The Rise and Fall of Overwatch

Robert Espinoza, Feature Staff Writer

The Beginning…

In the autumn of 2014, video game company Blizzard Entertainment announced an upcoming team based, first person shooter – Overwatch – during their annual gaming convention Blizzcon. A playable build of the game was made available to all attendees during the event. Blizzard released a cinematic trailer, and an extended gameplay trailer for the game as well. 

Fans reacted positively. Many were excited to see what Blizzard would bring to its player base in this new team based multiplayer game. The creation of Overwatch started when Blizzard canceled the development of Titan, another upcoming online role playing game. Most of the ‘Titan’ development team went to different projects. The remaining team members, led by lead director Jeff Kaplan, came up with the idea for Overwatch. 

Before it’s release , Overwatch’s pre-launch attention was far past what Blizzard had initially expected, attracting about 9.7 million players during its open beta. 

On May 24th 2016, Overwatch launched with a total of 7 million players playing within the first week of release. And gaining a player base of 30 million players within the first year of release. The game received “universal acclaim” from many game critics and reviewers.

Many fans expressed their love for the game, claiming its friendliness to both new and veteran players of the online shooter genre, and it’s “strong online experience that gets you into games quickly and reliably,” as Andrew Wester from The Verge described it. 

As the love for the game grew, so did its development. With each and every update, new changes were made: New characters, balance changes, and special events that gave players a chance to earn special items for a limited amount of time. 

The game’s popularity stayed strong for years. But in last few years of its life, the game would under go major changes. For starts, a sequel to the first Overwatch game was announced, creatively named ‘Overwatch 2’, on November 1st, 2019 during Blizzcon. A few months after Overwatch 2’s announcement, Jeff Kaplan announced on April 20th, 2021 that he would be leaving the company after 19 years for reasons unknown. A new lead director would soon after take his place. That person being Aaron Keller.

Soon after the announcement of Jeff Kaplan’s departure and Aaron Keller’s promotion. An developer update video was released on Overwatch’s official youtube channel with Aaran Keller telling everyone about the future of the game.