New features are headed to Blizzard’s popular team-based shooter, Overwatch, to ease issues with spectating the game’s fast-paced action, debuting next week during the Overwatch World Cup at this year’s BlizzCon.
Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan announced the changes in a developer update video today explaining that the incoming features were added to combat difficulties understanding the game’s events in high level play, specifically in the esports realm. Some of these features will be seen in-game, while others are tools broadcasters can use.
“[The development team] realized that there’s a lot of challenges with Overwatch and esports in general,” Kaplan said. “Probably the top thing we hear on the development team is that sometimes watching Overwatch esports can be very challenging to follow the action and know what’s going on.”
- Team uniforms: Teams participating in the upcoming World Cup and Overwatch League will each have two sets of distinctive color palettes. The heads-up display will reflect these changes to help distinguish teams and players to spectators. Visual effects, such as gunfire and explosions, will also become color coordinated on the team’s current uniform.
- Top-down interactive map: Broadcasters will have access to this map that displays every player’s location, ultimate status and physical state (frozen, stunned, etc.) overlaid the 3D map. This is mostly for commentators, but they have the ability to display the map for at-home viewers.
- Smart third-person camera: Third-person spectating will flow smoother, as the camera will automatically follows the game’s action better than before according to Kaplan. The camera is described as smart enough to find and follow action in a way that looks less “jerky.”
- Instant replays: Broadcasters will also have access to tools to create replays from the kill feed with time-scaling and camera repositioning. Kaplan hopes this feature will be used to give viewers a more cinematic look into the action.
- Automated tournament interface: An automated interface will be implemented to eliminate human error in tournament setup such as placing players on the wrong team. The game will also automatically pause if a player disconnects.
Spectators can look forward to these features during the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon on Nov. 3 and 4.