14 March 2017 - 02:31

Bastion used to be able to shoot through walls

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan answered fan questions on Reddit.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Think Blizzard's late February Bastion changes made the omnic hero overpowered? You should hear what Bastion was like before Overwatch released.

Answering questions in an impromptu Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that Bastion's seen tons of iteration during the lead up to Overwatch's release. In fact, he had the most changes out of all Overwatch heroes, Kaplan said.

"We used to tease that Bastion had the 'ultimate of the week," Kaplan said on Reddit. "He had grenades, he had a remote mine, he could shoot through walls... yes, Bastion could shoot through walls. He [also] had an artillery volley. We just never could get it right."

Though it was hard to get Bastion right, Kaplan said, all the work that led to his tank transformation ultimate was necessary. "Transforming into another form really fit the character," Kaplan said. "It was way more work than any of the other abilities but it was worth it."

Kaplan also touched on Blizzard's development philosophy for Overwatch, and Bastion's adjustments weigh into that. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime is a proponent of the "Crawl, walk, run" development philosophy, Kaplan said. Right now, Overwatch is in a crawl state: That means it's still learning, metaphorically, the world around it.

"We have so much more we want to do—beyond just the game you're playing right now," Kaplan said. "We really do want to create a Blizzard universe that is worthy of standing alongside Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo."

The way the game is approached is still new, and could change. But for now, Blizzard is not focusing on rushing out new Overwatch heroes. Instead, the developer will take enough time to give all heroes the "love and attention" they deserve, "from balance, to story, to skins and art." New heroes will be added to keep the game fresh, Kaplan added, but they don't want to crowd—or hurt—the existing world. Ultimately, the goal is to avoid major overhauls on characters, as with Symmetra. Getting it right the first time means taking the time to perfect each hero.

But when those changes do need to happen, Kaplan said Blizzard follows a "triangle" approach, taking into consideration three key factors—the players, the statistics, and themselves. Often , however, one sector need to be ignored to make a change. As with Symmetra, it meant ignoring the statistics: According to Kaplan, her stats were fine, but both Blizzard and players felt she was "underwhelming."

And as Blizzard continues to crawl with Overwatch, the process will evolve. "None of this is perfect," Kaplan said, "but we try hard to listen to feedback and keep the game balanced."

As for overpowered wall-busting Bastion, it may have been fun for a while, but we're glad Blizzard listened to their collective gut on that one.

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