This week’s episode of Thanks for the Knowledge features an amazing roundtable discussion about Overwatch 2 with resident expert Kenneth Shepard and lapsed player Mike Williams. I thought the discussion did a great job of explaining exactly why you might be excited about the new information Blizzard just dropped and why, given a different disposition about the company and franchise, you might be confused and concerned.
I ended that conversation, however, by asking Mike Williams if he was excited about Dragon’s Dogma 2. He is! He also brought up some great points that stuck with me over the weekend.
Anyway, Mike mentioned how Dragon’s Dogma 2 will exist in a post-Elden Ring world and how that probably bodes incredibly well for Capcom’s latest stab at Western-inspired open-world role playing games. As someone who has played a lot of Elden Ring and just started Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for the first time this week, this point excited me.
And I see what Mike is saying! Even in the early hours of Dragon’s Dogma, I’m feeling the sense of discovery I did in Elden Ring. Caves with deceptive complexity open up on craggy cliffsides and give way to monsters too difficult for even my large party of adventurers to tackle. The Pawn system, often pointed to as a major reason for Dragon’s Dogma‘s warm reception, is reminding me of Elden Ring’s summoning system but even more fleshed out and fun. And weird!
Dragon’s Dogma is weird! I love that about it. My guy is shaped like me: round, small, and yet somehow lanky. He has a goofy gremlin voice but he’s well-respected. My created Pawn is a strong woman who will protect me from all harm. She’s the most important person in the world. Two other random Pawns follow me around and I love them. I will continue to love them even after I throw them away for two better Pawns after I level a few more times.
This game is the best thing I’ve played since Elden Ring and I might even like it more. It’s not as polished or even as interesting in moment-to-moment combat, but the vibe is immaculate. Play Dragon’s Dogma. Listen to this week’s episode of Thanks for the Knowledge.
News covered in this week’s episode:
- Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is the sequel to Remake
- Crisis Core is getting a remaster this year
- Dragon’s Dogma 2 announced against all odds
- Everything you missed from Microsoft & Bethesda’s Showcase
- Everything you missed from Capcom’s Showcase
- TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge not getting DLC…yet
- Hideo Kojima will collaborate with Xbox on a major project
- Persona 3, 4, and 5 definitive versions will also come out on PlayStation & PC
- Gran Turismo movie based on a true story
- Activision Blizzard clears itself of wrongdoing lmao
- Vince McMahon to step away from CEO role during misconduct investigation
- Vince McMahon losing the reins of WWE no longer feels impossible
Transcript (automated) of my conversation with Ken and Mike:
John: This week, the folks over at Activision Blizzard blew the lid off of Overwatch 2. Finally feels like the fourth or fifth time they’ve done that, but it does feel like we have a sense of what they intend to do with this, , this, this wild game that comes out on October 4th. I wanna talk to two people who, , have some insight to share.
One is Ken Shepard who, , , spent some time with some folks at Activision Blizzard this week.
Kenneth: Hello. Good morning.
John: Hello! And also Mike Williams. Hello, Mike.
Mike: Hello! Hello! I am the lapsed one.
John: Yes, good. I’m so glad that we have a lapsed Overwatcher here. I wanna start with kind of a fairly open ended question and I’ll start with you Kenneth, because, , you’ve, you’ve obviously just been in deep with this stuff for the past couple weeks.
Did you get a better sense of what this game is after watching the presentation, after spending time with the devs. Talk to me about kinda what you’re feeling now that, , they’ve released more information.
Kenneth: I think the simplest way for me to kinda like break down what I let’s talk about. I feel like the 2 in the Overwatch 2 is largely symbolic that is actually meaningful in the way that we normally talk about what a sequel is.
Because broadly, I feel like all, all of the changes they are talking about and all of these changes, they’re making, not only to like, you know, the way the game plays, but also like the business model of the game. I think it’s actually kind of a lot of what the game is needed for a while now.
I think, but you know, there is still people are looking like, what is the two mean in this? And honestly, I kind of think it’s mostly meaningless now. I think that’s kind, my largest takeaway is that we are just kinda like entering a new era in what Overwatch is as a whole that I think they put a 2 on at the end, because that probably sounds better in an earnings call to say that you have released a new product right than it does “we have released this massive update.”
John: Yeah, because I mean, the big changes that I, I really took away, , cuz we can get into the things that don’t feel like big changes even though they’re they’re saying they’re big changes. The biggest one is obviously this is shifting to a free to play live service.
