The Overwatch Fan Festival is taking place for 2 days, from August 22nd to 23rd, in Seoul, South Korea, to celebrate the release of the Busan map and the animated short, “Shooting Star” which features D.Va and her backstory. Not only does the festival include several entertaining events, such as a cosplay contest, talk shows with the developers and voice actors, and an event match between pro gamers, it also provides photo booths where fans can get their pictures taken with their favorite Overwatch heroes, freebies event, Overwatch stores & personal markets where Overwatch merchandise and handmade goods are sold, and much more.
The festival also features special guests from Blizzard such as Jeff Kaplan, the game director for Overwatch and vice president of Blizzard Entertainment, as well as senior game producer Matthew Hawley, and principal designer Scott Mercer; additional guests include concept artist David Kang and Overwatch project director Ben Dai.
The following is our interview with Scott Mercer and Ben Dai.
The situation D.Va is placed in is not the same as outsiders see it. It’s strange that there seems to be only a few number of soldiers in the force.
Ben: There are more in the force protecting Busan, although we didn’t get to show the rest of the force in the animated short due to limited budget and time. Also, the MEKA force stops the omnics every single time at the frontline.
Also, how the news showed D.Va’s situation in a different light than how it actually is like was done on purpose. It was to show D.Va succeeding in protecting the city for a good public image; although she pays a big price every time she goes into battle, it is made to look easy on the surface because she is a hero. At the beginning of the short, the rest of the squad was down because their mechs were under repair. She was the only one available at the time the omnics attacked.
The new Gridironhardt skin for Reinhardt has different voice lines from other skins, which created a balance issue in Competitive play. What are your thought on this?
Scott: We’ve heard about this just recently. This is a critical issue and some people at the office right now are looking into it.
It was unfortunate that there weren’t details on the process she went through to become a soldier from a pro gamer. Will the fans be able to see more of it in future?
Ben: This was Michael Chu’s idea. The members of the MEKA force were selected from a group of people with special talents, not just esports stars. D.Va was picked for her fast APM and good hand-eye coordination. It was important for D.Va to protect her country and she was proud to provide her service.
Did you only consider Busan because of D.Va, or did you consider other places when developing the new map.
Scott: There were many locations that would be great to make into maps in Overwatch, although the main reason we chose Busan was because the storyline was about omnics attacking from the coast. Busan is also a very beautiful place so it seemed natural to choose it.
What did you hope to show players in the Busan map during its development?
Scott: That traditional Korean culture is beautiful; on the other hand, we tried to also reflect modern Korea as it takes place in the future. We chose Busan because it was the MEKA base, but I think there are small details which D.Va fans will be able to enjoy.
The ‘Gwui-shin‘, the omnics from the animated short look similar to sentinels from the Matrix, although it goes well with the image that comes with the word. What was the concept you had when developing the ‘Gwui-shin’?
Ben: First, it was hard to decide the name. We chose ‘Gwui-shin’ because it means ghost in Korean, which we thought was nice because they are sneaky and stealthy. They didn’t show up on the radar until they came up close in “Shooting Star”. Also, the omnic factory is located underwater so we asked the concept artist to draw something that has an aquatic design, from which the small flying ship that looks like a squid caught our eyes. It may seem similar to the sentinel from the Matrix because of the tentacles but it’s different as it can transform into a battle mode and a flying mode.
Scott: We wanted to make D.Va’s skills look amazing in the animated short during the making of “Shooting Star”, and one of the skills was D.Va’s Defense Matrix. So we had to have the ‘Gui-shin’ omnics shoot missiles, which influenced the outcome of its design.