Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan addressed Friday concerns about a recent lack of responses from the development team on the Overwatch forums.
A thread on the official Overwatch forums discussing the recent lack of “blue posts” — direct responses from members of Overwatch’s development team — gained traction as the poster pondered if the dev team is too small to address all of the concerns for the game in a timely manner. Hot button topics like the recent rework of Mercy being over-balanced or the slow repair rate of bugs seems to have exacerbated the perception that the team is overwhelmed. Kaplan responded by apologizing and describing his past two weeks
“Two weeks ago, I was offsite all week without posting access (I cannot make forum posts from my phone for security reasons),” he wrote. “The week after that, I came into the office one hour later than I normally do (I was feeling extremely fatigued and rather than waking up at 5:40 a.m. like I do most days, I woke up at 6:30 a.m.). The end result was that for two weeks I haven’t posted at my normal rate. I apologize that it’s been a quiet two weeks but that doesn’t mean that we — the OW team — haven’t been working just as hard as we always do and are not dedicated to making this game great.”
The illustration that Kaplan wanted to drive home seemed to be one of a group of dedicated people who are “far more critical” than most of the players, and work every day to realize their vision. The added community interaction — a role in which Kaplan himself has been an active participant — isn’t required, but Kaplan has put forth the effort to make sure the community knows the developers are listening.
Kaplan stressed the development team refuses to put barriers between them and the community, whether it be “online handles or layers of community managers and PR spokespeople,” opting to use their real names. But that direction doesn’t come without its fair share of risks.
“And if you’ll allow me to speak openly for a moment — it’s scary,” he wrote. “Overall, the community is awesome to us. But there are some pretty mean people out there. All of our developers are free to post on these forums. Very few of us actually do because it’s extremely intimidating and/or time consuming. It’s very easy to post the wrong thing and make a ‘promise’ to the community that no one intended to make. Once we say we’re working on something, we’re not allowed to ‘take it back.'”
Kaplan ended his address that he will continue to take part in open communication with the community, asked for player feedback to continue, and thanked the players for their patience.