Screen Critics Charles takes a look at claims that Paladins is a clone of Blizzard’s insanely popular Overwatch. What do you think?
Thanks to the success of Blizzard’s Overwatch, there’s a fresh slew of hero multiplayer shooters on the market. To the casual eye, these are hugely similar and looking to ride the coattails of Blizzard’s juggernaut. But in the case of Paladins, I can’t help but feel these accusations are somewhat misguided – dare I even say unfair. So I figured I’d take a look at Paladins for what it is, and explore why I personally don’t feel it’s an Overwatch clone.
The problem in the internet age of gaming is that disinformation spreads quickly. Who is going around misleading people, the answer? Hardcore Overwatch fanboys and fangirls. You may not want to believe me, you may even choose not to but I tell you it’s true, these fans have been leading disinformation campaigns about Paladins to convince people who Hi-Rez copied their beloved Overwatch, anyone who was already suspecting Hi-Rez of copying will gladly listen to the disinformation and spread it like wildfire to the rest of the community, their goal?, to get as many people to hate on Paladins for no reason other than to protect their precious game.
None of it makes any sense, when did genres become defined by a single game? People seem to be referring to Overwatch as the original and anything that comes after it is a pure rip-off, they are forgetting about all of the games that came before it, the games that paved the very path that modern-day games are walking on right now, as far as they are concerned, Overwatch started it all, until Overwatch there was nothing, well they are wrong and today I am going to prove, once and for all, that Paladins is not an Overwatch clone, let’s look at the facts, shall we?
What’s on the agenda?
Back in 2005, Hi-Rez began working on a game called Global Agenda, it was here that Paladins would eventually take its inspiration, Global Agenda was an MMO/Shooter, its three main sources of inspiration were Tribes, City of Heroes and, of course, Team Fortress 2. In 2010 the game was released and Hi-Rez soon discovered that they were a bit too ambitious and by 2012 they had begun to look into other projects, one of these projects turned into Smite, the other project was a game called Aurum.
Aurum was a fantasy style project, like Global Agenda, this project was the first inspiration for Paladins. It has the same cartoony/fantasy style that they decided to keep for Paladins, that is not all, there is also footage of a very early character akin to Fernando, toting a similar skill set to his current build, replacing his flamethrower with a sword, he has a shield that he holds in front of himself and he even has his charge, this eliminates the idea that Hi-Rez copied Reinhardt in my opinion.
Is Blizzard Innocent?
Why does Blizzard get left out of the equation here? Who gave them the monopoly on the team based shooter? Everyone attacks Paladins for copying Overwatch but what about the games and companies that Blizzard used for their inspiration, why do they have a get out of jail free card?
If we jump back in time and take a look at Global Agenda, there are a few classes that look familiar, a little too familiar:
- Female sniper with a poison trap– Widowmaker – Kinessa
- Male tank with a hammer and shield– Reinhardt – Fernando
- Male engineer with a shotgun, hammer and turret building- Torbjorn – Barik
- Female damage dealer with a jetpack, hover and a rocket launcher– Pharah – Drogoz
That last one takes the biscuit for me, even her visual design is uncanny, these are only a few of the classes and it is clear that Blizzard took inspiration from these characters, they are too similar to be a coincidence and these clips were from a game that started development in 2005, 9 years before Overwatch was even announced, Hi-Rez have stated that most of the abilities that are in Paladins can be found in Global Agenda, even classes like Ruckus were in a playable state in Paladins before Overwatch showed D.va.
The list still continues to grow as there are core mechanics that are shared between Overwatch and Paladins that were previously in Global Agenda, things like ultimates that build up and class structure, (tanks, support etc), even things like account and class levelling were in Global Agenda. Hi-Rez have said that it was not Overwatch that was their source of inspiration for Paladins, if anything, it was Team Fortress 2, they even said that there are a few elements seen in Overwatch that they liked and decided to incorporate into Paladins, for example, the kill cam, but just because they liked a feature and decided to use it does not mean that they ripped off an entire game.
There are even abilities in both that we have seen before either of them were around, for example, the hook. People have often said that Makoa copied Roadhog because he is a tank class with a hook, seriously? the hook has been around forever, many characters in many different games have a hook, Thresh from League of Legends, Pudge from Dota 2 and even Scorpion from Mortal Kombat has a hook/pull ability, so it is really nothing new. Games take mechanics that work – that doesn’t make them clones.
In my opinion, it’s unfair to say that Paladins is an Overwatch clone. Its style comes from a previous project and so do its classes and mechanics, Paladins is just an alternate version of Global Agenda, they just stripped down any dead weight and turned it from an MMO to a team based shooter, in reality, Overwatch is the more likely culprit of copying something, if you don’t believe me then just click those links and judge for yourself.
Before anyone starts to claim that I am just a Paladins fanboy, let me tell you something, I sit here writing this whilst donning an Overwatch T-shirt, an Overwatch cap sits on my head, an Overwatch necklace hangs loosely around my neck and over 300 hours logged in, but I think that Paladins is the better game.