Overwatch 2’s Canceled PvE Mode Was To Help Create An Overwatch MMO

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Story Highlights

  • Overwatch 2 director, Aaron Keller, talked about the recent PvE cancelation in detail and why it was a step towards turning Overwatch 2 into an MMO.
  • Keller talked about the canceled project at Blizzard, called Project Titan, and how the team behind it remained an MMO development team at its core working on Overwatch.
  • Furthermore, he revealed the “crawl, walk, and run” plan, according to which Overwatch was the “crawl,” the dedicated PvE mode was the “walk,” while the MMO was the “run.”
  • Overwatch 2 will now escape the shadows of Project Titan and continue as an experience deserving the full attention of its developers. 

Overwatch 2 director, Aaron Keller, shed some light on how Overwatch was always a project planned to turn into an MMO eventually. The team’s plan consisted of several gradual steps, the most important of which was called “crawl, walk, and run.” Overwatch was the “crawl,” the dedicated PvE version was to become the “walk,” while the planned MMO was the final step, “run.”

Aaron Keller Project Titan
Aaron Keller On Project Titan.

After the severe backlash the developers received for canceling PvE modes, Keller thought it would be best to address the situation honestly. He talked about Team 4 and how it was created after the cancelation of a game called Project Titan. At its core, the project was an FPS MMO, and despite its cancelation, the team has always considered itself an MMO development team.

As we transitioned away from that original concept and started creating Overwatch, we included plans to one day return to that scope. We had a crawlwalkrun plan. Overwatch was the crawl, a dedicated version of PvE was the walk, and an MMO was the run. It was built into the DNA of the team early on, and some of us considered that final game a true realization of the original vision of Project Titan.” says Overwatch 2 director, Aaron Keller.

Keller mentioned that the team quickly started planning the next iteration soon after Overwatch’s release. He further added, “Looking back at that moment, it’s now obvious that we weren’t as focused as we should have been on a game that was a runaway hit.” He eventually realized that the team shouldn’t have focused on a plan that was years old and instead given its time to Overwatch.

The PvE version of Overwatch had been in the works for a long time, and the team slowly shifted more resources into that feature as it was their priority. As a result, the development process became quite shaky as some of the other features barely found a footing due to focusing on many things at once. Although Overwatch had many great things, the team didn’t successfully combine the elements needed for a polished experience.

We had announced something audacious. Our players had high expectations for it, but we no longer felt like we could deliver it. We needed to make an incredibly difficult decision, one we knew would disappoint our players, the team, and everyone looking forward to Hero Missions.” says Overwatch 2 director, Aaron Keller.

According to Keller, the team had many things going on simultaneously, and they just couldn’t work on them all to fit together in the plan they always believed in. They were met with a tough decision and, at long last, decided to cut the Hero Missions and plan for the future. Keller mentioned, “The decision was the start of a long process, not the final piece of it.

Aaron Keller Apology
Aaron Keller Apology.

Although Overwatch 2 started from the ashes of Project Titan, the team seems to have undergone a change, which they all consider a much-needed one. Moving forward, the team believes the new direction will be important, and the story missions will be “leaps and bounds” above what they had previously built for the PvE mode.

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