How Blizzard Turned A Costly Failure Into Overwatch

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This guy better hope Overwatch is a huge success because two huge flops in a row could be a career ender.

But Blizzard didn't fire him. It didn't demote him. Instead, the Irvine company put him in charge of another huge project. This one, called "Overwatch," is due for release this spring. It's an unusual new shooter game, with bright, natural settings and wide-eyed, emotive characters in a genre known more for militaristic virtual venues. It also veers from the cliched lone gunman to make team-based play integral.
 

Zion Halcyon

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"Blizzard epitomizes the overused but always important proverb that "failure is learning," said John Smedley, former chief executive of Sony Corp.'s online gaming unit. "'Overwatch' is a truly revolutionary game for the first-person shooter genre, and the foundation of Titan is exactly what led them there.""

Tells me all I need to know. John Smedley was in charge of the shit-show that was SWG. And while I won't overglorify that game like most vets (the game was one of the most awesome sandbox environments, but once you get past the systems, you got the feeling you were just playing Star Wars dress up Barbie with no story to suck you in, which is the real reason it failed miserably), I know enough that him and Raph Koster horribly mismanaged that game, and even the dev teams who replaced the original team bitched that more time should have been spent on story and gameplay than on a bajillion emotes.

If this thing is run by Smed, it's going to fail.
 

nomu

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"Blizzard epitomizes the overused but always important proverb that "failure is learning," said John Smedley, former chief executive of Sony Corp.'s online gaming unit. "'Overwatch' is a truly revolutionary game for the first-person shooter genre, and the foundation of Titan is exactly what led them there.""

Tells me all I need to know. John Smedley was in charge of the shit-show that was SWG. And while I won't overglorify that game like most vets (the game was one of the most awesome sandbox environments, but once you get past the systems, you got the feeling you were just playing Star Wars dress up Barbie with no story to suck you in, which is the real reason it failed miserably), I know enough that him and Raph Koster horribly mismanaged that game, and even the dev teams who replaced the original team bitched that more time should have been spent on story and gameplay than on a bajillion emotes.

If this thing is run by Smed, it's going to fail.

It's not though, so all that can be safely ignored.
 

Budzman

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Can't stand the characters and art work in that game. It's like aimed towards 12 years olds.
 

Comixbooks

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The artwork keeps getting slicker and slicker like the hot new comic book artists in town unless you do it right like Borderlands 1 which just had a good original lines clean look to the game that wasn't over the top trying to meld with the latest and greatest.
 

M76

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The artwork keeps getting slicker and slicker like the hot new comic book artists in town unless you do it right like Borderlands 1 which just had a good original lines clean look to the game that wasn't over the top trying to meld with the latest and greatest.

Borderlines 1 was originally not meant to be the cell shaded cartoon that it was. It was going to be a truly amazing game, then some dipshit turned it into my worst nightmare with a stroke of a pen.
 

Quix

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Borderlines 1 was originally not meant to be the cell shaded cartoon that it was. It was going to be a truly amazing game, then some dipshit turned it into my worst nightmare with a stroke of a pen.

Or alternately gave it the unique visual style that propelled it to success. Borderlands was an unqualified success, so arguing that it was a bad idea to change the art direction comes out a bit silly.
 

necrosis

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Borderlines 1 was originally not meant to be the cell shaded cartoon that it was. It was going to be a truly amazing game, then some dipshit turned it into my worst nightmare with a stroke of a pen.
I remember reading somewhere it was changed because it looked like every other game out there.
 

Darunion

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Borderlines 1 was originally not meant to be the cell shaded cartoon that it was. It was going to be a truly amazing game, then some dipshit turned it into my worst nightmare with a stroke of a pen.

Had it just looked like any other FPS I probably would have just passed over it. As it stands that series of games always keeps pulling me back (except pre-sequel, that one would have been fun for me but the moon oxygen thing irritates me).
 

Comixbooks

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They have a containing line they call in with comic book art which separates forms from mass and tangents and shapes. People call it cell Shaded I think Wind Waker was Cell shaded but Borderlands really isn't

Dark Souls on the other had just piles in tons of textures and hopes for the best =)
 

DukenukemX

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Meanwhile Blizzards World of Warcraft is failing slowly cause the game is gated as hell and has no content. They need to dump the subscription model cause I'm not logging in everyday to do 10 minutes worth of daily quests only to do it again every day just to get the privilege to fly in the game after one month. Skill doesn't matter in WoW, and is actually punished. Time put in the game is rewarded, not skill. So stupid.
 