You could argue that it was a live service before, but now it’s free to play. They’re gonna be adding PVE experiences next year. There’s gonna be cross progression across multiple game platforms and then this kind of seasonal model. Which other games have made, , tremendous strides in destiny, , apex, legends, you know, , a lot of battle pass kind of mentality is now coming to Overwatch 2.
So those were the big changes to me from one to two. , but Mike, beyond that, do you have a sense of maybe why they’re calling this to instead of just injecting the stuff into the client? Of Overwatch one.
Mike: why they’re calling it two, not so much. , so when the beta went live, , it was odd to me because the first thing is I loaded it up and it automatically had my last character, my last skin mm-hmm like already set up.
Right. Like, and ready to go. So I was just like, oh, this is. This is literally just Overwatch one. Right. And some of the two stuff, , like the PVE, which they were really selling before is actually now in 2023. Right. , but it does give them the excuse to change the business model and change to this season, , model, which they’ve probably needed to do, , way before now.
And especially in terms of, I, I described it almost like a league model where you have so many characters that everybody has a favorite. , and whereas Overwatch has been honestly pretty slow to add new characters. And now that now they’re, they’re. At least committing to a schedule, like the seasons are supposed to be, I think it was like eight weeks?
Kenneth: Nine weeks, I think.
Mike: Yeah. Nine weeks and , they said they would add a new hero every other season. Like they say, every season is gonna be a new map mode or hero, but one of the presentations, they were like, eh, “we’re, you know, we’re aiming for about, you know, a hero every other season.” So like starting to speed up, , on, on sort of that side of it. And I, I, I feel like Riot has sort of beat Blizzard to the punch in terms of the more multimedia side of it. And I think adding more heroes will eventually allow them to get there cuz they really should have gotten there already. Like beyond the comics.
John: That’s a, it’s so funny you bring up Riot because I think last time I had Ken on, and, and last time I had Niki on to talk about Overwatch 2, the conversation came up, I think both times about how, you know, Blizzard honestly felt like at the, at the very beginning of Overwatch felt like they really had this idea cornered of how to create a multimedia franchise out of this game, like those shorts were amazing. They were must see, , viewing. They were must watch YouTube videos. Like people gathered to watch that stuff as it dropped and were very excited. I remember those being very exciting experiences and it does feel like riot has kind of leapfrogged to them over the past few years. figuring that stuff out and now it kind of feels like Overwatch has to rubber, rubber band and, and figure this out again. , You brought up PVE experiences. Ken, I wanna ask you this specific question, because I think you’ve been paying the most attention to a lot of the verbiage from this team. I felt like when I saw, , when I, when I saw the team talking about the PVE stuff in the video and also the, the phrasing of PVE experiences, right. That feels like a really major downgrade from how they used to talk about the PVE component of this game.
Kenneth: Yeah. And, , when I was in part of that interview, I, that was one of my first questions was like the way that y’all are talking about this, hasn’t been super concrete in terms of what the story content this game is gonna be.
And so I asked like, is it going to be a full campaign or is it going be something that you are really releasing as part of this new seasonal model? They kind of stopped short of saying one or another. They, they did tell me that the story content they have has a beginning, middle of an end, but they then started instead of like, you know, talking more specific, they started talking about how they’re changed to free to play.
It’s kind of just changed the model of how they wanna do like look, roll out anything in this game. And that means releasing things as it’s done, instead of like holding it all until everything is. And so like it I’ve been, was watching the video just before we down this call and it said PVE begins 20 23.
Yeah. And so , that’s I like, I understand from like, you know, the, the entire model that you have of this game has changed and maybe even what it was when you first announced the game and that yeah. Falls in line with all the things you’re talking about. But that, that is a major fucking bummer to me. If that means that we’re gonna be playing this campaign over the course of probably years maybe?
John: Yeah. And, and I didn’t even get the sense that it might be a cohesive campaign, you know what I mean?
Kenneth: Yeah. I mean, and that’s, that’s, like I said, like there, there is like a beginning, middle, and end , you know, they, they set up like conflicts that it could be know in a hypothetical campaign.
Would they, they would be coming to a head at the, in the timeline that they’re kind of setting up for Overwatch 2. It’s been so long since we had seen all of that presented in like a more cohesive way. Cause like they, once they did the thing where they decoupled PVE and PVP, they kind of, haven’t been talking about story content at all.
