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Jeff Kaplan: "Athena and Echo Are Different Characters"

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We have summarised the main points of two BlizzCon interviews of Jeff Kaplan: one with Eurogamer and one with r/Overwatch.

Here is what Jeff from the Overwatch team had to say to Eurogamer:

  • The Reunion animated short takes place in Route 66, but the team has no plans for a rework of that map.
  • Echo and Athena are different characters. The confusion was caused because in an old image of the Overwatch cast Echo has the Athena logo on her. Lead Artist Arnold Tseng felt that there was too much blank space on Echo and that's why she had the Athena logo.

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  • The team has the next six heroes planned out, which means there are heroes for the next two years. Echo isn't necessarily the next hero after Ashe.
  • They are exploring opportunities to do more than just animated shorts, anything is possible
  • No announcement for Overwatch on Switch but it still is a possibility.
  • Cross-platform play is in conversations.
  • Overwatch is sticking to loot boxes, even though they are controversial (they were banned in Belgium). A lot of work would be required to implement something like the Battle Pass in Overwatch.
  • There's no serious thought of making Overwatch free-to-play at this time.
  • Jeff consults in non-Overwatch teams and takes part in strategic decisions, but his main focus is still Overwatch.

Some of the same questions were answered in the Reddit interview, for example about cross-platform play and Echo not being the same character as Athena. Kaplan actually had to say about that last issue that: "Athena is Winston’s AI and the narrator of the game! Athena’s not running around doing hero stuff, like, that’s not her character".  So, perhaps we won't see Athena as a hero, even though it is a popular fan theory.

New points include:

  • They think it would be a better matchmaking experience if there was a single match queue in Quick Play also. But at this stage, it’s kind of a big technical overhaul under the hood, even though it works that way in Competitive.
  • Overwatch is built on a brand new engine so it is pretty complex and complicated process to make map editor public but “we would like to do more”.
  • For example, they played around with the ability to allow players to script their own custom game modes through a very basic set of scripting language within the UI for it. They would like to make this work some day.
  • They don’t have anything for Winter Wonderland that’s new, in terms of game modes, incoming. They do have some game mode experiments that they’re fooling around with right now that have a lot of promise, but none of them have coalesced into “let’s definitely release this” yet.
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I for one hope that them saying the next hero is already ready will mean that they finally speed up the release some, to a hero every 3 months, instead of 4, but we'll see. Ashe released pretty fast after the reveal, AND with all her Cosmetics already there on the PTR. It might be a sign.

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12 minutes ago, Lampanelli said:

I for one hope that them saying the next hero is already ready will mean that they finally speed up the release some, to a hero every 3 months, instead of 4, but we'll see. Ashe released pretty fast after the reveal, AND with all her Cosmetics already there on the PTR. It might be a sign.

More then likely they have the overall look of them ( echo is one and I’m hoping she is within the next 3 she will be so good ) maybe most of them have the abilities done but as to speeding up it’s time for them to go into the game and play them and see what counters them and what they counter, so To see her cosmetics up is nice , but could’ve also been blizzcon they had a deadline . Would like to see a new hero faster then usual like heroes is like something new every month

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