Overwatch: Battle Royale, How It Would Make Sense (Opinion)
Overwatch is one of my favorite games of all time. I’ve put more hours into that game than any game in recent memory. It has loveable characters, locations, and more. Overwatch put the online hero shooter back in the forefront of gamers minds. It has a learning curve easy enough for beginners, but a depth of tactical strategy great for hard core fans, keeping the game fresh even 1000 hours in.
The game is now over 2 years old, and I’ve been thinking on an idea to inject some more immortality into the game. The hottest trend in todays gaming is the genre mode “battle royale”. PUBG stole the spotlight as THE game to play in 2017. Fortnite followed and has become a worldwide phenomenon in 2018. It has smashed so many records and has become a household name. Battle Royale has been such a game changer that even the heavy hitters Activistion and EA Dice have found success and necessity in including it in two of the largest franchises in gaming: Call of Duty and Battlefield.
(Overwatch Trailer - Source "PlayOverwatch" Youtube)
Battle Royale is here to stay, and frankly that’s ok. It was a new idea that sparked new interests and ideas even into annual repetitive franchises. I think I have an idea that I am sure has been thought of and discussed in the heart of Blizzard already:
Overwatch: Battle Royale.
Now many of you, and perhaps this is the struggling idea in Blizzard, Overwatch doesn’t “really” make sense for battle royale. You would be correct. That is because Overwatch is built on the idea of team composition and this check and balances style gameplay. All the characters have checks and balances with another. The game was not built for “death match” it is built for object capturing and strategy based modes over blind killing. Some characters are blatantly more powerful than others while others are meant to defend or support. Plus the maps are very small and games only have a max of 12 players. It is Hero focused with powers and unique abilities.
Now, Battle Royale on the other hand is very solo or small team focused. It lives on the premise of starting with nothing and having equal characters that acquire a variety of weapons. In many ways it is the polar opposite of a hero team shooter. It’s a nobody solo shooter.
How could Blizzard successfully integrate such a vastly different style into Overwatch, and more importantly, does it need to?
While, Overwatch’s popularity is still very high, which means it may not be necessary for the mode to be added. However, Blizzard is constantly adding to the game and looking for new things to add, so how could a new mode be a bad thing?
As to how they would pull it off, I have an idea. Overwatch is based on heroes with very specific attributes, powers, and weapons. I’d introduce a new character[s]. The character would be introduced as a seemingly simple avergae joe kind of guy. It would be introduced with an animated short of a character waking up in a talon lab. In the short, we learn Talon is experimenting with cloning. The new Character is called Subject X. He is one of many many clones and he is trapped in a huge lab. When he wakes up he finds himself dropped in a very large but mostly empty artificial environment. He has no armor, no weapons, and no powers. But he looks down on the ground and we see some iconic images. There is a shirt on the ground with D.Va’s bunny logo on it. There is Lucio’s Sound based weapon. He picks it up. He is soon attacked by a far distance. We see there are slightly different looking versions of Subject X, some look similar but are different in race and gender as they are variations on the cloning process.
This scenario would provide everything the game would need for an Overwatch Battle Royale Mode. The characters would be "generic" in that Subject Zero would have "skins" that change gender and ethnicity but the weapons, powers, clothing, would overwatch themed. The map could be an amalgamation of the existing maps into one large map, with the explanation that they are simulations in an artificial environement. Overwatch has a large assortment of weapons already, and it would provide an interesting gameplay variety if all those weapons were available on the ground. All the character abilities could be supplemented with power ups available on map. This all could be explained in lore as Talon using the simulation to study Overwatch members' weapons and abilities. This method would retain enough of the Overwatch feel and lore, while at the same time solving some of the limitations of the small maps and character focused gameplay. Imagine how fun it would be to run around a large map equiped with Widowmakers sniper rifle "Widow's Kiss", and finding Reinhardt's Rocket Hammer on the ground as well. Each Subject X could hold two main weapons and three powers. This type of mix and match gameplay is balanced by the nature of starting from zero in Battle Royale. We could perhap's even see vehicles used on the map. Perhaps the hover cars, or Mech suits like D.Va's mech could be used for traversal across the map. The Overwatch lore is so filled with cool locations, weapons, and abilities, it would be amazing to see it offered in a Battle Royale mode.