Right. And so we don’t really have a sense of much of what that’s gonna be. Even like, you know, the section of the presentation that they did this week for PVE was like very small and was not given a great sense of cause like I said, like there’s all these gaps in what we had been told about the actual structure of this.
So Again, they stopped short of saying it out loud, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be, you know, periodic companies that come every season, which I, I understand why in terms of, you know, the, the entire shift that they’ve done, but as a person who wanted to see an Overwatch story yeah. Like, you know, as soon as possible.
That is a bummer to me.
John: Right. The, the, the kind of the roadmap and the layout of the changes that, , , Activ Blizz was talking about. , Mike, as a lapsed player, how are you feeling? Are you excited to jump in on October 4th or are you , trepidacious?
Mike: Trepidacious like, it, it sounds. fun. The 5v5 mode was fun. some of my characters have shifted slightly. , I really liked doom fist, , as a tank. , even though it’s funny in the presentation, he’s like, “I can finish this in one punch.” No, no, you can’t do this. (laughs)
Kenneth: You literally cannot do that.
John: You literally can’t.
Mike: I was just like, no, not at all. , and, and like I said, like speeding up some of the, the releases of new heroes, right?
The battle pass I’m I play Fortnite. And one of the things that always bugs me is I don’t play fortnight enough to get to the end of the battle pass. So usually what ends up happening is a new skin comes out. I usually will just buy the skin. , but they also tend to put a skin that is decent at the end of the battle pass. So like last season it was Dr. Strange. And I wanted that skin, but immediately, as soon as I went to the battle pass and I looked and it was at the end, I was like, yeah, I’m just not getting that skin. It’s just, , and so I assume that these new mythic skins are gonna go there at the end of a battle pass. So for me, like, like that automatically, I was like, okay, that mythic skin, that sounds cool, but that’s automatically locked off to me probably. , I’ll, I’ll probably like if I use Fortnite as a barometer, probably get halfway through a battle pass by the end of the season. So the thing that’s really like bringing me is like, okay, we’re gonna start increasing sort of the content release in terms of new maps, , and new heroes, , because I really think that heroes and that personality is where Overwatch can gain some ground. Like new heroes and new skins and that stuff.
John: Yeah. So the mythic skin stuff seems interesting. It’s basically a new tier of skin that it, they seem to suggest will also allow for some customization. Mm.
Mike: , Yeah, they, they set it out. Right. , they, they were like, you can, you know, , pick different colors and different bits and like, change it up a little.
John: So that seems, that seems cool. I mean, like, I, I love, I love that idea of being able to get a unique skin and then also customize it beyond that. So, you know, it feels uniquely yours and also adding charms to like weapons and stuff. So it does seem like they’re leaning into the uniqueness of like, okay, get excited about this hero, but also get excited about these skins.
Like I agree with you, Mike. I do think that was a big part of stuff that would actually get me back into the game. If I was feeling a little, , , feeling a little dejected about like, you know, how things were going with that game, I would dip back in, , to check out a new skin or check out a new hero.
So yeah, if they, if they speed up the, the, the work there, which I wanna talk about the work in a, in a minute. Right. But, , if they speed that up, then I do think there is something unique to that approach that I would be excited about for sure.
Kenneth: Yeah. And I, I think like to their credit, I, a lot of these shifts feel like they are reactionary to the problems Overwatch has had for a very long time.
‘Cause I think, you know, switching the seasonal model or like you are kind of like ensuring that there is going to be regular concept updates. Cause like that’s something that’s been Overwatch problem for a long time, as they have shifted into focusing on Overwatch 2 and all it entailed is that, like I said, the last time I was on, like, they have saved so much for that game, that Overwatch one has been stagnant.
I mean, I would even argue like dead game in the, in terms of like the content necessarily people playing it. Like, you know, that’s in the connotation that term has, but like, cause people are playing it’s game, still not, you know, as many, but in terms of like actually putting stuff in the game to bring people back or to give people like anything more than just, you know, your regular weekly grind of live service game, and also going free to play, they broadly just talked about that as like, that is a way to get people in and make it easier.
Cause like, even. Now, like you can’t buy Overwatch without having to get it some bundle that makes it close to full price still almost six years later. Yeah. , and that’s especially a hard ask when you’re not actually doing much with that game. So I, I have to wonder like how, like, in the shift of free to play, like how much of this conversation has happened, because they’re like, okay, we need to start doing something now, because if we keep, you know, saving everything for this package again, we’ll put it on a store shelf.
