If Jeff Kaplan were as transparent in real life as he is on the internet, the man would be invisible.
He took to the Overwatch forums today to outline Blizzard’s current plans for the game until early next year. Kaplan avoids mentioning specifics, especially timetables, since he’s all too aware of how plans can change, and how hard it is for mobs to understand change.
As you’d expect, there are more heroes and more maps in Overwatch’s future, many of which are quite far along. Others are still in the prototyping stage and may never see the light of day. One specific map is nearing completion, and is currently in the hands of the art team while they make it shine, so I’d expect that to come out sometime this summer. I would expect we’ll see our first new hero (who is likely to be Sombra) at about the same time. Blizzard’s never had the fastest content turnaround (mostly because of how polished they strive for everything to be), but if they can pull off one new hero and map per month, then that would be awesome.
Competitive play is also well on its way and is currently the team’s main focus. It’s being playtested regularly, and they’re considering doing a public test realm to put it through the ringer prior to release. The mode is also expected to be iterated on quite a lot during the first couple seasons. Kaplan doesn’t expect the team to properly predict how everything will function once millions of players are playing the mode.
Overwatch has been a smash hit, and recently Blizzard announced that the game was 10 million strong.
It’s nice to see the game so successful for Blizzard, because it really is that fun. More than that, though, the level of transparency shown by Kaplan and the rest of the team is super refreshing. I remember a time when it seemed like getting concrete details from Blizzard (or any other game developer for that matter) was like pulling teeth. Most companies out there don’t want to admit something exists until it’s ready to be shown and released. I still think we’re a ways away from the Overwatch team actually showing off works in progress, but it’s nice to know there are works, and to have some specific details about how far along they are in progress.