Jeff Kaplan Overwatch developer update

With the highly anticipated Overwatch 2 still mostly under wraps for now, Blizzard’s Overwatch development team hosted a large Ask Me Anything thread on the Overwatch subreddit. Among the over 4,700 comments were several revealing statements from Overwatch lead developer Jeff Kaplan.

The original post suggested devs would not be commenting on the future of the title. However, Kaplan actually did give Reddit a few clues as to where they might go. If it was all up to him, at least.

Jeff Kaplan prefers FPS over MOBA?

“My personal feeling is that I would like to see less barriers and cc and see the game trend slightly more in the fps direction than the moba direction,” Kaplan said. That came at the end of his long reply to Reddit user Companion_Kubu, who asked about the issue of “power creep.”

Community members have, in recent years, received huge attention for posts lamenting the direction in which Overwatch has evolved since it launched in 2016. The addition of several shield-using champions, and many more with “crowd control” (or CC) abilities like stuns or slows, has left behind some players who prefer precision FPS gameplay.

Others have more recently highlighted the amount of AoE heal in the game today. This can have a similar outcome, as it makes players who pick up mechanically-difficult DPS heroes feel less rewarded for their efforts. It can also limit the DPS pool to certain burst characters only.

The amount of heals added to the game also influenced the widely derided GOATS meta of last year. That meta saw tank and heal-heavy lineups dominate the game. Especially at the professional level, this made games quickly feel repetitive and not as exciting. Blizzard’s solution was to implement a 2-2-2 role queue, which was in itself a controversial move with players and fans.

Brigitte, one of the heroes often referenced when it comes to unpopular metas in Overwatch.

Valorant competition

Competition has only heated up for Blizzard’s title this year. Rival developer Riot Games released their take on the genre, Valorant, in mid-2020. Obvious comparisons were made between the two games, and some streamers even quit playing Overwatch to try out Valorant.

Barely any of the characters in Riot’s hero-based shooter have hard crowd control or damage abilities like in Overwatch. That gives it a more precision shooter feel, one more akin to Counter Strike than a MOBA like League of Legends.

Is this Jeff Kaplan and the Overwatch team signaling they might be taking the game in a more FPS-central direction? Who knows, but it’s certainly an interesting tease for the player base.

David Weir
Full time writer, mechanically poor but knowledgable gamer and philosophical poet monkey. Based in London, UK.