Overwatch Dev Admit It’s “Not Very Good at ARGs,” Following Sombra Reveal Criticism

Overwatch hero designer Geoff Goodman has discussed Blizzard’s controversial approach to unveiling its latest hero, Sombra, saying the negative feedback it received is “fair.”

Sombra’s official reveal at Blizzcon 2016 was preceded by an alternate reality game (ARG) in which fans followed clues, solved puzzles, and waited for countdown timers to expire to repeat the process. The protracted hacking-themed ARG quickly gave rise to a negative sentiment around the reveal.

“We were definitely taking the feedback,” Goodman said, speaking to Kotaku. “I think it was fair, the feedback. We’re not very good at ARGs. We’ve never done one before.”

Part of the issue was the ARG was designed to serve as a breadcrumb trail leading to the Blizzcon reveal. However, the community developed an expectation that their efforts would be rewarded more immediately, which wasn’t the case. Despite this, Goodman was positive about the end result.

“Overall, I think [the reveal] was a success,” he said. “We got to show off Sombra in ways that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. People get an idea of who she is and a little bit of her personality before we even unveiled her.”

Sombra is a hacker with a penchant for mischief, so the somewhat irksome nature of the ARG is in line with her characterisation. Nevertheless, Goodman admitted the timing of the ARG could have been better.

“I think the biggest thing was the timing maybe could have been better on it,” he said. “That was the biggest lesson … [The community was] just on the ball every time. I think that made those windows a little longer than the others might have been.”

Sombra joins the Overwatch hero roster as an offensive stealth type. Her hacking abilities make her particularly adept at subterfuge. She’s able to take control of enemy turrets, disable health packs, and her Ultimate is an electromagnetic pulse that destroys barriers and shields.

For a detailed breakdown of Sombra’s backstory and her gameplay abilities, read our previous report on the character. You can find all the biggest news from Blizzcon 2016 in the list below.

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