An essential part of any successful esport is a spectating camera. MOBAs like Dota 2 and League of Legends and fighting games like Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros. Melee luck out in this regard: the standard playing view works very well as a spectator view.
For first-person shooters like Overwatch, it becomes a bit of a challenge. How do you show the full context of both 6-person teams when the game is built to be seen through one player’s first-person perspective?
Usually the answer is to build a full spectating system with an overhead camera, and it seems like that’s where Overwatch is heading.
Overwatch streamer Brandon "Seagull" Larned interviewed principal designer Scott Mercer on his stream, and among the many topics they went over was the spectator camera in esports.
Seagull: [cut off] spectating features, or improvements you guys have talked about in terms of esports?
Mercer: We’re doing all kinds of stuff for spectator mode. We’re doing a lot of, like, camera work, we’re doing a lot of stuff with replays. That’s another thing, we’re working on that too, chat, because replays are actually a really cool thing for esports broadcasting, you can do stuff like being able to do really cool instant replays, and not just do it from like the player’s view, but actually do an instant replay where we can like move the camera around.
Seagull: Like a full replay where you can have full control of any point in the game.
Mercer: Yeah, being able to go back and say “Alright, this Tracer made this awesome Pulse Bomb play, let’s go back in time to like look at that.” But don’t just look at it from Tracer’s view, move the camera around so we can actually get an awesome view and see all the carnage perfectly framed. There’s stuff like that, we’re doing a lot of clean-up.
Mercer also mentioned the possibility of adding team colors to better differentiate separate squads in the hectic fray of Overwatch battle.
These changes might be ready in time for Blizzcon in early November, so get ready!