What the most important aspect of developing an online game right now? According to Overwatch executive producer Chacko Sonny, the answer is player engagement.
During an extensive interview with Gamasutra, Sonny revealed that player engagement is at the core of everything the Overwatch team is doing -- and if you're building an online game of your very own, that means it should be at the centre of your world too.
It "drives everything," he says, explaining it allows for iteration by creating a window into the minds of players, and on a more practical level, helps to keep the lights on by facilitating monetisation. In short then, engagement is the great big combustion engine that keeps Overwatch moving forward.
"Every game has different things that they do to create deep engagement, and for us that North Star has always been incredible characters with deep relatable storylines, with action and gameplay that’s super accessible, but has that sort of deep mastery," he commented.
"So you see this regular cadence we have of heroes and maps that continue over time. Even for players that may have lapsed, we want them to come back. We hope there are people who see Ashe and, “oh man I got really great at Widow, but I want to come back and play Ashe.
"We hope that that’s an engagement driver for them. Being really clear on what those drivers are, and making sure that your core development expertise is [focused on] those components is probably one of the most important lessons that we have."
There's more advice from Sonny and fellow producer Nicole Gillet where that came from, so be sure to check out the full interview by clicking this shiny blue link.