The artist of a game can come from very different backgrounds and stories, however Overwatch is unique and can only have one real artist.
Overwatch is created by Blizzard Entertainment, where the gameplay is team based and multiplayer. It was released in May 2016 and with 21 heroes and 3 more heroes were later released. A new hero is currently in the process of being released this March 23rd. Unlike Blizzard’s other games like World Of Warcraft, Overwatch is a first person shooter game. Since the released of the game Overwatch’s player count has reach 20 million players.
Overwatch is a very simple game to play. Each individual hero has different abilities and ultimates that they can use throughout the games. Each game consists of 6 players per team. One team tries to attack while the other defends or both teams are trying to capture the point. The game requires a lot of teamwork and strategies to be able to play well. There are 4 categories of heroes that include Defense, Offense, Support and Tank. My personal favorite hero and my main is Pharah. There is competitive seasons where you can play and get ranked in a ranking system. By participating, you are able to get points for golden guns in the game. The ranking ranges from bronze to grand master.
“We really do want to create a Blizzard universe that is worthy of standing alongside Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo” – Jeff Kaplan
The true artist of Overwatch is, Jeff Kaplan, the Vice President of Blizzard and game director of Overwatch. Him and his team were working on a big project called Titan but it got cancelled and Blizzard released Overwatch instead. However he was not the only contributing member that came up with the idea of Overwatch. Howard S. Becker states, “To begin (an art masterpiece), someone must have an idea of what kind of work is to be made and of its specific form”. Arnold Tsang and Geoff Goodman both helped design some class settings and draw amazing characters.
Kaplan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree one english with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Southern California then later earned a Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing. Before becoming the game director and leader of Overwatch he worked on World of Warcraft’s designs. The reason I believe he is the artist is because he is the leader of the development and creation of Overwatch. Like Roland Barthes states in The Death of the Author, “the explanation of the work is always sought in the man who has produced it, as if, through the more or less transparent allegory of fiction, it was always finally the voice of one and the same person, the author, which delivered his “confidence” (p.2). I see Jeff Kaplan as the author, creator, of Overwatch, however I try to do the opposite of what Barthes is saying and try to focus on the work that Kaplan has done for Overwatch.
It is important to attribute the label of artist to this game because it gives the game a sense of ownership to a particular person. Whenever there is an update or something big to be released, Jeff Kaplan is the person that states it and shares the information to the huge community. This reddit AMA is an example of Jeff Kaplan interacting with the community whilst giving out information about the future of Overwatch. Without Jeff Kaplan being the face of Overwatch, then there wouldn’t be one person that we could go to ask questions, say suggestions or give input that could benefit the game. With these community suggestions we as players become apart of the games creation and evolution because of this we become the artists along side Jeff Kaplan. This not only gives people incentive to be apart of the Overwatch community, because their opinions about the things they love matter, but it also creates a lasting player base, because people are more likely to stick with a game that they feel they have contributed to. It also sets a path that changes a game that will get lost in obscurity to a game that will stand the test of time. Like countries need presidents, we need artists that become leaders of our favorite games.
Howard Becker. (1982). “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” in Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press: pp. 1-39.
Roland Barthes. (1977 ). “The Death of the Author.” In Image, Music, Text. New York:Hill and Wang.