other Blizzard cinematics.
  • The art in the game is high quality but still has the Blizzard style.
  • The art should be vibrant, edgy, with silhouettes, as well as feeling handcrafted and detailed. Readability of the art is important.
  • Overwatch uses a new engine with new technology.
  • There was a partnership from day 1 between the cinematic team and the game artists.
  • Torbjörn was the first character that they modeled.
  • Pharah came from the idea of having a hero with a jetpack and rocket launcher. The original nickname was Rocket Dude. Exploring the story and personality of the character helped to refine the concept to what we see today. The team then worked on finding the right voice actor for the character.
  • Creating these heroes was a very team based process.
  • Warcraft started out very simple and then added in new characters, story, and art over time. Overwatch is starting from the same place, a simple beginning and lots of potential for the future in terms of story and characters.
  • The team wanted Tracer to be the centerpiece hero, as everyone on the team loved her.
  • The cinematic and in game art team both worked on Tracer at the same time, working together to refine her art.
  • The new engine and development process allowed both teams to work together to have Tracer's model in the cinematic and game be very similar.
  • Winston was a challenging model to work on, as he has a lot of movements and a rage mode that changes his movements. The model may not be complete yet.
  • Winston was also challenging to work on for the cinematics team, as there is a lot of clipping with his armor and how he moves, so the team just hid parts of the armor that aren't facing the camera to avoid clipping.
  • Widowmaker was the one of the easier characters to model.
  • The Overwatch poster is a important part of uniting the team during the development process. They started earlier in the development process, trying different layouts and less heroes, but the final product felt like it worked right the comic book style of the game. There is enough space to add more and more heroes to the poster as they are added to the game.
  • There are a few heroes on the poster that aren't part of the 12 that are playable at Blizzcon.
  • The child in the cinematic made Chris Metzen's inner six year old do cartwheels. He hopes everyone loves the game, but almost doesn't care because of how exciting it is to work on.
  • Blizzard is used to working on huge epic stories in other games, so this is a new direction for them and it is exciting. A bright, fun, heroic world that reaches for everyone's inner six year old!
  • Jeff Chamberlain claimed the project as soon as he heard the pitch.
  • The original cinematic just had the 12 boards in the image below and the story today is very similar.
  • After seeing the story pitch, Metzen said "If we don't make this story, I don't want to work here". Everyone was excited for Overwatch.
  • The team was working late one night and needed a full match to test some features. They ended up playing for hours after they started, which made them realize how much fun it was. The team was making the game because they enjoyed it, not because anyone assigned them the project.

Q&A

  • There will be plenty of diversity of hero types. They are aware people want to feel represented in game.
  • There might be Overwatch characters in Heroes of the Storm in the future.
  • The team has been working on Overwatch for roughly a year and a half, starting on the idea after the Titan team was reallocated to other games. Normally you have to spend some time pitching a game to developers, but most were in very quickly for Overwatch.
  • No real answer to if there will be collectable hats.
  • Skins sound like a good idea, but nothing to announce.
  • The actual gameplay doesn't have a big bad villain so that players can have heroes fight heroes rather than having specific villains that restrict gameplay. The deep and rich story will take place outside of the game. The story shouldn't hinder or restrict the gameplay in any way.
  • There aren't any immediate plans to add an adventure mode to the game to play each hero and explore their story, but it is something they are interested in doing.
  • The game has some similarities to TF2, but it is still a very different game. TF2 has a limited number of roles with some more customization through weapon choices. Overwatch also has some more mobility, with some heroes that can fly or use grapple hooks. Overwatch is more about hero abilities than it is about putting a crosshair over the other heroes.

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