Then we are going to continue to bleed players. This way, they they’re taking down all the, or more barriers to people getting in and like, you know, hitting the ground, running and finding something to enjoy in this game. Instead of, you know, because like, if they had waited until, you know, next year when the PV stuff was ready to go, that’s like, you know, six to eight months of waiting, maybe even a full year who say this to say?
Mike: And I mean, when was this announced? I forget.
Kenneth: Which part?
Mike: Just Overwatch 2, like originally, ,
Kenneth: Bliz Con 2019.
Mike: Right. And, and, and since, so it took from then until now to even get really like a concrete feel of what they were doing. Like, I remember that, that announcement because, , what’s, his name was still there. Jeff, and I forget his last name.
Kaplan. and they were really wishy washy when they were talking about it. it was like, so what is this gonna be? Is this like a full game? Is it like, will we pay for this separately? And they were like, no, I mean, it’ll work with all of your Overwatch, one stuff. And it was just, it was so fuzzy.
Kenneth: Well, I, I don’t know if I agree and this, again, this might, this might come for me just being like very tuned into this game and the way a lot of, not a lot of people that are like lapsed are cause like I sure I felt the language of what they said when they first announced in this game. Fairly clear in terms of like, , the PVP stuff was going to be free over, like, it was just gonna like an update for watch one players.
And that’s been like a weird thing that I think it’s just, it’s almost like we’ve played like a game of telephone as the years have gone on about like details that were actually said versus what people, I guess remember about that presentation this far removed. And I think a lot of that comes from like, they were silent on this game for a long while after, and you know, there are various circumstances to why that was, and that’s, as everybody knows, that company right now is, , in a fucking shit storm right now.
John: Oh yeah. A weird spiral. Yep.
Kenneth: So yeah, in a way, I think like Overwatch 2’s marketing in the past year, so has felt, , maybe less precise than it ever did before.
So like, I think like at the very least this feels like a strong, like reset of all that. Okay. Here’s our message. Here. We are going to be very clear about what this is, how people can get involved or how people can get in it. And yeah, it’s, it’s been a rough time to get here, but I do feel like for whatever it’s worth, the foundation that they’ve set now feels like the foundation, the game needed several years ago.
John: So you let, let’s talk about the work a little bit, because you, you did sit down with game director, Aaron Keller, art director of Dion Rogers and their commercial lead, John Specter, , you know, , Keller and Rogers featured pretty prominently in the, in the video. , and obviously going to a seasonal model and free to play and having this kind of constant stream of content in a way that Overwatch is not really done before raises I think very good questions, questions that you raised in a really good piece over on fanbyte.com, which I think you should go read.
But we’ll talk about it now, as well. This, this company is under a ton of scrutiny. It doesn’t matter that this week they cleared themselves of wrongdoing in the internal investigation, which is, , a, a wild part of the story in and of itself. , but they’re gonna be under a ton of scrutiny while one: government entities look at the, look at the merger of Microsoft and Activation Blizzard while basically the entire public is examining the labor practices of this massive company. And as Overwatch 2 settles into this brand new way of doing things for them. , how do you think this is gonna work?
Kenneth: Well, they were. Fairly adamant in the interview that yeah, they have had a lot of things in place, like leading up to this cuz they expected, you know, the new pipeline to be, you know, more confident and that included more hires. Like they said that the team was several times larger than it had been when they first launched the game in 2016.
Structural changes and also like toolkit changes to like make the creation of assets and changes quicker. , and. You know, like, I believe that like on a fundamental level, I believe that like changes have been made and like, you know, that has that there is like an attempt being made to make this as easy on everyone as possible, but broadly, every public statement that Activision Blizzard makes about any labor issue is often undermined by a report that comes like fairly shortly after.
And something like I’ve, it’s something like I, as, you know, a reporter and a critic have tried to keep in mind, it’s like, cause like there’s part of me that like does look at companies and be like, yes, they are run by these, you know, suits that make a shit ton of money that never meet any people that actually working on the things that they put out.
But then there are people that are, you know, like they’re going into work every day and like they care about what they’re working on. And like, I think that’s something that like everyone’s trying to, as these labor issues in the game industry are coming to light, we’re all trying to kinda like grapple with like, where’s the balance between how we talk about these things in terms of not believing people that profit by lying, but also acknowledging that this work is done by people who do give a shit about what they’re doing.
