Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan wants Overwatch to be more like Valorant than LoL for sequel

by Isaac McIntyre

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Jeff Kaplan is laying out a new development plan for the Overwatch franchise ahead of its long-awaited sequel, and he’s using two rival titles to do it ⁠— the Blizzard vice-president wants to see ‘more Valorant, less League of Legends’ in the series moving forward.

Overwatch's vast roster of colorful heroes, and their abilities, have always defined the competitive title. Before Apex Legends and Valorant burst onto the scene as character-based shooters, Overwatch ruled that particular roost.

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The dawn of Riot’s Counter-Strike rival Valorant has caught Kaplan’s eye, however, a fact that he revealed in a recent Reddit fan forum. He wants to guide Overwatch “slightly more in the FPS direction, than the MOBA direction,” he admitted.

Overwatch figurehead Jeff Kaplan seems to have been inspired by Riot's Valorant title.
Riot Games
Overwatch figurehead Jeff Kaplan seems to have been inspired by Riot's Valorant title.

The revelation Overwatch could be pivoting slightly in the future, if Kaplan has anything to do with it, actually came during a discussion on the six-v-six hero shooter's ever-growing power creep issue.

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The Blizzard VP said he was trying to “focus in” on the true source of the creep; it looks like that may just be abilities and shields.

“Is time to kill too fast? Do we feel like crowd-control is too much? Too much, or maybe too little healing?” he said, pointing to each of the questions Team 4’s balance team has to ask itself regularly.

One possible solution is, of course, to reduce the number of powerful abilities and ultimates in Blizzard’s 2015 shooter.

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Returning power to player’s trigger-fingers, and in the process taking power away from game-changing abilities like Reinhardt Earthshatters or Mercy resurrects, could reign in a lot of the games “unbalance.”

Reinhard ultimate could be removed if Jeff Kaplan gets his way in Overwatch.
Blizzard Entertainment
We could see a few less Reinhardt ultimates in Overwatch if Kaplan gets his way.

That’s what Riot promised ahead of their big Valorant release. Let's ignore, for a moment, that they’ve released a Torbjorn-style turret agent since then; Riot mostly delivered on that promise ⁠— nearly all of their launch agents simply boasted vision and movement utility.

Kaplan believes the League of Legends developers have laid out a strong blueprint for FPS titles that combine shooting and abilities; one he has admitted he may push for in his own competitive title as Overwatch 2 approaches.

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“My personal feeling is that I would like to see less barriers and crowd-control in the game. I want to see Overwatch trend slightly more in the FPS direction, rather than the MOBA direction,” the Blizzard vice-president restated.

The double-shield Overwatch meta may be on its last legs in the coming August patches.
Blizzard Entertainment
The double-shield Overwatch meta may be on its last legs in the coming August patches.

Power-creep and potentially copying Valorant weren’t the only things Jeff Kaplan raised in the Overwatch 'ask me anything' either. He also confirmed Overwatch 2 crossplay was "in the works," and called for Smash to add a hero from Blizzard’s title as DLC.

On the balance front, he was also definitive in Team 4’s plans for the next few Overwatch patches; double-shields, like playing both Reinhardt and Brigitte, are most definitely on the chopping block in August’s next updates.