I love Overwatch.
Barring Phantasy Star Online (and it’s expansions), it’s the most played game in my personal history. I have thousands of hours logged in it. On the PC, on the Xbox or on the Playstation consoles. We don’t talk about the crappy Nintendo Switch version.
Hell, I’m queueing on the Xbox version right now as I’m writing this.
With the sequel just concluding its first Closed Beta test, you’d think that Blizzard would be stoking the hype by keeping Overwatch in the zeitgeist by shoving in content to the original. After all, there’s no better press than word of mouth!
That isn’t happening.
It’s a slap to the face of every Overwatch fan. It’s also very puzzling. Why isn’t there more of a push to get the Overwatch hype machine moving again? The series used to be a pop culture phenomenon! It had comics, it had fanart and cosplayers…it had porn!
It all went downhill fast right after Jeff Kaplan left.
Under his stewardship, Overwatch slowly grew from strength to strength. Once he went, so did the vitality of the series. No new characters. No new maps. No new nothing for past couple of years and recycled events galore.
Currently, Overwatch fans are getting treated to an unsatisfying ‘event’ called the Overwatch Anniversary Remix Vol. 2. I use the term in the loosest possible way because there is nothing even remotely eventful about this.
It’s just a way to churn out simply recoloured versions of skins that are already in the game.
It’s technically new content, but in the laziest form it can take.
Why not use this time to build hype for Overwatch 2 with skins or even sprays that reference that game? Update the visuals and add in posters or whatever to hype up the upcoming sequel.
Unless plans have somehow changed (and they could have), Overwatch unlocks supposedly carry over to the sequel. So what’s the issue with doling out some stuff that people can bring over to the next game when it hits?
How hard is it to assign a couple of people to create regular content drops for a game while the rest work on sequel?
You don’t need programmers, just artists working on new sprays or skins. Hell, you might even get them working on new lore videos just to keep the hunger alive!
In fact, you don’t even need artists if you want to do new sound clips!
The voice actors must have recorded new lines for the sequel…so why couldn’t some forethought be applied and have them record some lines for event drops too?!
Even in other media, Blizzard has dropped the ball.
There are no lore videos that have come out in recent memory. The drip of new worldbuilding materials has basically dried up. Overwatch’s world is basically frozen in time now with no new comics, artbooks or anything remotely meaningful scheduled to come out soon.
It’s understandable that the boatload of new content should come with the sequel, but other companies have managed to pump out chunky content with current games while toiling away on their successors.
Just take a look at Ubisoft with their Rainbow Six games.
While maintaining Rainbow Six Siege (which is still going strong by the way) with regular content drops, the company still has time to work on Rainbow Six Extraction, which can be argued is a PVE expansion to Siege. Now it’s maintaining two Rainbow Six live service games (while also running multiple other live service games).
Yet Blizzard, with all the resources of Activision and Blizzard at its back, struggles to maintain even basic tokenism for its remaining fans who still hang around for Overwatch. It can’t even meaningfully maintain one game while working on the sequel, which has been delayed so long and so many times that it’s no longer funny.
The Overwatch 2 beta’s shown that Blizzard has still a long road ahead, with all the balancing and changes need to be done.
What happens when Overwatch 2 is out then? Will Overwatch be dropped like a hot potato, its dwindling players left out in the cold? Blizzard’s said otherwise, that they’ll cater to both games’ players but I have zero trust in Blizzard’s ability to concurrently maintain two games in the series at the rate it’s been going. It can’t even maintain one!
It’s ironic but Overwatch’s dearth of support is nothing new to Blizzard.
It’s this lax approach to catering to the community that killed off Heroes of the Storm way before it’s time. Instead of learning from that fiasco, it seems like the company’s doomed to repeat it all over again with one of their biggest properties.
Sigh…maybe you guys at Blizzard should just hire me to run the Overwatch stuff.
I mean I can’t be doing any worse than what’s going on right now.