Right. , and so I. I guess, like the only real feeling I ever, I was like, tread like tread lightly, like, you know, approach this with some level of skepticism and caution, because like, as much as I believe that they probably believe what they’re saying about how they want this to be a healthy work environment for the people that are gonna be making these, you know, constant nine, nine or one thing nine weeks is a fucking short time for us to, even of a new live game, like Fortnite lasts months I believe.
Kenneth: Yeah. , and. That is a lot and I would be interested to see how long they maintain that even. Because like, you have to imagine, like, if some of these issues start to come up in terms of like overwork, like, you know, the right thing to do would be to start to scale back, even if that means like, you know, having to tell the public and your, your player base, like, Hey, we are scaling back, but it is in the interest of keeping this like a healthy work environment for our workers.
Like, you know, we even in the, especially in the midst of the pandemic. That’s been a lot of the talking for a lot of companies. Like when they make a delay, like they’re very being very transparent. Like we are doing this, cause this is the best thing for our workers. Right. And I would like to see things like that happen for Overwatch 2 in the event that does, has become, you know, an issue and right.
A lot of that, we’re probably not going to hear about in any public facing way. And it’ll probably be on reporters for us to hear as time goes on.
Mike: Yeah, that was the thing that was sticking out to me when I was listening to the schedule. Like, again, I play Fortnite, Fortnite survives primarily, and there have been reports on this, , a, a army of freelance, 3d artists to keep skins and, and other stuff flowing into the game.
And to be honest, a good half of Fortnite skins are licensed stuff. Which means they don’t even have to really create them, like, there, there is a design aspect to him, but when you’re like, okay, bring over Dr. Strange or bring over Finn from Star Wars,
John: It’s referential modeling, yeah.
Mike: Whereas for Overwatch, like you get to 2023 and on, and it says a hundred plus new skins. I’m like. like, you gotta design all of those. Mm-hmm like, you gotta design every single skin. Yeah. Like, yes, there are some referential skins for like Blizzard properties and stuff, but at least right now, Overwatch hasn’t morphed towards some of the things that you’ll see, like Apex [Legends]. Apex has stuff that references, like they’re not licensed directly, but you can tell what it’s supposed to be. Mm mm. And Overwatch at least so far outside of Blizzard stuff, doesn’t tend to do a lot of that. Like all of the skins are pretty bespoke to the character. , and, and designed well for that character.
So I’m, I’m like, I look at their season marker. , 30 new skins for each season, which is eight weeks. And I’m like man. That sounds like a lot.
John: I will say, I will say also though, they’ve only committed to two dates here. Let’s be honest about that. Like they’ve only committed to October 4th and December 6th, they’ve said nine weeks of updates.
But like, to me, to my eyeballs, this tells me they’re leaving some room to go, “Hey, , around the holiday season, we may reevaluate how this model is working.” , that’s, that’s the cynic in me. , but it’s also natural. Like if you’re getting into this for the first time, and to your point, Mike, you’re cranking out 30 new skins, , a new hero, , presumably a new hero every season, which is a new hero every nine weeks.
Mike: they said every other season.
John: Oh, every other season. Okay. So it was three new seasons for October. I mean three new heroes for October 4th, one new hero for December 6th. And then it’s basically every other after that. That’s true, but it still, it still tells me that they, they may reevaluate this.
They, they did not commit to a January 30th or whatever date for, for their next season. So it’s like, there’s some wiggle room here for them to reevaluate this pretty, pretty quickly.
, but yeah, I mean, I, I, I am feeling. , skeptical obviously. I mean, you know, Microsoft did sign a labor neutrality agreement with CWA, which is, , it’s a good thing. , I’m, I’m not gonna give, you know, Phil Spencer and Microsoft, the credit that some others are giving. I would. Rather give that credit to the, the laborers who kind of forced their hand on that, which I think is great, , much to your point, Ken, about the folks that are going into work every day.
, so that’s, that’s a, that’s a good thing. , hopefully it’ll be met by some, you know, good faith bargaining about this stuff, but, , Was there anything else in the interview, the round table with, with the, the Blizz folks that stood out to you that you would, you would want to discuss or, , dissect a little bit, Ken?
Kenneth: One of the questions I was able to ask is, was at the behest of a lot of people at, , the site was like, what is the, the pitch here for the lapsed Overwatch player and, this, and like, as I mentioned before, like, I feel like a lot of the, the changes they have made to Overwatch to in terms of his model and even all the, , the content roll that we’re talking about feels reactionary to like criticisms has largely surrounded it.
