Overwatch Team Considering a Battle Royale Mode, But May Need a New Game to Make it Work

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Apr 3, 2018
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At this point, it’s almost assumed all online shooters are working on battle royale modes. Everybody is jealously side-eying Fortnite, which tossed out their quickly-developed battle royale mode and suddenly became the biggest game in the world. Given the superficial similarities between Fortnite and Overwatch, you can’t help but wonder what a Blizzard-developed battle royale game might look like.

So, could Overwatch Battle Royale happen? Kotaku put the question to Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan who confirmed his team are big PUBG fans and have seriously considered the possibility. Unfortunately, making it happen would require leaping a couple major hurdles – for starters, how do combine the battle royale genre with Overwatch’s focus on unique characters?

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“First and foremost, Overwatch is a game about heroes, and part of what makes the core loop work in a battle royale game is the search, the looting, and the fairness that everybody’s sort of equal. Overwatch wasn’t designed to be a 1v1. Every hero’s not balanced against every other hero.”

Sure, you could just toss the heroes out the window like Fortnite did with its classes, but Overwatch’s heroes are such an intrinsic part of its appeal. Overwatch with generic avatars isn’t really Overwatch. Another issue is scope — considering how long it takes Blizzard to make their cozy, compact Overwatch maps, a full-size PUBG map might kill them.

“I think there are also some technical challenges of large, open game spaces. Our primary engagement distance is usually around 15 to 40 meters. I don’t think people realize how tiny [our maps are]. Part of what makes Fortnite and PUBG so awesome is that you can have these really long engagement distances.”

Kaplan concludes that doing the battle royale thing right would probably mean venturing into “new game territory.” That’s certainly an interesting statement. Could Blizzard be considering making an original battle royale game? I absolutely wouldn’t put it past them.

What do you think? Could an Overwatch battle royale mode work? Would you be interested in an new PUBG-style game from Blizzard?

Overwatch is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The game’s big Overwatch Archives event is set to kick off next Tuesday (April 10).

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