Jeff Kaplan reveals why Overwatch devs "abandoned" classic remake - Dexerto
Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals why Overwatch devs “abandoned” classic remake

Published: 15/Jul/2020 3:14

by Andrew Amos

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Many players rattle on about the “good old days” of Overwatch. No hero limits, no GOATS, no Double Shield, the list goes on and on. However, Jeff Kaplan has confirmed while Blizzard wanted to launch a ‘Classic Mode’ for players to relive the glory days, they’ve been forced to “abandon” the project.

Since Overwatch’s original release in 2016, the tactical shooter has undergone a number of changes. 11 heroes have been added since Day 1, including the much-loathed Orisa and Brigitte.

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Nine maps have also been added, including fan favorites like Eichenwalde, but also not-so-popular battlefields like Horizon Lunar Colony and Paris.

Ana crouching on Route 66 in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Ana was the first hero added to Overwatch after the game’s release.

That’s not to include the game functionality changes. Hero limits were a thing in 2016, so you could run six Winstons if you really wanted. Hero pools and 2-2-2 role lock were not even being looked at in the wide scheme of things.

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It’s no surprise that through stale metas like Moth, then GOATS, and now Double Shield that players want to reminisce on the “good old days.” Blizzard does too, to an extent, but the project has proven to be too difficult to ever implement.

Jeff Kaplan knocked back players’ hopes of a “Vanilla Overwatch” remake, saying that it was too “costly” to try and recreate old assets of the game, some of which date back to well before the game’s 2016 release.

“We tried to do Vanilla Overwatch but it was very costly from a technical and art perspective,” Team 4’s lead developer admitted on July 13.

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If it was a case of just adjusting the numbers, it would be easy. However, OW’s development has taken the game down numerous different paths. There’s a lot of elements of the old game that just don’t exist anywhere ⁠— not even in backups ⁠— for the devs to call on for the planned mode.

“It wasn’t as simple as returning things to their original values. There was a lot of art and UI changes that were not properly ‘versioned’ off but rather overwritten. We wanted to make it an arcade card, but eventually we abandoned the project,” Kaplan added.

This news has dampened players’ moods, especially those who were hoping for a classic remake for the next experimental card. Kaplan explained on Reddit that Team 4 has two modes they are testing for Overwatch.

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“One is focused on some balance changes; some Moira experiments we are unsure of and some minor toning down of Genji. The other is a ‘failed’ experiment that we figured might be fun for some to try,” he said on July 14.

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Sadly for fans, the failed experiment is no longer going to be a classic remake of Overwatch. If Blizzard wanted to revisit it in the future, they most certainly could. It took the developer 15 years to remake World of Warcraft Classic after players demanded it.

However, with Overwatch 2 on the horizon, the prospects of getting to play the game many loved back in 2016 are, unfortunately, slim to none.

Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals his ideal competitive Overwatch meta

Published: 8/Oct/2020 3:13

by Theo Salaun

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Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President and Overwatch’s beloved Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed what he thinks is the ideal competitive meta for the expansive title.

Overwatch exists in many forms, from its highest ranks to its lowest, but the game’s competitive meta at the professional level has also varied greatly since the original release back in May 2016. 

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In the olden days, teams prioritized dive compositions led by Winston’s jumps and Tracer’s blinks. Then, in 2019, fans around the world either groaned or cheered as the divisive GOATS meta took center-stage, featuring a hefty squad built entirely with tanks and supports. 

Now, Kaplan is explaining his perspective on the game’s ideal state, following criticisms he levied back in July against the game’s double-shield reliance. Examining the game’s departure from a static, Orisa and Sigma-dependent environment, he dissects his compository ideology. 

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Brigitte stuns Junkrat on Volskaya
Blizzard Entertainment
Barriers have held an uncomfortably powerful role in Overwatch for a long time.

As discussed in an interview with the Loadout, Kaplan is both aware of the professional scene’s interests and the casual base’s tendencies. Coupling those factors, he believes the game is at its best when there is some blend of high skill caps and diverse team compositions.

“The most ideal, healthiest state of the game is when the meta is somewhat fluid, when the meta is more map dependent or team match up dependent than it is static. We’ve all seen those moments when the meta has been completely static and all six players will just play the same six heroes every time. I think that’s fun from a mastery standpoint, but I think it’s a lot more exciting for viewers when creativity and curiosity come into play,” he said.

When Kaplan refers to a “static” meta, the simplest example is 2019’s GOATS, where three healers (Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira) were coupled with three tanks (D.Va, Reinhardt, and Zarya) and would barrel into opponents.

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It took tremendous teamwork to be pulled off successfully against other professional teams, but many fans considered it more tedious than entertaining after months of gameplay.

In its current state, Overwatch is not completely balanced, but there is a degree of variety to it. That diversity seen in the Overwatch League spans downward into the casual ranks. Kaplan indicates that this is in line with his department’s hopes.

“I think most of our players would say in the ideal meta, all our heroes would be viable in some way competitively. I think as a competitive goal from a game designing and game balancing perspective that is extremely challenging, but it’s obviously what we strive to achieve.”

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While he assures that Overwatch would be completely balanced in an ideal world, in the meantime, his team would at least like to push toward a game that varies to some extent based on coaching, player preference, and map.

It remains to be seen if current and upcoming patches can accomplish that, but Kaplan’s emphasis on “fluidity” is a welcome driving force.

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