Home Television From phenomenon to… failure? – Q30 television

From phenomenon to… failure? – Q30 television


To put it simply, the initial version of Surveillance was a phenomenon we hadn’t seen in the gaming community for a very long time. For anyone who knows a thing or two about video games and gaming culture, this comes as no surprise to you. You know the memes, the Overwatch League, Jeff Kaplan, the Tracer controversy, High Noons, and endless Symmetra redesigns. It’s all fun and this first year of release was amazing… but the further we get from release, the more cracks we see in Overwatch almost perfect formula. In this article, we’ll dive into the key factors behind its astonishing success and follow it to where we are today. I want to focus on anything but the incredibly polished gameplay, because its other key strengths go beyond just being a great video game that has amassed over 50 million players.

Surveillance is a team-based globetrotting first-person shooter that boasted a colorful cast of 21 different characters (called heroes) upon release. This is how you play; you are in a team of six against another team of six in a nearby world. Your objective varies from map to map, but it usually involves capturing an objective or moving a payload to a map or both. Each character belongs to 3 classes that you can choose from for your team (2 players of each class on your team), Tank, Damage and Support.

Source: Blizzard

Each hero is equipped with different weapons, abilities, lore, skins, voice lines, emotes, and more. These characters were absolutely essential to the success of the game. Diversity, especially in games, is a huge thing to address. Few do as well as Surveillance in this department. Symmetra is an Indian architect with autism who dreams of creating the world’s first utopia…by any means necessary. Zenyatta is a super-advanced robot (referred to as “Omnics” in Overwatch) and a Nepalese monk devoted to finding peace and a better understanding of life. Doomfist is a Nigerian terrorist who believes his actions can be used to strengthen humanity. They’re just three characters that have their own backgrounds and motivations, and they’re just parts of their story. I didn’t even mention Genji, the Japanese cyborg-ninja, Baptiste, the Haitian spec-ops combat medic. People from all walks of life came Surveillance because all walks of life were represented. Unlike many other first-person shooters, this game has attracted a large fan base of women and the LGBTQ community. Even though characters like the aforementioned Doomfist, as well as Reaper, Moira, and Widowmaker, are just plain evil characters, there’s a certain charisma or tragic backstory to connect to.

Speaking of backstory, let’s look at another gaming hit: animated shorts. Overwatch’s animation team released what they called “Cinematics” every few months. These were designed to show traditions and introduce some characters. They had to tell them a compelling story in just a few minutes. These cutscenes were immensely popular, earning over 10 million views each, and even garnered critical acclaim from news publications and even the Webby Awards (the Oscars of online media). Many journalists have compared their best short films like The last stronghold and Dragons to the likes of Pixar, and fans have been asking for an Overwatch movie for as long as cutscenes have existed. But after looking at these reactions to the short and the amount of success they’ve had… was inadvertently a catalyst for Overwatch’s decline in popularity.

Building a fan base solely on the story/characters and not the actual game left a lot of pressure on the development team. Fans, myself included, criticized Surveillance for its lack of progression in its ongoing story since 2016. We have seen a significant drop in film production. For some reason on the dev side we’ve seen future storylines like whatever Doomfist/Talon is up to with Null Sector or whatever Zayra has to do with Volskaya Industries left entirely untouched. Our last cinematic was in 2019. All of these colorful heroes are huge draws to the game, and we’ve always had 2-3 a year… but we haven’t had a new one since 2020. I didn’t even mention the lack new maps, game modes and the “stunning meta”. Many people I know stopped playing during this time because they felt the game was “dead” and there was no new content/stories to chew on.

From what I understand, it’s for several reasons: the pandemic, of course, the Activision mergers and Microsoft acquisitions, and all that corporate nonsense that is sure to get in the way of creative management . Another is that it’s a six-year-old game and people are getting bored. But two big reasons are the massive sexual assault scandal within Blizzard Entertainment, which has had major internal ramifications, including walkouts, state of California lawsuits, and massive internal ramifications on the company ( I strongly suggest read about it). The other reason is that they were forced to create Monitor 2.

Although not officially stated, I feel that constantly updating the game was not enough to bring back lost players and become culturally relevant again. They must have felt they had to switch brands Surveillance and in doing so had to move the update team Surveillance in creation Monitor 2 full time. Hence, creating a severe lack of content for current gamers. Depending on the success of Overwatch 2, we’re about to see in real time if all that hard work over the past few years pays off. As a fan, it almost seems like the whole franchise is at stake here after keeping us waiting so long for what could very well be a huge flop.

The fact is that today (the time of publication) marks the sixth anniversary of Surveillance. Since its release, it was the first game I played after saving for my own computer. I used this to create my high school Esports team and even coached my own Overwatch team. Thanks to this, I made a lot of friends and met great people. I’m now just a devoted fan who loved the game and its story after all this time. After the Activision/Blizzard scandal, it was hard to reopen the game. It was even harder to watch the game’s fanbase crumble and lose the sense that everyone was having fun together. I just want people to love my game again and I want to share that love with others. But for that to happen, the game has to love its fans back.