Aix.

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You mean the TF2 ripoff?

Valve doesn't seem too interested in replacing or improving TF2, so it doesn't surprise me that someone else is trying to do so.

Played Overwatch during the server test weekend and it was fun as fuck; definitely didn't feel like a TF2 ripoff, but it did appeal to me in the same way that TF2 does.
 

lilbabycat

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My theory (which is totally correct)
Diablo 3's RMAH was a test for what would have gone into Titan.
Titan was already having issues (aka Blizz lost all their good talent a decade ago)
The backlash from the RMAH was so huge and the other issues with Titan so big, that the higher ups finally canned it.
The article picks up from there and explain how they took a bunch of the assets and created Overwatch. But don't think that some version of the RMAH won't return, it will.
 

DukenukemX

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My theory (which is totally correct)
Diablo 3's RMAH was a test for what would have gone into Titan.
Titan was already having issues (aka Blizz lost all their good talent a decade ago)
The backlash from the RMAH was so huge and the other issues with Titan so big, that the higher ups finally canned it.
The article picks up from there and explain how they took a bunch of the assets and created Overwatch. But don't think that some version of the RMAH won't return, it will.

OverWatch was suppose to be a First Person Shooter MMO like Destiny. By the time the game was getting close to being finished, the MMO market went sour. Lets be honest here, no other game except WoW has been successful in the MMO market. By successful, I mean being able to continue to charge a monthly subscription fee. But most games end up going Free To Play because otherwise nobody would buy their stupid game.

So Blizzard took what's left of OverWatch and made it into a TeamFortress clone. You can tell what classes in OverWatch would have been the tank or the healer or dps. The holy trinity is right there in the game. But unlike TF2 it will cost you $60 plus whatever crap you can buy in their online store to customize your character.

Let me just say that currently the MMO business model is a failure. It cannot work. You can't expect people to constantly pay a subscription to play a game that has content that is essentially really crappy single player busy work. You need real content like Witcher 3 or Fallout 4 has, and that's not something you can pump out every few months. Making a quest that explains everything in text and has you move to one meat grind location to another is something a 10 year old can produce in 5 minutes.

Someone needs to reinvent what an MMO should be like, cause right now it's just a way to make more money for less game. OverWatch is just moving over to the idea of In Game Purchases, which is the next new evil of gaming.
8dxu8.jpg
 

Stiler

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OverWatch was suppose to be a First Person Shooter MMO like Destiny. By the time the game was getting close to being finished, the MMO market went sour. Lets be honest here, no other game except WoW has been successful in the MMO market. By successful, I mean being able to continue to charge a monthly subscription fee. But most games end up going Free To Play because otherwise nobody would buy their stupid game.

So Blizzard took what's left of OverWatch and made it into a TeamFortress clone. You can tell what classes in OverWatch would have been the tank or the healer or dps. The holy trinity is right there in the game. But unlike TF2 it will cost you $60 plus whatever crap you can buy in their online store to customize your character.

Let me just say that currently the MMO business model is a failure. It cannot work. You can't expect people to constantly pay a subscription to play a game that has content that is essentially really crappy single player busy work. You need real content like Witcher 3 or Fallout 4 has, and that's not something you can pump out every few months. Making a quest that explains everything in text and has you move to one meat grind location to another is something a 10 year old can produce in 5 minutes.

Someone needs to reinvent what an MMO should be like, cause right now it's just a way to make more money for less game. OverWatch is just moving over to the idea of In Game Purchases, which is the next new evil of gaming.
8dxu8.jpg



While I agree with you in terms of needing someone to "reinvent" what an MMO means and think the MMO market has gotten really really stale and boring, there's still games like Eve and mmo's before WoW that were considered successful like EQ/AC/DAOC, etc.

WoW is the exception of the mmo "successes" and is not a good example of what the normal "success" of the genre is like, no game is going to dethrone it or come close to it outside of maybe WoW 2, but Blizzard really has no need to make a new mmo when they can simply pump out yearly expanions and charge the price of new games.
 

lilbabycat

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DAoC was my favorite, with UO a close second.

