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Developer Year In Review Looks Back, Forward to 2017

by - 2 years ago

Ever-humble Team 4 Game Director Jeff Kaplan signed on for another dev update video, this time running down a review of how the first year of Overwatch in the wild has played out, as well as going into some preview mode of what’ll be happening with the game in 2017.

Review points:

  • Lots of iteration on the game as a result of the beta, especially on competitive mode.
  • Ana and Sombra were both released; Ana came in a little underpowered, but Team 4 reacted too quickly to iterating on her, since it may have just been that the community hadn’t gotten used to her quite yet.
  • Consequently, Sombra is not in a perfect spot yet balance-wise, but Team 4 doesn’t want to run the risk of doing with her what they did with Ana, so iteration might be a bit slower.
  • Eichenwalde has been a great success as a new map.
  • Seasonal events have also been awesome.

Coming up in 2017:

  • Oasis is still slated for very early 2017 release.
  • New seasonal events are definitely in the offing, some expected, some unexpected.
  • Communication wheel customizations will bring in add’l voicelines and emotes. Also custom bindings for emotes.
  • Sprays: a spray wheel will let you choose from up to four sprays at a time, though you can only have one deployed at a time.
  • New button will be added to encourage parties to join team chat instead of forcing it.
  • New heroes are at various stages of design; one in particular is in the art pipeline.
  • New maps are also in constant design.
  • The arcade is a great testing ground for new concepts without impacting quick play or competitive.
  • Server browser will let you find custom maps that are already online.

So strictly speaking, while Kaplan offers a lot of caveats about new content coming in the future, it sounds like the team doesn’t plan to rest; in addition to stuff like new heroes and maps, a lot of other QoL improvements to the game are in the pipeline. This bodes pretty well for the game’s future, all things considered.

As more stuff happens with Team 4, stay tuned here. We’ll keep you in the loop.


Bringing bad news from the burning western wastes of Arizona since 2013, Crow is also a dad, guild officer, game designer, and sci-fi/fantasy author. Follow him @unlimitedblack for memes, pictures of his kid, and occasional design insights.