Reflection ♯10: Overwatch

Overwatch (Blizzard, 2016) is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment. I played it on PC but it was also released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It has very good playability with considerable and growing list of available characters. Its playing system have a very high and smooth curve of progress that gives good times to both, casual and hardcore players. In general the game is very polished and it has been a great success on the genre.
I have chosen to make an overview of this game due to the amount of references about Blizzard and others’ videogames that it has, linking this fact to one of the topics of the article I chose for my critical analysis, nostalgia.

First of all, it shares the game mechanics with the famous Team Fortress 2 (Valve, 2007) which was a great success and it is still played by a huge amount of players. Also, there are others elements inside the game, like the character selection screen with illustration of the character’s faces which portraits reminds character selection menu from fighting videogames like The King of Fighters (SNK, 1994). Moreover, inside the maps we found lots of references to other videogames, videogame’s culture and others Blizzard’s games. There is a map where we find an arcade full of machines as initial point, each one of them with references to blizzard’s characters in videogames that look like Metal Slug (Nazca Corporation, 1996) a classic space battle game like Halley Wars (ITL, 1991), Golden Axe (Sega, 1989), Arcanoid (Taito, 1986) and Street Fighter II (Capcom, 1987).  There are character’s designs that also have lots of references from videogames community, like D.Va which personality and phrases are related to videogames behaviour and jokes. Moreover, she wears a jumpsuit with Brand logos that remembers Professional Videogame players. There are even a direct reference to the Dark Souls’ Bonefire (FromSoftware, 2011).There are also gaming mechanics, like Soldier 76 or Widowmaker’s ultimate, which design have had inspiration on videogame’s cheaters behaviour like auto-aim or to seeing through walls.

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Another thing that I found interesting about the videogame is the animation of the characters and their design. Are very well characterised, the aesthetic have its own style and the animations are smooth and very fluid. It seems that they used a type of rigging that allows squash, stretch and deformation of character’s bones which allows a closer approach to how classic cartoons are animated.

Video from Youtube made by InorashiLoL (2016) about Overwatch’s Character deformations:

Conclusion

This game is so packed with Videogame and media references that I could continue adding examples for pages. As the article I read for my critical analysis say, it is obvious that part of the appealing of Overwatch is the use of references from other nostalgic videogames, thing that, at the least brings a smile to old gamer’s faces. The use of other videogame media or videogame world’s facts as references may bring appealing ideas to the design of characters creating new mechanics or concepts in some cases which can benefit the game as a whole. It is interesting to have this in mind when I am creating characters and environment designs so they will look more appealing to players. Also, it would be interesting to look how to make and use the type of rigging used in Overwatch which allows character deformation.

Bibliography

Overwatch (n.d.) [Online]. Available from: <https://playoverwatch.com/es-es/ > [Accessed 13/12/2016].

Overwatch Wiki (n.d.) Easter Eggs [Online]. Overwatch Wiki. Available from: <http://overwatch.gamepedia.com/Easter_eggs > [Accessed 13/12/2016].

PCGamesN (n.d.) Overwatch Easter Eggs – StarCraft, WoW and More [Online]. PCGamesN. Available from: <http://www.pcgamesn.com/overwatch/overwatch-easter-eggs > [Accessed 13/12/2016].

InorashiLoL (n.d.) I Have Seen The Face of Death [Online video]. Available from: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OMGog_W-2c > [Accessed 13/12/2016].

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