Blizzard talks Overwatch’s Echo character, big-screen ambitions, and crossplay potential

    
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Most of the buzz coming out of BlizzCon’s Overwatch reveals centered on the new playable bad-girl Ashe, who is totally not just McCree but a girl. Eurogamer’s interview with Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan, however, covers much more than the new hero and her intro video, though it does mention the team was hoping to have her up and running on the PTR today.

For example, the other key character introduced in the McCree short was Echo, the sleek Kaminoan-like robot pulled out of the pod from the train. Kaplan says Echo is “tentatively” one of the “next six heroes planned out right now,” though “she might not be” the next one actually launching after Ashe.

He also says that an Overwatch Netflix series or something akin to a movie is still “within the realms of possibility”: “Those things are really complicated to bring together and make happen – but they’re things we’re very excited about.”

Finally, Eurogamer presses Kaplan on crossplay; he says it’s something about which Blizzard is “definitely having conversations.”

“We’re super-excited about what’s going on with cross-play in all sorts of different games, from Rocket League to Fortnite, and we are constantly in discussions with the first-parties, Microsoft and Sony, to see where they’re at and gauge where their temperature is at. It’s something that would be very exciting for us to pursue. […] It’s very complicated – from a technology standpoint, a game design standpoint, and from a business relationship standpoint. But we would be excited to tackle all of those challenges; we would love to try. We’re gamers; “Why can’t my buddies on this system or that system play together?” We sympathise with that, we want to be able to do that too.”

As for the Switch? Well, nothing set in stone yet, but as Kaplan puts it, “It’s something we’re very open-minded about.”

Source: Eurogamer
Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!

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IronSalamander8 .

I haven’t played Overwatch in a bit but it had great polish for control customization. I find it rather amusing that OW used to attack Paladins over copying their characters but now it’s going the other way as Ashe is a lot like Lian from Paladins in many ways (white hair, rifle, rich, big bodyguard (Khan), etc.)

How they put OW on the big screen is beyond me, the story and timing is almost nonexistent. Just the fact that Pharah who is older than Tracer was too young to join OW before it was shut down but Tracer was actually in it makes a mockery of any attempt to create a viable backdrop and coherent story line.

As for crossplay the number reason that I hear why we don’t have it more between PC and consoles is the aiming with mouse is so much easier than with a controller so it gives us PC users an unfair advantage. It sucks because crossplay would be awesome for Garden Warfare 2 but hard to get right without making it feel ‘off’ for PC users. The cooldown timer in FF14 is bad enough a compromise for allowing crossplay there, although it does work decently enough.

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Chris Neal

I’m gonna be real honest with y’all, I read the headline “Echo character” and thought they were calling Ashe McCree’s Echo Fighter. :3

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Utakata

…as I read the last part as “cosplay potential”. (I thought it already was! O.o)

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Bruno Brito

I’m of the honest belief they’re trying to hype all their other games with “plans for the future” to avoid any more focusing on the Diablo issue.

Man, this desperation by Blizz is funny as hell.

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Dobablo

Blizzard well off the pace on this one. Overwatch needs to be available on mobile like Fortnite.

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Siphaed

1) Ewww. Controls are horrible.

2) They just announced Diablo on mobile and the community acted like the showed a 13-min log CGI murder scene of Jenna from WoW.

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Sorenthaz

Cross play would really only work on consoles, trying to have PC players play alongside console users would be horrible for console users unless they dumb it down further for PC players which wouldn’t be good.

Like that’s one of the big issues with Fortnite competitively is that Epic keeps trying to do events where console and PC players are all in the same competitive pool against each other.

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Rumm

The Overwatch business model basically necessitates expansions to breath new life into the game, which is why I’m honestly a bit surprised there’s been no real rumors of one on the horizon. Next year the game turns 5, which is more than long enough for the “vanilla” version of the game to have run its course. Give me a new expansion with a single player campaign or a bunch of maps within a new theme and I’ll give you another $30 for the box price.

Overwatch remains probably the best value game on the PC market from a AAA developer. That being said, a single new hero every 5 months really doesn’t justify that development team size (100+ the last post Jeff made on the topic?). Ashe will give me a reason to go back to the game for a few weeks, but something with more meat on the bones would give me a reason to go back for a prolong period of time and then spend some cash on skins while I’m at it.

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Sorenthaz

My guess is they probably won’t really ever do traditional expansions but instead just continue doing the updates that they’ve been doing – new brawls/temp game modes here/there, new hero every quarter or two, new map thrown in occasionally…

The issue with an actual ‘expansion’ is that it would divide the playerbase up between the haves and the have-nots. If new characters or maps are suddenly behind paywalls people would riot, and anything related to a PvE thing would probably be better off as a standalone side-game.

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James Balmer

Overwatch isn’t even 3 years old, and expansions only split the player base up, it’s ridiculously popular hence the large dev team.

Where did you get any of your information?

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Rheem Octuris

You’re forgetting Blizzard has lootboxes they’re making money off of too.

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BDJ

I want some of what you are on. How in the world is overwatch going to be 5 years old next year when it released in 2016? It will be 3 years old next year, not 5 lol.

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BDJ

Hearthstone will be 5. Think you just got them backwards.

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Danny Smith

“Big screen plans”? Okay, everytime i hear this kind of thing about Overwatch i feel like i’m going crazy.

The game is fun but has no story.

Here is the story to Overwatch: Winston suffers a home invasion and calls all his friends, Tracer answers the phone. Thats it. Everything else is backstory to introduce new characters or seasonal events. It is not an unfolding narrative. It is constantly patchworked backstory to facilitate ‘heros’ that murder each other for point capture and payload delivery. Thats it.

I like Overwatch. Its artsyle is great and gameplay is fun.
But everytime i see people talking about its ‘great story’ its like people still havent noticed blizzard has been coasting this game on backstory and “this character was X Y number of years ago” on repeat. If Overwatch has a great story so does every 1980’s action figure line that kept pulling new charaters out of nowhere who had been part of the lineup for years.

Maybe at best the sombra and zarya videos were set after the opening cutscene but thats still far from the ‘amazing, rich narrative’ i see people gush about that facilitates the shootbangs.

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David Blair

Ever watch Aeon Flux back in the day on MTV where she dies at the end of each episode :)

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Zora

Single player campaign like any self respecting big triple-A publisher? No?

So you put the stuff in the game and you don’t have to cram the stories you (apparently) wish to tell about the characters and the world in medias that are entirely external to the product you are marketing.

I have on good advice that it’s possible and it has been done before by… about everyone, with astonishing results. Even by your actvision buddies, that’s the bottom of the barrel.

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Sorenthaz

They’ve had some co-op campaign PvE things that are temporary things during the ‘Archives’ event. Both of the ones so far have been lore-esque and such.

But even the Call of Duty games now have dropped singleplayer campaigns in favor of focusing on the online multiplayer (for Black Ops 4 it revolves around the regular CoD multiplayer PvP, the Battle Royale mode, and then Zombies PvE coop).

Overwatch is pretty much on that whole ‘games as a service’ train where likely any heavy amount of PvE focused/campaign-esque content would come in the form of a side game.

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Greaterdivinity

Most of the buzz coming out of BlizzCon’s Overwatch reveals centered on the new playable bad-girl Ashe

EHEM, I think you mean BOB.

And please make a TV show or something, Blizzard. I’d take an Overwatch show over a Diablo show any day.