During Blizzcon this past weekend, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan offered a rare look at some early footage of Overwatch before it had grown into the polished competitive shooter gracing eSports events today.
The video itself goes back as far into development as September 2013 and shows the evolution of the game on through 2013 and 2014 as the team started to toy with visual effects, character abilities, and early levels. It's an especially interesting look at the competitive multiplayer game since, by Kaplan's own admission, Blizzard doesn't typically release footage of its early progress or prototypes.
The video includes short peeks at the very first time Blizzard rendered objects in Overwatch's engine and the game's first playtest, during which only one member of its now robust roster was playable.
But what makes this video especially interesting is the commentary offered by Kaplan throughout. He explains why certain decisions were made regarding level, character, and UI design as the game itself evolves throughout the video.
One particularly interesting tidbit covers how the character Hanzo's moving, area-of-effect ultimate ability took shape over the course of development, starting first as a trail of spheres affectionately named "the caterpillar" and eventually becoming the twin dragons used in the final game.