It is fairly well-known that some of 2016’s Overwatch was derived from the remnants of Blizzard Entertainment’s failed Project Titan, but game director Jeff Kaplan recently offered to discuss specifically what in Overwatch came out of the cancelled MMO.
During a recent Reddit AMA, Kaplan broke down some of the development of Titan, which began in 2007 and ran all the way until May 2013. One of the gameplay features discussed was a class called the “Jumper,” a character idea that set the stage for the Overwatch hero Tracer.
“Titan was a class-based shooter/MMO and one of the classes was called the Jumper,” Kaplan said. “The Jumper wasn’t a specific character but rather an avatar (like Warrior in WoW). Most of the concepts of the Jumper were male… we did some female ones as well. The playable version in the game was male.”
According to Kaplan, most of Tracer’s current build comes from ideas used in the Jumper character.
“Blink, Recall and Pulse bomb were all designed for the Jumper… as well as dual-wielding machine pistols (at the time I was playing tons of [Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2] and my loadout was M16 primary/G18s secondary… the Jumper guns were my G18s). But because Titan was an MMO the Jumper started getting tons of progression abilities… you know covering a whole level up system… so the jumper got shotguns, and knockbacks etc… it was very cluttered and confused.”
Project Titan‘s cancellation left the development team with only six weeks to come up with a new, viable idea. Failing to do so would leave the team to redirect efforts into active projects at the time like World of Warcraft and Diablo III. Luckily, many left-over character designs from Titan and the premise of a class-based MMO gave the team the inspiration they needed to conceptualize Overwatch.
Tracer was one of the few heroes who was most directly translated into Overwatch from Titan, but generally, Titan classes were only base templates for many heroes we now see in Overwatch. “When we simplified for OW, we chose only the abilities that worked well together and then created a HERO rather than a class.”
Tracer wasn’t exactly the hero at the beginning that she is now, however, considering she shot laser beams from her eyes before she had any guns or animations.
“Tracer had a personality, an origin etc. That’s what made her work.” Kaplan explained. “Tracer had elements of the Jumper. Reaper was Reaper (he did have a crossbow at one point in Titan). Widowmaker evolved from a class called the Ranger. Bastion also evolved from the Ranger. Soldier 76 evolved from the Ranger. Symmetra and Torbjorn evolved from the Architect. Reinhardt evolved from the Juggernaut, although he is completely different… just the idea of ‘big guy with shield’ is all that stuck. Genji/Hanzo evolved from the Assassin.”
Kaplan also acknowledged the similarities fans have drawn between Overwatch and Valve’s popular class-based shooter, Team Fortress 2. These similarities reportedly had a significant effect on Overwatch‘s reveal, as Kaplan planned to exceed both the map number and character count of Team Fortress 2 in order to set Overwatch in a league of its own.
In other Overwatch news, the hero shooter’s next combatant is about to officially join the ranks.
Source: Reddit r/Overwatch