Paladins, a team based shooter from the developers of Smite and Tribe Ascend, entered open beta a couple of days ago. While that would usually be a great thing, I mean who doesn't love having more competition in the shooter genre, things became a bit heated when people realized that many of the Paladins characters share a similar playstyle to their Overwatch counterparts.
For example, Paladins features a medieval techno-knight that carries around a giant blue shield and charges at people, a short but bulky engineer that shoots molten lava and builds turrets, a character that flies around and shoots rockets from above, and so forth. The similarities between these characters and the ones from Overwatch are quite apparent, there's no denying that, but at the end of the day they are still their own characters with their own unique twists on the formula. And yet the backlash apparently got so large that Hi-Rez was forced to make a rather lengthy post detailing the history of Paladins throughout its development.
You can find the full post by heading over to the Paladins subreddit. While its unfortunate Hi-Rez had to go through all of this trouble to prove their point, I'm still glad they decided to do so because it gives us a bit of an insider look into the world of game design, and that is always exciting to see!
As for their post, I do agree that the Paladins characters are not a straight up ripoff of Overwatch given that they use mechanics and playstyles I've seen in numerous previous games. However, the fact remains that some of the visual elements are so similar to Overwatch that I just can't believe they didn't take a little sneak peek in order to bring them over. The techno-knight I mentioned before quite literally carries around Reinhardt's shield, even though in the alpha video they showed him carrying around a standard knight's shield! The same goes for the Paladins version of Roadhog, the turtle with a chain hook that looks and feels exactly like the hogmeister's.
Does any of this matter? Not in the slightest! Games copy and learn from each other all the time, and this isn't something that should be vilified or yelled at. This is how concepts evolve and we gain new and better things. Whether Paladins will ever become better than Overwatch, that's a discussion I have no interest in partaking in, but as I said at the very beginning I am always happy to see more competition pop up because it means both games are going to have to improve in order to keep up. And at the end of the day, that is in everyone's best interest.