It is no secret that Blizzard Entertainment is an extremely popular and accomplished video game publisher and developer, with their games enjoying a huge following. Their newest title, Overwatch, is no exception to this rule: the game has gained an enormous, dedicated fanbase even before its official release. However, many people are astounded that Overwatch, a game that is virtually just a Team Fortress 2 clone, has managed to provoke such a reaction in the gaming world. This article presents five factors that contributed to the resounding success of Overwatch.
The first, and arguably the most important factor is the dedication of the developers. Blizzard's games are well-known for the amount of small, unnecessary and fun easter eggs they contain besides the lore-heavy universes they create. A few minutes of playing Overwatch can easily prove that the development team of the game has respected the tradition. Therefore, if you take a break from the continuous firefights, you will start noticing the amount of hard work and love that was put into making the world of Overwatch alive: from arcade cabinets bearing slightly altered names of Blizzard's other games to basketballs scattered around the spawn area that actually bounce around.
Another factor is the marketing campaign ran by Blizzard. During Overwatch's beta period, not only have a myriad of promotional videos and comics been released, but well-known titans from different industries, such as Coca-Cola and Taco Bell have also ran Overwatch-related promotions, such as giving Taco Bell customers the chance of winning a copy of Overwatch, or having a marathon of Overwatch trailers shown before movie showings if enough people reserved a ticket.
Undoubtedly, a part of the success Overwatch is enjoying is brought simply by it being developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Just as with designer clothes, Blizzard's name on the cover acts as both a seal of guaranteed quality, and as a sign that people will buy the game in large numbers. There are many Blizzard fans out there that buy each game as soon as it is released, simply because they trust the great developers at Blizzard.
In the first days after the teaser trailer for Overwatch was released, most people assumed that, because this game was essentially a Team Fortress 2 clone, it would also follow the game's pay model and be free-to-play. Blizzard surprised gamers worldwide when they announced that not only would Overwatch be a pay-to-play game, but it would also feature in-game microtransactions, which seem to be getting more and more popular nowadays. This initially caused an uproar within the gaming community, uproar which stopped immediately after the closed beta invitations were sent out. Why? Because Blizzard demonstrated that their games deserve the asking price, and that they have an extended knowledge of the gaming market. This very knowledge was the driving force behind the success of their previous games, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
Lastly, Overwatch stands as a testament to Blizzard's ingenuity. While other multiplayer-only games don't bother with creating a reason to why the characters in-game are fighting over the control points or why they are trying to have each other's heads, Blizzard not only created a complex universe full of warring factions, corporations and rivalries, but also delivered a detailed backstory for each character. In this way, Blizzard manages to make people feel in their comfortable playing as any character, due to them knowing the characters they are playing as if they had been in previous games.
All in all, it is important to realize that the success of Overwatch is greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, a Blizzard-stapled game would have sold a lot of copies without it having a great story or small details. Perhaps, an indie game with the exact same level of detail and dedication put into it would have made it pretty far. However, what makes Overwatch great is the fact that all of the above factors have somehow met, creating an absolute masterpiece that constitutes a great way of spending time, whether you are a casual player or a dedicated competitive player.