Overwatch Tournaments are hard to watch as a spectator. It’s something Blizzard’s known for a while: There’s just something about the fast-paced gameplay and brightly colored heroes that encourages confusion.
In a new video update, Jeff “MLG Pro Strats” Kaplan announced a suite of esports tools that Blizzard will debut as part of the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon. The goal is to streamline the game’s interface so that viewers can effortlessly understand who’s winning and losing
There are five core parts of Overwatch’s upcoming esports suite:
- In-game team uniforms. Beginning at the World Cup, all teams will have uniforms in different colors depending on whether they’re the home or away team. Depending on who you’re watching, the HUD will match, as will visual effects and explosions. “We want to make it super obvious which player and team you’re watching at all times,” said Kaplan.
- A top-down interactive map for broadcasters. Broadcasters will be able to pull this map up over the action and observe where everybody is, how much ult charge they have, whether or not they’re stunned, and things like that. In theory, this one is for commentary folks and observers—the people on the other side of the camera—but Kaplan said broadcasters have the option of showing it to viewers and thinks it can be really useful that way, too. “We’ve had our observers and casters out here to work with it,” said Kaplan. “They say it makes their job a lot easier.”
- A third-person “smart” camera. This is a third-person camera that knows where action is taking place and smooths it out so that it’s not all herky-jerky like when a person is moving it. “It knows where the action is at all times and is smartly following that action,” said Kaplan.
- Instant replay tools. Broadcasters will be able to select any moment from the killfeed, reposition the camera, time-scale it, and basically make it look really good and readable. In theory, this will make it much easier for commentators and analysts to break down plays.
- An automated tournament interface. This will allow tournament organizers to set up matches with little chance of human error. It also means that if a player disconnects mid-match, the game will auto-pause and hopefully, once they’ve reconnected, be able to resume right where the action left off.