With 2016 coming to an end, Overwatch project lead Jeff Kaplan discusses the past, present, and future of the multiplayer shooter in this ‘Year in Review’ video.
While Blizzard may be winding down for a holiday break, Overwatch players continue to enjoy the Winter Wonderland seasonal event and all of the special loot box gifts it has shared. Before going quiet for Christmas and New Year’s Day, however, game director Jeff Kaplan has one more Developer Update video to share. Titled “Year in Review,” Jeff takes the opportunity to briefly discuss the past, present, and future of Overwatch.
Starting the video off, Jeff goes over how productive Blizzard has been since Overwatch‘s launch. Competitive Overwatch has been completely revamped based on player feedback, followed by both Season 1 and Season 2 each having their own iterative changes leading into the current Season 3. Both Ana and Sombra’s launches have been fun, as well as educational in deciding how to balance and launch future heroes. Add in Arcade Mode, new maps, new Brawls and the hugely successful Seasonal Events that continue to grow better as well.
While the present state of Overwatch is less of a focus for Jeff in the video compared to the past and future, he does touch on some lessons learned regarding current Overwatch. For instance, Jeff discusses how Ana was reactively buffed after her launch and is now going to receive some nerfs, a process that has led to Blizzard being much more patient with Sombra’s launch and any future changes. He notes how both Season 3 and the Winter Wonderland events are being well received, as well as being better than prior Seasons and events in meaningful ways. Perhaps most importantly, Jeff takes the opportunity to thank players for making Overwatch what it is, on behalf of both himself and the Blizzard Overwatch team.
As for Overwatch‘s future, Jeff was more than willing to chat regarding some of Blizzard’s plans, but didn’t drop any big announcements or reveals. The most vague of promises were of course regarding new heroes, with Jeff saying several of which will arrive in 2017, and regarding events, which are coming and revolve around both big predictable holidays and perhaps some more surprising happenings.
On the other hand, Jeff did have some specific details regarding some smaller changes coming in the short-to-medium term. For instance, Blizzard is working on giving players access to as many as four different sprays and voice lines at once, as well as other customizations to the communication wheel. Another small feature addition will be a button players can click to bring their party chat into team chat prior to a game starting, which will hopefully bring more private parties into team chat.
Other things in the works include the previously announced Oasis map, currently on the PTR, and other maps at different levels of development. Jeff says the team is also experimenting with game modes, with the hopes of potentially even adding a new one to the core competitive rotation, but mostly for the more creativity-focused Arcade. Then of course there are also changes coming to better serve competition and eSports, like an upgraded spectator system and more robust custom game features. If 2016 was exciting in Overwatch, 2017 should be even more so.
Overwatch is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The Winter Wonderlands seasonal event and all of its exclusive loot box cosmetics will last until December 3.