, Which has been like, they know new content is like one of the, or lack of new content is one of the major drop off points. And they are in, in their way. They are trying to, , address that as much as they can. , which I guess is, is my question for like Mike as the last person in the room. Well, John, you also have lapsed in the room.
Yeah. , that’s true. What are y’all like looking for at this point? Like what is the thing that will like bring y’all back?
Mike: I mean at, at least for me, like I said, new heroes, , is probably the big and, and I’m, I am looking forward to the, the, the PVE thing. Like I said, I, I always thought that that Overwatch should be a bigger, , multimedia thing.
And I feel like there’s room to say, , tell some stories on the PVE side and then. You know, make the comics, , make a, you know, an animated series or something like that and introduce a villain there and then bring it back. Like, and especially now that they have the free to play, I think there’s more traction in being able to pull someone in from another property related to Overwatch.
Right. And pull them into the game since the barrier entry is so much lower now. Like you don’t have to spend 60 bucks, it’s free to play on all platforms, cross progression, , which is also by the way. , I, I forgot to mention that, , that also is a very big thing, , because I play on PC and was pretty much there for my entire time.
Whereas I had some people who play it on console and I just wouldn’t play with them at all. , because you know, part of the hook there is having your, your favorite characters with your favorite skins and everything like that. So that’s a good move, but I, again, I think with the PVE side, the, the real benefit for that is bringing in some other players and really attaching them to these characters.
Be cause once you got that done, I, I think a lot of your work is done. Like that’s the kind of thing, , that league and apex and some other, like you’ve really like attached to the character themselves.
Kenneth: Right. That was something that the cross progression thing was something that also stuck out to me because I played primarily on PlayStation.
And then when the first beta came out and, , none of my skins and stuff were there that felt not great. But then, well, also the next phase is gonna have, , is gonna be a console, but like that was issue for a long time in terms of why people weren’t. Like people that I knew weren’t playing together at all, , was because like, you know, we had a group that was all playing on PlayStation and somebody played on PC and was like, I just don’t want to, you know, go back and have to start, , basically recollecting all of these things.
So that’s good. And cause like they’ve had cross play now for a bit and that was always a weird omission. And again, like I think this might just be to think of like, they were saving a lot of these kind of overhauls through all their inners and systems, , for Overwatch shoe. whatever they’re doing now is allowing them to actually put all the stuff out a lot earlier than probably that you and they anticipated at the time.
John: for me, as a lapsed player, I mean this, you know, and this kind of shows, I think the, the spectrum of Overwatch players, whenever they did the PVE stuff, it was not compelling content to me. So I, I don’t have a lot of faith that they will be able to correct that, and I especially don’t have faith on their ability to correct that after kind of hearing the way that they’ve talked about the PVE stuff recently.
So that, that stuff really doesn’t matter to me. The, the thing that I would love to have back, which I have heard is something that we have not gotten back and may never get back is the sense that everyone on the team has a, , unbelievably defined role that has to do with claiming objectives, right? Like I keep hearing from many people that the 5v5, which like I haven’t tried yet, the next beta test goes live on June 28th.
I intend to get into it and, and check it out. But I keep hearing that the 5v5 stuff really is more or less a team death match that when you’ve basically got your numbers, , in the right place. That’s when you basically focused on the objective. I felt like in the early days of this game, there was a lot of really intriguing and interesting teamwork required to be successful at this game. And I miss that. That’s when, when the game started to feel, not like that, that’s when I kind of stepped away and everything I hear say, say, you know, everything I hear kind of says that they have not gotten back to that at all.
Mike: Yeah, it is definitely more aggressive and they have removed, , not removed lessened some of the shielding and support stuff. So like, which I, which time to kill when I was playing. , the beta time to kill was very well, I felt much shorter than the previous Overwatch.
Kenneth: Yeah. And it’s something like, even with the reworks of certain characters, I think it. I, I think that’s still very much a problem that it, you know, if you, if that is in your opinion a problem, that, which, I mean, I also agree with what you’re saying.
I feel like in terms of, , roles defining, it’s getting even murkier, now that it’s getting fuzzy, there’s only one. And cause like you look at the mid major reworks that they’ve done with characters like Arisa and Sombra, which are two of my, like the main characters that I play and. Those characters in Overwatch, one, as it exists right now, like kind of like have a very interesting sort of play on the role that they already exist in where [inaudible] less shield.
She is much more, , about, you know, like pushing through and getting to the objective. And then Sombra has who almost like, kind of was a, it, it existed in the middle of damage and support has become much more of like a focused fire assassin type character where her hack is like a one second off button.
