Paladins – it’s a bit like Overwatch, eh? They’re both team shooters, both have a cartoon-like visual style, and they even share some characters that are almost identical: hammer man, archer person, mech pilot, etc. These comparisons, it turns out, have actually benefited Paladins, says Todd Harris, COO of developers Hi-Rez Studios.
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At first, Hi-Rez were a bit worried about the competition, of course. This is Blizzard, among the biggest PC developers in the world, after all. “When you see a studio of that quality release something in the same genre it’s worrisome,” Harris tells us during a recent interview. “But after we got over that we decided we’d focus on the elements that we thought were super important to our game, and again the community digs it.”
Since then, the mood has changed. Paladins has the advantage of being free-to-play and also being available on Steam – two facts that have combined to see the Hi-Rez shooter often jump into the top ten most played list on Valve’s digital distribution platform.
We wondered if Hi-Rez believed any of this success was tied to it being a free-to-play game similar to Overwatch, accessible on Steam, so we asked if the Overwatch comparisons had been beneficial.
“I think from a market standpoint they have, yeah,” Harris admits. “I think there’s some natural competitive religious wars that go on in fandom, right? And so Blizzard did such and excellent job in educating people about the team shooter category, even though there had been other team shooters before, that the more people that are aware that there’s such a thing as team shooters and they can be fun, that created opportunities for multiple developers and that includes us with Paladins.”
Some of Paladins’ players may have even checked the game out, out of sheer curiosity, to see how close the two games are, sticking around when they realised they actually enjoyed it. We asked Harris if he thought this was the case.
“I think that’s right,” he replies. “Some people just come because they’ve seen internet drama and ultimately what will make people stick around is good gameplay, and fortunately again numbers don’t lie, people seem to like what they see!”