Jeff Kaplan reveals why Overwatch devs “abandoned” classic remake

Andrew Amos
Tracer from Overwatch side by side with grimacing Jeff Kaplan

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.

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
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.

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.

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.

“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.


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.