Blizzard reveals that the new hero shooter Overwatch utilizes one of Call of Duty‘s mechanics that helps the gunplay feel good for players, especially on consoles.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s first true foray into the first person shooter genre, and it’s also the developer’s first time launching a new game simultaneously across PC and consoles. So when it came to making the shooting and gunplay feel just right for Overwatch, Blizzard turned to Treyarch, the developers behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for some pointers.
One common game mechanic that makes console shooters feel “right” to the player in games from Call of Duty to Destiny to Halo is aim assist. And Blizzard says Overwatch borrows this same mechanic, specifically from the Call of Duty franchise.
When first-person shooters made the jump to consoles, one of the difficulties that developers had to overcome was the lack of precision inherent to a console controller’s thumbstick when compared to a mouse on PC. Developers have tried many tricks including auto aim mechanics, however most modern shooters today use aim assist.
Aim assist is best described as a stickiness that occurs when a player moves a reticle across a target. It is not a system that pulls bullets towards a target, which is a common misconception of how aim assist works.
It’s often most notable when aim assist is turned up, as players can notice that the reticle will slow down just a small amount when passing by the head of an opponent. Aim assist is integral in console players being able to quickscope or no-scope in first person shooters (and it’s also the reason why guns like Destiny‘s 1000-Yard Stare have been nerfed for having too high of aim assist).
Blizzard’s assistant game director Aaron Keller says working with other developers within Activision, just as in this case with Treyarch, is not anything new.
“The funny thing is, we collaborate with a lot of different Activision studios. We collaborate with the Destiny team, when they were building Destiny they wanted to talk to some of the people at World of Warcraft to see how they made some of their content. And we’ve gone to Treyarch a number of times and talked to them, whether it’s about some of their guts of the engine features, or whether it’s about tuning changes. And they’ve come out and looked at some of our stuff, too.”
Anyone will be able to get a taste of Overwatch‘s aim assist system, and the game in general, when it enters open beta next week.
Overwatch officially launches May 24 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.