It was a common assumption that Overwatch, Blizzard's team-based online FPS, would be free-to-play. Blizzard hadn't actually said one way or the other prior to BlizzCon, but it felt like Heroes of the Storm had set a precedent, and as that's how things are generally done these days there didn't seem to be any good reason for Overwatch to buck the trend. Of course, buck the trend is exactly what it did, with the news that Overwatch will be released in three editions, ranging from $40 to $130 in price, each containing the same 21 playable characters and set of maps.
It's a situation that not everyone is entirely happy with. A number of threads on the Overwatch subreddit express concern (quite crossly, in many cases) that Blizzard intends to charge full price for the game and then release new models, maps, and other such content as paid DLC down the line, much as free-to-play games typically do. There have also been complaints that Blizzard has been dodging questions about its plans for the future of the game. But Game Director Jeff Kaplan has insisted that isn't the case. In an interview with us here at BlizzCon today, he said:
"That's very upsetting to me, because dodging to me would be, 'We have a definitive answer and a definitive plan and we just don't want to tell you what it is yet,' and that's absolutely not the case. We're not sure if and when and how we're going to add new heroes to the game at all."
"I think there was a misconception that went around early on—and I'm not sure how this came about—that you would get 21 heroes when the game launched, but there would be a 'hero store' with other heroes for sale at launch also, and that just couldn't be further from the truth," he continued. "There was also a misconception that we would be selling maps, and we've never had any intention of selling maps."
And even though Blizzard hasn't fully nailed down its post-launch plans for Overwatch, Kaplan told us it's "clearly not" going to adopt a Heroes of the Storm-style business model.
Our complete Overwatch interview with Kaplan and Creative Director Chris Metzen will be up tomorrow. Until then, dig into our hands-on preview with Overwatch and find out why the game's new characters "are the missing pieces of the puzzle."
[EDIT: The full interview is now up, and we've embedded the video in the story above.]