And then anything that anybody that is hacked takes more damage from her specifically. And in that way, like you can see like how they’re kind of stripping away. Not necessarily even the essence of the character because I still feel like they feel like themselves. Not just, not necessarily mechanically anymore.
Yeah. , even if like, you know, their kit still feels in line with who that character is like in my mind, like Sombra’s a hacker and she is, you know, she uses stealth. Like she’s kind of this, , harasser that gets like in the back line of the enemy and is able to kind of manipulate things from there. But even so, like, she now exists more to be, like I said, this focus, fire, fire character that.
Do a lot of damage and maybe like take a person out. But instead of being somebody who now, when I play her in Overwatch one, and she, I use her primarily to take down the shield of a Reinhart. So my entire team can come in and do a lot of damage to push forward. And so it is gonna be interesting to see how, and if Overwatch starts to kind of, , you know, shift back into that or not.
And I do think like the taking one tank out is probably an indication that they’re not gonna do that anytime soon. So that is all something to be paying attention to as we had talked over.
John: , yeah, I, I, I still, it’s funny friend, did the site Ben Pack, , tweeted at me yesterday that they’re calling this Overwatch 2, because it’s too hard to explain what it is, which I thought was very funny.
, and, and I still kind of feel. Like there is going to be some market confusion about this game, but I will say. , I think for the first time I get how this game is gonna roll out, right? Like they’ve, they finally kind of, , explained that it’s enough to get me intrigued it’s enough to get me, you know, to absolutely check this out the first week it’s out, you know, and I’ll I’ll, I will probably get into this next beta and, and, and check it out then.
But, , Yeah, I’m gonna wanna play with these new heroes. I’m gonna wanna wanna, you know, get new skins. I’m gonna kind of wanna dip my feet back in. So I, I guess they’ve done a good enough job of convincing me that that’s something I will do. , but gosh, I sure hope the, I sure hope this team takes care of itself during this whole process.
Mike: I think some of the murkiness also is lessened as a problem. now that it’s free to play. That was for sure, like when they announced it before you were like, okay, what am I gonna have to buy? Like, is this an upgrade? Is this just a continuation of the original? Do I have to spend more?
Now it’s free to play. It’s like, ah, sure. Whatever I’ll try. Right?
Kenneth: I think like once you take that barrier down, a lot of the confusion is, but I guess benign in the end because like somebody download the thing and then play the game and right. I think that’s what they’re kind of like planning on. Like, I think that’s what they’re hoping for and switching to free to play is they just want a, like a much smaller barrier to entry and yeah.
For whatever it’s worth. Like I think that just again, I have had my feelings about the way that people talk about Overwatch 2. And then I feel what’s the best. What’s the kindest way to say this. I, I do feel like there’s a sense of. , I don’t think it was that confusing, but again, that comes from me, like having paid as much attention to it.
But I also feel like there was a bit of a, a game of telephone that was happening that wasn’t, that feels more like internet misinformation to me than anything that had to do with what Blizzard said, which I think is, you know, just a problem with the internet, which nobody can solve. But I do think now a lot of that can just kinda like fall by the wayside because they have given people a very easy way in, and to like, if they have these questions, they, they can find out like by playing the game and yeah, we’ll see.
John: I mean, yeah. I, I, I think probably you’re you’re right to some extent, but I also. I, I don’t know. I, you got, I think they got off on a tremendously bad foot by saying this is called Overwatch 2.
If you’ve got Overwatch, one, a lot of the stuff will still be available to you. , and then kind of, not really explaining much beyond that, you know, for what really felt like a couple years. Like, I, I think, I think they did explain some stuff more concretely than I think people have said yes. , but I do think they.
It seems like they did not answer their own question about why this is called Overwatch 2 when they first announced it. , sure. I, I don’t feel like they, I, I do feel like they earned some of the skepticism and confusion, but I also, , admit that, you know, in the new, in the new way of live service games, Destiny could have done the exact same thing they could have said, okay, this is destiny
2, but a lot of Destiny’s one stuff is still gonna basically be here at the beginning. And, and, you know, I don’t remember there being a ton of confusion about that. So, you know, it’s like, yeah, I think, I think a lot of folks protesteth a little too much, but I also, I, I don’t know. I think some of the confusion was earned for sure.
, but they’re, they’re slowly clearing a lot of that stuff up. Yeah. I think as they, as they understand what the game is that they’re making, they’re clearing it up.
