This is how concept artists at Blizzard work on Overwatch

Overwatch is currently one of the most popular hero shooters on the market. With Overwatch 2 The video game not only gets RPG elements, but also a lot more story than before. The Overwatch universe gets even more depth with the sequel and could appeal to more players who otherwise have little fun with shooters.

But what does Overwatch do (buy now € 44.90 ) so successful? Gameplay is certainly an important point, but there is one thing that makes Overwatch distinctive – and it's design. A large development team implements the ideas of numerous concept artists every day to make Overwatch more colorful and diverse. On the official Blizzard blog Concept Artis Daryl Tan chats about his work on Overwatch. According to Daryl, design is often about combining the ideas of the different artists into one concept and then implementing the whole thing as true to the original as possible for the game. He has to convince his teammates and the players alike.

At first, concept artist Daryl Tan doesn't even mention the word "art" when describing his work. "I'm a seller of ideas," he says. And so are all the other concept artists on the Overwatch team. It is their job to get a lot of people – inside and outside of Blizzard – excited about their ideas. When players encounter creative work, they need to be persuaded to overcome their disbelief. In order to immerse people in another world, artists need to create believable details and ensure that their work retains its essence in the development process. And so the Overwatch team – armed with Photoshop and a talent for 2D illustrations – takes care of the implementation.

It's not an easy job, after all, new character designs and redesigns of already known Overwatch heroes are a real challenge! Daryl Tan says the following about this:

Conveying realism and credibility is also central when changing characters that players already know. When concept artists work on skins, their ideas are based on familiar components – Qiu takes objects with recognition value and then mixes them with elements of the futuristic aesthetic of Overwatch, such as mechanical joints or LED lights. "In the end, large elements tend to end up at the top of characters so they can be seen from a great distance – only when you get closer do you see all the details."

Overwatch: Blizzard introduces the work of Overwatch concept artists on the blog (1) (Source: Blizzard)

Reconnecting familiar visual elements obviously poses challenges. Overwatch skins shouldn't radically alter the silhouette of a character – otherwise you won't see who you're facing! And for some skins there are also animation restrictions. The movement of characters like Pharah or Reinhardt is influenced by the mechanical joints of their armor. If this were not taken into account with a skin, the entire behavior of the character would have to be revised, not just the look. The players would have problems recognizing the character. These technical limitations often lead to silly ideas when artists mix futuristic aesthetics, memorable symbolism, and recognizability of gameplay. Qiu's favorite example? The "honeydew melon" skin for Mei.

You will also find out how the Overwatch graphics team dealt with COVID-19 and how much the pandemic changed their work in the official article. Come and have a look, it's worthwhile!

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