Doomfist Is A Prime Example Of Blizzard’s Games For Gamers Design Philosophy

Nearly 3 years after his name was first uttered by ‘punch kid’ in 2014, Doomfist has finally fisted (please don’t let me write that again) his way into the world of Overwatch. The Talon brawler will break through the PTR into live servers on July 27th. 

He’s a dynamic melee hero, utilising mobility and a series of interchangeable punch based abilities to dive enemies and combo his way into our hearts. A love letter to classic 2d fighter games, Doomfist isn’t the first hero to pay homage to the developer’s gaming roots. Pharah began with a simple idea, jet packs and rockets, the inspiration from Quake and Tribes is clear. If you can’t see the kind of characters Torbjorn is based on then you’ve been living in a strange non-gaming bubble.

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Overwatch has seen comparisons to Team Fortress 2 time and time again – Photo – RTGame

Doomfist is the epitome of a game design process at Blizzard that aims to create games for the gamers. It’s Blizzard’s engagement with its community that drives their design process. Doomfist has been one of the most anticipated heroes since before Overwatch even saw release. According to the Overwatch team, Doomfist wasn’t even in development until the community started demanding the character. Doomfist was originally just a name dropped in a trailer, a cool villain title thrown out there just to sound cool. It did sound cool. What’s not cool about a gauntlet that could level a skyscraper? An enemy that locked heads with Overwatch. A mysterious figure that Talon agents were seemingly working for.  Frequent developer updates from Jeff Kaplan, and

Frequent developer updates from Jeff Kaplan let us as the gamer know that the Overwatch team care about engaging with the community. Clear communication on reddit and across the official forums help us to understand their thought process behind changes to the game. They even engage with all the memes and parody videos that get made.

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Jeff Kaplan responding to an AMA question on Reddit about the Dinoflask videos.

It’s no wonder that a team so in touch with their players basically created a character just because the community wanted it so badly. It’s fascinating getting an insight into their development process with videos like the one featured above. To take a name and the community hype behind that name and to create the hero everyone wanted from just those two things, is a testament to the Overwatch team’s design process.

There were calls for Terry Crews to voice Doomfist, or maybe even to voice a sentient version of his gauntlet. However, here is where Blizzard stuck to their own guns. Akande ‘Doomfist’ Ogundimu is of Nigerian descent, his fighting style is based on traditional African fighting styles. It made little sense to have him voiced by Crews. Even Crews himself acknowledges Blizzard’s decision. Saying “It’s funny because when I went down to Blizzard and we were talking about possibilities I realised that I don’t wanna be the guy that hijacks a game, you know? The creators have a vision and I didn’t want to mess that up.”

The Overwatch team have given fans every reason to trust their decision making. Sure some nerfs and buffs may ruffle feathers, but by and large, the team is making consistently good decisions. They surely have a great team of game designers, but it’s undeniable that their x-factor is their community engagement.

 

 

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