Kenneth: Mm-hmm and, , you know, just, I fucking want it. I wanna play it now. Yeah, sure. I, I like I’ve in, you know, since, since the be Overwatch two, I’ve been, I’ve gone back to Overwatch one a lot, and it’s like, I, I love this fucking game.
You know, like all the complicated feelings I feel about, you know, the company that’s making it and yeah. You know, Again, like I said earlier, this is something like, I think everyone was trying to reconcile as we learned that the sausage is made- how the sausage is made in video games and how is often fucking brutal for everybody.
Like in every game that you, every game you like has probably had some degree of some problem. And, but I really like, I still like really buy into a lot of Overwatch’s broader ethos of like the world can be better. And. Something that I wrote, like we, don’t kind of, we don’t really cover a lot of Activision stuff right now outside of the com text of the lawsuit right now.
But that’s something I wrote about the, the comic, , series that came out where Cassidy was going through and like recruiting the new, , generation of Overwatch and like the entire thing was about like, trying to like set a better foundation on something that was rotten, right. Just like that shit still hits that, that resonates with me.
And I, so I. the people that are still there. It’s like still, you know, doing the work still organizing still like trying to make that place better for the people that work there. I hope that, you know, some of that comes through in the game that they’re putting out too.
Mike: Yeah. This, this is, this is Ken’s game.
Like everyone has one game. They keep going back to yeah, yeah. , like me it’s like assassins, creed, or like even world Warcraft to a certain extent, but like, like. Even when we’re in slack, you can feel the enthusiasm from Ken. all about Overwatch.
John: And I mean, you know, it’s like, yeah, this company still gets, gets me in a lot of ways too.
I mean, I spent, you know, a lot of my Sunday dissecting that Diablo 4 video, I’m like a fairly new Diablo person, but like, I’m like, they got me like I’m I’m in, I get it. These, these are still a group of people that make that make incredibly realized fictional worlds that I do wanna spend time in. So yeah, to that point, there are still a ton of workers that are working on this stuff and not involved in the, , the, the, the terrible shit that is going on upstairs.
, so yeah, it’s a comp it’s a complicated thing, but, , but yeah, I’m glad you’re excited, Ken, you, you should be, , And I, I appreciate your interview, , that the, , some of the details of that interview and, , some insight from Ken, like I said, over at fanbyte.com. You should go read that. It’s very good, Ken, thank you for joining us.
Kenneth: Thanks for having me
John: and Mike, , I’ll just leave you with this one question. We don’t have to get too deep into it. Are you excited about Dragon’s Dogma 2?
Mike: (singing) Dragon’s Dogma 2! No, it’s gonna be amazing. I’m I’m, I’m so ready for it. , I, I don’t know what sort of Eldridge magic, how many children they sacrificed make RE Engine work for as many games as it does, but, , I’m like, you know, you’re looking at Resident Evil Village (RE7), , you know, and actually, I don’t think R seven was, , re anyways, , Village dragon, , devil may cry five, you know, all that stuff.
Yeah. And I’m like, okay, , you turn Itsuno on this and you know, he’s still there make it work. Like, yeah. Like, like a lot of people, I, I remember when Elden Ring like really hit. Yeah. And in my head, I was like, man, I wish y’all played Dragon’s Dogma back in the day. ‘ Because it has that same vibe, except the, like you, you were talking on Twitter, you have a paw, they, they gave you a, your paw lady and your paw lady does a lot of the work like that.
Oh, that’s the exciting thing to me. Yeah. Like, , you can really, and you gotta get into guides and stuff to really like guide the growth of your pawn but once your pawn fully does what you want to do, it’s it’s a beautiful thing. Like you’re like, ah, this is the pawn I wanted.
John: Yeah. go play dragon’s dogma: darker arisen. It is out on many platforms right now. I’m playing it on Nintendo Switch. And it runs pretty well. It’s it’s it’s good. , I I’ve really only seen people play through this game. I started to play through it this past week for the very first time.
I I’m like I was immediately. Immediately like, oh, this game fucking whips. Like it is really interesting. Anyway, you should go play it. I’m excited about dragon’s dogma 2. Mike, thanks for talking to us about Overwatch 2 as well.
Mike: Indeed. I always love coming back.
John: Yeah. We love having you and, , yeah, I appreciate everyone’s time and , until next time,
, Oh, that was tracer.
Kenneth: I was about, I was gonna say, “Cheers, love. The cavalry’s gone.”