Overwatch has taken both the Esports and wider gaming world by storm since its release last May, quickly becoming amongst the most popular games available right now. Taking a look back at Blizzard’s incredibly fun fast-paced shooter, all the way back to its conception, shows an interesting ride, and also gives a little of an insight into how the game thrives as an Esport today, only a year after release.
Overwatch began life as an ambitious MMORPG named Titan, which according to Blizzard would not Replace World of Warcraft but stand alongside it. It’s in Titan’s setting that we can see the beginnings of Overwatch: set in a near-future version of Earth, with a very similar story and aesthetic style. Development began ten whole years ago, far before Overwatch was even a concept. For a number of reasons, Titan slowly fell apart, and six years later the MMO was scrapped. Though development of Overwatch began from the team that developed Titan, over 70% of the developers moved on to work on other things, one of which being Heroes of the Storm, another of Blizzards games with a dedicated Esports scene.
Only a few things survived from what was Titan when Blizzard began working on Overwatch; the near-future earth setting made it through, along with the pixar-esque graphics which we now consider a key part of why the game is so popular. Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s VP of story development, said there are also various parts of Overwatch that “have continuity” with Titan, such as maps or certain other story elements. Metzen also made sure to make it known that Overwatch and Titan are completely separate entities, and whatever was carried over only represents a tiny part of the full game.
The first Overwatch hero, Tracer, which is now probably the game’s most well-known character, came in-part from Titan; one class concept from the MMO was a character with very similar time-manipulation powers. Initial testing for the Overwatch, to see if the concept would work, was with Tracer and an extremely early version of Temple of Anubis. From this, they expanded on the concept and brought in Widowmaker, Reaper, and Pharah, and Overwatch slowly became the game we now know it as.
So, there you have it; the very beginnings of Overwatch. There will be more to come in this series of the History of Overwatch, so keep your eyes peeled for more in the coming days.