Hey everyone, welcome to the Objective! This week one of our most beloved heroes offered up an AMA on Reddit; Jeff Kaplan. Given the popularity of Overwatch, it was just a matter of time until we got a one on one with the director himself. This article will only feature the highlights of the AMA, but you can find it complete here.
From Titan to Overwatch
It is well known that Overwatch was born from the now dead “Project Titan”. When Titan got cancelled, Jeff and his team were given 6 weeks to pitch the next new thing. Overwatch was born from the fusion of the concepts from Arnold Tsang and the MMO ideas from Geoff Goodman.
After the project was successfully pitched, they proceeded to develop the heroes as indicated by Kaplan:
Contrary to popular belief, most of the heroes in OW were not in Titan.
Tracer had elements of the Jumper Reaper was Reaper (he did have a crossbow at one point in Titan) Widowmaker evolved from a class called the Ranger Bastion also evolved from the Ranger Soldier 76 evolved from the Ranger Symmetra and Torbjorn evolved from the Architect Reinhardt evolved from the Juggernaut, although he is completely different… just the idea of “big guy with shield” is all that stuck Genji/Hanzo evolved from the Assassin
Seems that a lot of content from Titan was then simplified and used in order to make the game that we love and play today.
When asked about his favorite hero, Kaplan answered:
This is going to sound canned but I fall in love with a different hero each week. I think that’s one of my favorite parts about OW. I totally get “maining” and I have heroes I play more than others… but I’m constantly discovering new things about different heroes on different maps… and then of course there is their backstories etc…
Also, every time Hanamura comes up I will only play Hanzo on defense. Because… roleplay… meet me on the porch, Genji.
Surely as being the game developer, picking a favorite hero must be difficult. However that does not stop him from playing competitive. Jeffrey stated that he is currently a platinum player and has a goal of reaching diamond. So if you are around the Platinum rating and happen to see Kaplan, make sure to say hi!
Many reddit users took to the occasion to talk about the other platforms, highlighting the challenge to develop a game for home consoles and PC. Jeff said that this was the team’s intention since Day 1. They developed the game in order for it to be ported even before they signed the respective deals with Sony or Microsoft. He stated that the challenge does not come from the development point of view, but instead from the limitation of releasing content simultaneously.
Then a reddit user asked about the Switch, to which Kaplan responded:
I’m loving the Switch! My second favorite gaming platform of all time is the 3DS. Getting OW on the Switch is very challenging for us. But we’re always open minded about exploring possible platforms.
OverwatchGo confirmed? Maybe? Please?
Opinions of other games
When asked about how does Overwatch compare with Team Fortress 2 (a game that shares some characteristics with Overwatch), Jeffrey praised it and ranked it within his Top 10 Games of All Time. The team was aware of this issue even before announcing OW at Blizzcon 2014, that is why they decided to give even more content first-hand than TeamFortress 2 did. This way audiences will understand that both games are similar, but each one gave a different experience to their users.
Jeff also established what pretty much everybody has been saying this last weeks:
Apart from Overwatch, what is your favorite game to play?
Right now? Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s a masterpiece.
Working at Blizzard
Nobody expected Overwatch to be the successful game it has turned to be; winning Game of the Year, having Overwatch League, being a successful e-sports game, etc. However this was never the team’s intention, as Kaplan has stated: “We make players happy… not to win awards” Then proceeded to praise the team’s work and how happy he was to see that they have earned the recognition that they deserve.
Then people wanted to know what was his favorite part of woking with Blizzard, to which he answered:
I love the people I work with — truly love. They are amazingly smart and talented. I learn so much every day. I love being surrounded by people who are 100% driven and dedicated towards their passion. I feel incredibly lucky to work here.
Finally his opinion of Dinoflask videos: “He is super talented. The videos are hilarious. Obviously I feel embarrassed when I see them.”
Among other highlights from the interview:
- An Overwatch Documentary about how does the team create heroes was semi-confirmed. More>
- Bastion has been one of the hardest heroes to balance. More>
- Eichenwalde is one of the most beloved maps by players even though it is not balanced. Yet. More>
- Jeff Kaplan’s favorite ability is Reinhardt’s charge.
- Pharah was the most exciting hero to develop and evolve. More>
- Jeffrey is constantly on the subreddit, so be careful if you are naughty or nice! More>
- We can expect other members from the team to do AMA’s in the future.
And finally …
When someone asks you about the next unreleased hero, what’s your favorite response to strategically avoid answering the question?
Quien es Sombra?