Overwatch Devs Discuss Why The Game Is Coming To Switch And The Lack Of Cross-Play

Overwatch Devs Discuss Why The Game Is Coming To Switch And The Lack Of Cross-Play

Earlier this month, Nintendo & Blizzard revealed that Overwatch would finally be making the jump to the Nintendo Switch.

Following the announcement, gaming news outlet Eurogamer published an interview with Overwatch principal game producer Wes Yanagi and lead game producer Matthew Hawley about the new port.

During this interview, Yanagi and Hawley answered a number of questions about the game’s Switch port, including why they decided to bring the game over, as well as the lack of cross-progression from other versions.

You can find the full interview here, or check out the highlights below:

Why did you decide to port Overwatch to Switch?

Hawley: I’m super excited we’re on the Nintendo Switch platform, it brings a whole new way to play Overwatch. The gyroscopic aiming alone and being able to play on the couch internally has been a lot of fun, and I’m really excited for other people to get that opportunity as well.

Yanagi: I think for us it was a real eye-opening experience when we had our first play test in the play test lab, and people were actually facing each other and having a good time and making eye contact after you got revenge on a kill from somebody else!

Why did you decide to include motion controls? Are they optional?

Yanagi: They are optional. I think when we did a little bit of research into some of the other games, it was really popular, and Nintendo also encouraged us to investigate into doing it. So we put it together, and the motion controls are actually super interesting.

We have one designer on the team who uses it in a really unique way that I personally hadn’t tried before, most of the time I think people instinctively use it kind of to tilt the Switch or tilt the controller and give fine-tuning aim, and this designer actually used it detached. The right Joy-Con he points at the screen kind of like a pointer, like an old Wii-mote, and then you have really really accurate tracking that way, and you use the other Joy-Con normally. I started trying experimenting with that and it’s actually really, really eye-opening how good you can get using it in that mode.

About the game’s performance, it was reported the game is going to be 30fps on Switch. Is this true? And what were the technical challenges involved in this porting the game?

Yanagi: So really what we wanted to do when we started this whole thing was to really deliver on that authentic Overwatch experience. Our goal was making sure it could run smoothly and look the way that we’re happy with. So, it runs at 30fps, docked at 900p and un-docked at 720p, and it runs really smoothly. I think when you play it, and you get your hands on it, you just go, yeah I’m playing Overwatch.

Something that’s come up a lot since the announcement is the idea of cross-platform progression, a few games have introduced cross save, which Overwatch obviously doesn’t have yet. Is there a possibility that you’d bring that to the Switch? What are the technical limitations of that sort of feature?

Hawley: Cross play and cross progression are something we’ve learned a lot about in the last couple of years, particularly looking at our other game Hearthstone, which has multiplatform support. We don’t have anything specific to talk about today, other than say there are business and technical challenges to getting all that to work correctly. Our focus really has been just trying to get Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch so we can have all new ways to play and welcome the Nintendo community into the Overwatch community.

Is cross save something you’d want to look into in the future? Is it something Blizzard has thought about with Overwatch?

Hawley: Yeah, I mean this is something we’ve talked about, the industry’s been evolving on this in the last couple of years and we’ve been actively monitoring and paying attention to what’s been going on, we’re just not in a place yet from a technical or a business side that we can make any sort of commitment on that front.

Overwatch launches for Nintendo Switch on October 15th 2019.

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