Tech

‘Overwatch’ director Jeff Kaplan reveals his competitive rank and meme knowledge in Reddit AMA

Wrestle with Jeff, prepare for death.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan took to the Overwatch subreddit on Monday to answer fans’ burning questions about Blizzard’s hit game, giving the world some insights into hero inspirations, the development process and what Kaplan thinks of the community’s favorite meme videos.

Kaplan, who has become the face of Overwatch through developer update videos, feature and character introduction videos and his frequent appearances on the subreddits and forums, touched on a number of subjects in his Reddit AMA, and we’ve collected seven of the most interesting and funniest things that came out of it.

1. An Overwatch development documentary may be in the works

Redditor Undeadfish unveiled what may be the biggest news to come out of this AMA by suggesting to Kaplan that the community would like a look behind the scenes for how the development team creates heroes.

We would love to see a beginning to release documentary of how you guys create a hero. The temp audio and video for it, the iterations it goes through for abilities, etc. It would give people a chance to see everyone on your team and how a character comes together from a design side.

Kaplan gave a very promising (although very vague) response: "We have something for you!"

Unfortunately no other information came from Kaplan about this for the rest of the AMA — we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out.

2. Bastion used to shoot through walls

One Redditor asked Kaplan to talk more about hero development, so Kaplan wrote about how Bastion, everyone’s favorite killer robot, went through a ton of variations before the game was released.

The hero who had the most changes was Bastion. We used to tease that Bastion had the "ultimate of the week"… He had grenades, he had a remote mine, he could shoot through walls… yes BASTION COULD SHOOT THROUGH WALLS… he had an artillery volley… we just never could get it right. We were really pleased with the tank though. Transforming into another form really fit the character. It was way more work than any of the other abilities but it was worth it.

Could you imagine if, on top of everything else, Bastion could kill you through walls? No thanks.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Bastion, the other tank hero.

3. Tracer shot lasers through her eyes

It’s pretty well-known that Tracer was the first hero that was developed for Overwatch, inspired by a class the development team was making for the canceled project called Titan. But did you know she didn’t have guns when she was first made in Overwatch?

"The first hero we implemented was Tracer," he wrote. "We did not have any animations or gun models. So she shot laser beams from her eyes."

Sick.

4. Kaplan thinks Dinoflask’s videos are hilarious

Kaplan has talked a lot about Overwatch in his frequent developer update videos, and one YouTuber named Dinoflask has taken advantage of the vast vocabulary Kaplan has used on camera to make hilarious re-cuts that poke fun at Overwatch, its developers and its community.

When asked what he thought of Dinoflask’s videos, Kaplan said they’re hilarious.

He is super talented. The videos are hilarious. Obviously, I feel embarrassed when I see them. I mean, I am this middle-aged, awkward nerd with 0 points in charisma and really don’t belong on camera in any way, shape or form. But if I look at the videos objectively — like if they were of anyone but me — they are hilarious.

I always say that Dinoflask says what I wish I could really say (like that old Key and Peele skit with Obama’s translator).

Dinoflask commented with a reply: "Thank Jeff! Sorry to embarrass you so."

5. Kaplan knows talent when he sees it

When upcoming Overwatch hero Orisa was first teased, many Redditors on /r/Overwatch were speculating what she would look like. Redditor NickName241 shared their own early concept art of Orisa before she was revealed to see what Kaplan thought. Here’s the concept:

Kaplan, rendered near-speechless, replied with one word, "Amazing," along with a link to Blizzard’s career page. Clearly Kaplan liked what he saw.

6. Kaplan could reach diamond if he played more

When someone asked about Kaplan’s inclination for competitive Overwatch and where he ranked, he was happy to give some insight.

I like competitive a lot. I am a platinum player. I think I could get diamond (maybe?) if I played comp more. I tend to place at the start of a season and play 25-50 games past that and then go back to [Quick Play]/Arcade. I’ve been playing a decent amount this season. I placed around 2700.

He elaborated on what he likes and doesn’t like about competitive Overwatch.

Most comp games are fun because people play smarter, tend to care more and cooperate. I really wish people wouldn’t tilt so hard in team chat though. I understand how frustrating the game can be when things aren’t going your way, but I wish people would stop for a second and not say that mean thing in team chat… it doesn’t do anyone any good. Everyone always looks at us to solve the toxicity problem with some magical game design fix (one that has not yet been invented by any online game thus far)… anonymity does weird things to humanity. I fear for the zombie apocalypse.

We feel you Kaplan, we feel you.

7. Kaplan reads the subreddit all day every day

Kaplan was asked how much he frequents the /r/Overwatch subreddit and it turns out he does so quite a lot.

"I read this subreddit all day long, on and off, from when I take my dogs out in the morning till when I take them out at night," he wrote.

He also frequents other Overwatch subreddits like /r/CompetitiveOverwatch.

Bonus: Senpai noticed

Obligatory.

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