While Blizzard is wrapping up Overwatch’s 2019 Archives event, fans won’t have to wait long for the next addition to the game. In a developer update posted Wednesday, game director Jeff Kaplan shared details on the upcoming Workshop mode, which gives players tools to prototype their own heroes and build their own game modes.
Kaplan describes the Workshop as a “scripting mode that will allow you to make custom game modes within the custom game browser.” Players can already create their own custom rule sets, but the Workshop will be a far more robust system for players to set up and distribute their own spins on Overwatch. Players will have access to some of the same tools as the developers and programmers to make “whatever they could come up with, wherever their imaginations would take them.”
This could take custom Overwatch matches beyond the standard of Wrecking Ball brawls or Ana paintball matches, and allow for some interesting spins on the core Overwatch formula. Blizzard is no stranger to giving fans power for custom game modes. Both the StarCraft and Warcraft franchises have had map editors that gave rise to popular custom game modes, including Defense of the Ancients.
Kaplan gave a few examples of modes Blizzard has offered as a starting point, including a Molten Floor mode where touching the floor causes damage to heroes, powerful enhancements to existing fan-made Hide and Seek modes, and Mirror Deathmatch, which swaps the entire pool of players over to the same character on a one-minute rotation.
The Workshop will also come with a Workshop Inspector, which is a custom debugger that will allow players to test their project and see why certain errors may be happening. Kaplan said he hopes that this allows players to pursue their game development dreams with an easy starting point. “Maybe you’ll realize that you, too, could be a game developer someday, and you can make really cool stuff,” he said.
The Workshop will not allow custom geography or imported art, but Kaplan describes it as an “extremely powerful” tool. Work created in the Workshop on the PTR will be able to saved and transferred to live servers.
The Workshop will be available for both PC and consoles, and Blizzard think that the system will appeal most to people who have programming backgrounds or experience with scripting engines. That being said, Blizzard has developed the Workshop to make it as accessible as possible, and it intends to host a special forum for further feedback, questions, and inquiries. More details about the Workshop are available at the Overwatch website.