Blizzcon 2015: Blizzard Doubles-Down on Consoles

By – Trevor Shanahan

Blizzcon 2015 had a lot to offer to a lot of people.  Blizzard has a lot of active titles currently, and bringing Overwatch into the mix broadens the company’s array of game offerings to include a new genre; FPS.  The biggest revolving around Overwatch for me came from the mouth of game director Jeff Kaplan.  According to Kaplan, Overwatch was always intended to be a console title (as well as PC).  Diablo III reinvigorated consumer and critic confidence in Blizzard’s console prowess, having had some missteps in their history with console ports (Starcraft and Diablo).  Now, along with the successful and acclaimed Diablo III console port, Xbox One and PS4 are going to get Overwatch; continuing to expand Blizzard’s influence beyond the PC and into a much broader market.

downonconsoles2

downonconsoles3

Some fresh hero announcements; meet Genji and DVa.

 

Drew Martz, a fellow blogger and eSports enthusiast for the site, has noted Overwatch is getting considerable attention from the eSports community despite being unreleased.  I think the attention and cross-platform release tell you everything.  Blizzard is not at all unfamiliar with the eSport community or the marketable advantages of a title that can offer both casual and competitive components (Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, etc.).  Blizzard’s eSport hopes manifest in Overwatch gameplay; players can switch heroes mid-match – a system born out of player concerns that character choices needed to be synergistic (a MOBA staple) due to various roles (tank, support, DPS, etc.).  The character swapping mechanic is also tied to Overwatch’s retail release versus rumors of a possible free-to-play format.  Most iterations (save a PC-only $40 option) provide all 21 currently available heroes.  This will allow players to experiment, perfect, and complement one another with the full roster – mitigating the chances of an unintended team of all tanks to enter the fray.

downonconsoles4 downonconsoles5

PS4 Origins and Collectors editions; $59.99 and $129.99 respectively. (I chose PS4 randomly, there are also PC and Xbox One versions.)

 

Despite some launch issues (World of Warcraft, Diablo III PC) and occasional bumps along Game Development Road, Blizzard stands as a beacon of persistent and ever-improving quality.  If you watch the documentary on Hulu called “Looking for Group,” Blizzard’s employees echo their founders’ intentions of making the games they want to play; Overwatch looks to meet this rubric.  With so much happening within the branching FPS genre next year, it will be interesting to see how Overwatch continues to develop and market itself.

 

Continue to watch Overwatch.

 

ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.