“If we think about what we imagine Overwatch can be,” Brack told The Telegraph at BlizzCon. “We think that what you know as Overwatch, the game, is a very small part of that. We’ve started to expand the Overwatch IP with different kind of shorts, different kinds of cinematics, comics that have started to flesh out that IP. But we feel like the IP is enormous and could contain lots of different stories, lots of different games, lots of different game genres even within that Overwatch IP.”
Despite Overwatch as we know it being a multiplayer only shooter, in which teams pick from a selection of uniquely skilled characters to compete on different maps, the exuberant and diverse design of the characters has brought a sense of personality and lore to the game. Overwatch’s backdrop of a futuristic war between humanity and the Omnic machine race has been explored in comic books and animated shorts, such as the one used to reveal new character Ashe below, since the game’s release in 2016.
Brack said that as well as bringing new games and genres to Overwatch and other Blizzard IP, the game’s universe could be explored in other ways. Duncan Jones recently directed a Warcraft movie and there is reportedly a Netflix series based on Blizzard’s fantasy RPG Diablo coming soon, would Blizzard be interested in something similar for Overwatch?
“Absolutely,” says Brack. “If you think about the aspiration a lot of us have. And this is part of the motivation in doing the Warcraft movie. How do we help our characters, our stories and our lore live outside of the games and become bigger than what they are. What’s the right sort of method to have different way for fans and people who are excited about different game characters to engage.”
Brack also revealed that Overwatch could have been a free-to-play game on release. “We talked about it,” he said “There was a time before release that Overwatch might be a free to play and we talked about different ways to consider that.”
“But we wanted people to have the entire roster of Heroes. And it was really important as part of the counters and the counter-counters of the heroes that to restrict it down and say if you are a free player you only have three heroes or whatever; we felt that would be very disruptive to the game and very disruptive to the fun. We ended up with having a boxed model and then we have a whole bunch of cosmetics that people can engage with if they want, or not.”
With Overwatch now established, however, Brack said that Blizzard are always looking at how the business models for its new and existing games work. “Will we talk about different models for Overwatch? We will,” he said. “And will things change over time? Potentially. Its something you look at on a regular basis and you think about what’s right for the game, what’s right for the existing players and where is the market going.”