Overwatch gets an FOV slider after all

Overwatch Soldier: 76

Back in March, Blizzard said its upcoming team-based FPS Overwatch would have a fixed field of view [FOV]: 60 degrees vertically, and about 92 degrees horizontally, maintaining a 16:9 aspect ratio. Locking the FOV, a rep explained on Reddit [via PCGamesN], was intended to "avoid creating a situation of 'Haves and Have-nots,' where those who are aware of the slider are able to gain an advantage over those who aren't."

Widening a game's horizontal FOV beyond its default setting lets a player see more of what's going on around him, including enemy combatants who would otherwise be outside the field of vision. Conversely, dramatically tightening the FOV can serve as a sort of DIY sniper scope, although I suppose that may have fallen out of vogue now that most precision weapons already have one. (The old Q2 railgun, the impetus of my FOV experimentation, did not.) Screen distortion can be an issue, but even a relatively small increase, say to 110 or 120 degrees, offers a significant competitive advantage while keeping the game entirely playable.

Unfortunately, an adjustable FOV also helps a lot of gamers who deal with motion sickness in FPSes. It's enough of an issue that Treyarch made mention of it regarding Black Ops 3, Turtle Rock patched one into Evolve, and a fan modded one into Grand Theft Auto 5. And now Blizzard has reversed course, and added one to Overwatch.

"We’ve implemented the FOV slider to provide players with options in consideration of aiming preferences, viewmodels, dizziness and nausea," a rep said. "We are constantly fine-tuning the game, and will remain open to feedback as testing continues."

It's not really surprising that changes like this are being made—Overwatch won't even be in beta until sometime in the fall—but it's still a laudable move. Find out more about what Blizzard's got cooking in our hands-on from February.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.