Technology

Is Overwatch Getting Battle Royale Mode? Probably Not

Battle Royale, Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch
kirahoffmann / Pixabay

Battle Royale mode has worked wonders for titles like PUBG and Fortnite. So, Overwatch fans were also expecting Activision Blizzard to add one such mode at some point in time. However, it appears that it is not going to happen anytime soon as hinted by the game director, Jeff Kaplan.

Talking to Kotaku, Kaplan said that the idea of Hunger Games-style mode is captivating, but getting it right is a huge task. “A lot of times when I hear some of our fans pitch it, they’re like ‘Oh, just put a card in the Arcade one day that’s a battle royale mode,’ and I’m like ‘Fuck, that would be awesome,'” he said. “But there’s a lot of design and tech work to get us to that place and not just feel like a me-too game.”

Kaplan explained there is an underlying difference between Overwatch and other games. The former is “first and foremost” a game about heroes and their balance is one reason why a battle royale might not be a feasible idea for the game. Other battle royale games are about the search, the looting and the fairness that everybody is equal. However, in Overwatch, every hero is different and not equal.

According to Kaplan, Overwatch maps are small compared to those of PUBG and Fortnite. So there would be some technical challenges of large, open game spaces. “Our primary engagement distance is usually around 15 to 40 meters. The Hanamura dojo point B is 45 meters across,” he said, adding that people do not realize how much less space that is. Long engagement distances contribute immensely to the success of titles like PUBG and Fortnite, Kaplan said.

After PUBG fever gripped players across the world, titles like Fortnite, Dying Light and Crytek’s Warface added the mode in their game. Although PUBG is not the one who invented the idea of abandoning 100 people on an island and pitching one against another till the last man was standing, the concept became widely popular with the arrival of the title. Then Fortnite introduced the mode in a very short span.

Kaplan’s thoughts about the battle royal mode are similar to Take-Two President, Strauss Zelnick. He said that he is watching the space with great interest, but would want his studios to create something of their own rather than following a trend, according to GameSpot.

Meanwhile, Overwatch makers are focused on the next Uprising event with Kaplan releasing a new developer update. Kaplan was joined by Tim Ford, Blizzard’s lead software engineer, to talk about Overwatch’s upcoming event. Both of the executives assured that the Uprising event would bear a close resemblance to last year’s event, but is titled Overwatch Archives. Players, however, can play both of the modes.

In the Uprising story mode, players can take on Omnics, who is trying to destroy King’s Row. And, in All-Heroes Mode, players can play as any superhero. Other than the two modes that were also part of the previous year uprising, Archives will offer new features to players to up the engagement quotient of the event. Uprising was Overwatch’s first real PvE game type after defend the gate mission for Junkenstein around Halloween.

Kaplan stated that the new title of the event comes from the fact that there are “a lot of cool moments in Overwatch history” and “by going into the archives [players] can relive those moments.” And, Uprising is just one part of that. So, it means that more content and more “part of the event” would be revealed later.

“Some of you who paid really close attention last year to the loot box, you’ll notice that it used to say ‘Archives’ on that loot box,” Kaplan says. Kaplan noted that the upcoming event will contain all of the content from the Old Uprising event in addition to new stuff such as “a skin for your favorite Shimada brother.” Kaplan also hinted of a new game mode, but shared no details of it.

In the weeks before the event kicks in, Blizzard will come up with more details including a “very special day” on Wednesday during the Overwatch League broadcast, which will include a new video. Recently, Blizzard came up with a new feature allowing players to avoid other teammates.