The Games that Defined the Decade: Overwatch

December 01, 2019 2 min read

[Editor's Note: What a decade this has been. It's too soon to say how it will compare to those of the past, but the past 10 years have been phenomenal for the video game industry. We've seen the meteoric rise of the indie developer and mobile gaming, the birth and death of the toys-to-life concept, and the emergence of gaming as permanent mainstream entertainment. With the proliferation of Twitch, we have own celebrities, lifestyle brands, and professional gaming leagues.

You no longer have to play games to enjoy the culture, but hundreds of millions still do because this past decade has given players some truly phenomenal pieces of entertainment. Many games released between 2010 and 2019 will be enjoyed well for years to come, but to mark the dawn of a new decade, Destructoid is looking at those games that were not only fun to play but were the games that defined the past 10 years. Whether they introduced genres or perfected what was already there, over the next week we'll be highlighting those titles that best exemplify what gaming was in the last decade. And we start with a title that almost ended up as something completely different.]

The origins of Overwatch can be traced back to 2007 when Blizzard, flush with cash from its monster hit World of Warcraft, began work on its second MMO. Dubbed "Titan," the project would be a new IP for the company and would focus on characters fighting across a sci-fi version of Earth. Unlike WoW, this game would be a class-based, first-person shooter. The existence of "Titan" was confirmed by Blizzard as early as 2008, but most details about the project were never made public. The game was said to be ambitious, with more than a decade worth of support planned for it, but the development team struggled to get the project and all of its ideas to coalesce. After a reported reboot of "Titan" in a last ditch attempt to save it, the game was officially canceled in 2014.

Out of its ashes and ideas arose another game, one that just might be superior to whatever "Titan" was shaping up to be. A small number of developers working on the project were given a short deadline to think of something new. With assets from the canceled project and an admiration for Team Fortress 2, Jeff Kaplan and his team developed the pitch for Overwatch, a hero shooter featuring an eclectic set of characters fighting it out on a sci-fi version of Earth. 

Overwatch was announced less than a year after "Titan's" cancellation was confirmed. The trailer announcing the project -- made with that impeccable Blizzard animation -- whet the appetites of millions of fans. An open beta prior to launch attracted roughly 10 million players to give the game a go. Upon release, it was met with critical acclaim and had more than 10 million players moving payloads and protecting points by June of 2016. In 2019, Overwatch's player base topped 50 million players.

The Games that Defined the Decade: Overwatch screenshot