WAR would have replaced DAoC, it had very decent graphics, good lore, good questing, but god damn did they fuck up the RvR. Collision on friendlies but not enemies. Two factions instead of three. Flag Capping giving more rep than actual PvP'ing. Randomized + Broken rewards for sieges. Then they tried to" fix" it and did the opposite that veterans of the game (and DAoC) suggested. Pisses me off just thinking about it.
 

hkcavalier

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"Blizzard epitomizes the overused but always important proverb that "failure is learning," said John Smedley, former chief executive of Sony Corp.'s online gaming unit. "'Overwatch' is a truly revolutionary game for the first-person shooter genre, and the foundation of Titan is exactly what led them there.""

Tells me all I need to know. John Smedley was in charge of the shit-show that was SWG. And while I won't overglorify that game like most vets (the game was one of the most awesome sandbox environments, but once you get past the systems, you got the feeling you were just playing Star Wars dress up Barbie with no story to suck you in, which is the real reason it failed miserably), I know enough that him and Raph Koster horribly mismanaged that game, and even the dev teams who replaced the original team bitched that more time should have been spent on story and gameplay than on a bajillion emotes.

If this thing is run by Smed, it's going to fail.

I was a beta tester for SWG. Thought it was pretty great actually. Then it released in the summer and was quickly dominated by 14 year olds who had no responsibilities and could play all day while 20 something me had a job and occasionally wished to engage in the ritualistic act of dating the opposite sex. For me, that was what killed SWG, though the lack of an overarching goal/story was bad too...it should have been set pre Episode 1 so we at least could have wondered what the heck would happen next. No possibility of any plot creep when it's smack dab in the middle of Episodes 4-6.
 

cinnamonandgravy

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its like blizzard is forever chasing that initial high it got during the first couple years of WoW.

someone needs to send it to rehab.
 

RAMPAGEOH

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Blizzard has not been the same since Vivendi bought it and changed from being a game company to being a money making company. WoW was a great success as a money maker and it influenced everything Blizzard tried to do thereafter. The passion has left their games and they are clueless as to the reason.

I sampled a couple of Blizzard games (wow 1 week, D3 3 hours) since Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction and Star Craft but Blizzard has not gotten a dime of my money since those games were released. The glory days of Blizzard as a leading game developer and innovator are behind them. RIP.
 

DukenukemX

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While I agree with you in terms of needing someone to "reinvent" what an MMO means and think the MMO market has gotten really really stale and boring, there's still games like Eve and mmo's before WoW that were considered successful like EQ/AC/DAOC, etc.
Successful is subjective. Everquest is another MMO that was considered successful and it had at best 450,000 subscriptions in 2003. That's the best it has ever done. WoW has less than 6 million and everyone is claiming doom and gloom.

The MMO market is stale because 99% of the content is busy work, with no real substance. For that kind of gameplay where you pay a monthly subscription, it doesn't make sense to continue to play them. But this is mainly due to the subscription model, where you force players to pay, which influences game mechanics.

To give you an example, you kill a boss and can't get loot again until next week. Gotta wait 14 days to see what happens to this piece of fruit when it ripens. Takes 24 hours for a garrison mission to complete. BTW all real bullshit you see in WoW. It's gated as hell for the purpose to keep you around and continue playing. Which is probably the reason so many people are sick of WoW.
WoW is the exception of the mmo "successes" and is not a good example of what the normal "success" of the genre is like, no game is going to dethrone it or come close to it outside of maybe WoW 2, but Blizzard really has no need to make a new mmo when they can simply pump out yearly expanions and charge the price of new games.
WoW is the standard for any MMO. The problem with OverWatch was that you can't keep players playing both WoW and OverWatch. When they released Diablo 3 they begged players to continue paying their subscription by promising them a free copy with 1 years worth of WoW subscription. So Blizzard had a problem where they can't make another MMO without losing their other MMO subscription income. It was obviously too risky and why the project was canned.

So far Guild Wars has the right idea in how to make a MMO, in that they don't charge you a subscription. Even their game is free without the expansion now. Of course the game had no end game content and like most MMO's it's fully of busy work quests. That's why there needs to be a MMO with the same model as Guild Wars but with quests of the same quality of that of Fallout 4 or WItcher 3. The main reason of doing this is getting players to purchase in game crap that hopefully doesn't effect gameplay, though Blizzard already does this with WoW. That and new expansions should be far cheaper to make then making another game from scratch. Does anyone realize how cheap the development must be for Blizzard to reuse the same models, textures, and environments in their expansions? Took them how many years to update the player models?
 
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