Having recently crossed an astonishing 40 million players, Blizzard’s hero shooter Overwatch has been one of the most successful multiplayer shooters in recent years. Part of what makes the game so great is Blizzard’s ongoing commitment to improving the game and responding to fan feedback about what works and what doesn’t. It is a game with a vibrant community.
Overwatch recently celebrated its second anniversary, and Blizzard just this week launched an Anniversary event to celebrate. Up for grabs are 50 new cosmetic items in Loot Boxes, while there is also a new Deathmatch map, Petra, and Brawl events that return from previous events. To further celebrate Overwatch’s second birthday, Blizzard hosted a roundtable interview with Assistant Game Director Aaron Keller and Senior Game Producer Matthew Hawley, who spoke about Overwatch’s achievements over the past two years and teased what’s to come. Among other things, we asked about Overwatch 2, a Nintendo Switch edition, loot boxes, and more. You can see some highlights from this interview below.
For more on Overwatch’s Anniversary event, check out GameSpot’s roundup of everything you need to know about it. The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
On A Potential Overwatch 2:
Matthew Hawley: “I think at the core sitting here at the two-year anniversary, we’ve had a wildly successful 6v6 shooter game which has blown us away with how the community has responded to it. We dip our toes into different areas here and there with the Archives event and Junkenstein. But I think our focus is really on keeping the community engaged with the 6v6 shooter that we have on the live service.
Aaron Keller: “Running a live service game takes a lot of work and I hope the community knows we have been committed to continually improving the game and creating content. What people might not realise is the team now is significantly bigger than what it was when we shipped the game, and we have put all of that into working on the live game and the new maps, heroes, and events like Anniversary. At least for the time being, [supporting Overwatch] is our focus right now, and we’re excited to work on this game.”
On Loot Boxes:
Matthew Hawley: “I think the cosmetic only, non-power increasing [kind of content] works really well for the type of game that Overwatch is. What is the future of loot boxes? I don’t think anybody in the room knows. Certainly for now, the cosmetic-only side of things is working for Overwatch.”
On Bringing Overwatch To Switch Or Mobile:
Matthew Hawley: “I think it is one of those things that we constantly evaluate. Where technology is going; where the industry is going. There are challenges in running on the platforms that we’re not already on, otherwise we would probably already be on some of those other platforms. We’ll see where things go. Certainly, there is a huge number of people out there who have Nintendo Switch and mobile phones, but right now, the core development team is focused on supporting the live game.”
On More Story In Overwatch:
Matthew Hawley: “There is a ton of story that we want to tell and a ton of story that we are going to be telling. We really like not having to carry the full burden of having to explain the whole story in a highly competitive, high-action, 6v6 shooter. I think we get some story elements in the game that work really well, but we’re not going to be able to do something like The Last Bastion and tell that story within the context of a PvP shooter. Where it makes sense we’ll continue to explore and do stuff like that.”
On More Overwatch Heroes:
Aaron Keller: “There are still heroes on that list [of 50 that were pitched at the start of development] that we are excited about that we have not made yet. When we bring new people onto the team, they hear us talk about heroes as if they already exist, with their codename and everything like that, and they’re all heroes that we have been excited about for a long time. We just haven’t gotten the opportunity to make yet. There are a lot more ideas that we haven’t shipped than we have.”
On Potentially Removing Heroes Or Making Them Seasonal:
Aaron Keller: “It’s always a possibility, but it’s not something that we are currently discussing have happen in the near future. I think the only example, and it’s a very specific example of taking a hero out of the roster, is Symmetra not being in the finals of the Overwatch League. And that’s for completely different reasons. Each time we release a hero, we take this wait and see approach with the hero and with the meta; and if we need to react to something, if we feel like we get to that point where we do need to remove heroes, we’ll do it. But we’re not at that point right now.”