When Hi-Rez released Paladins: Champions of the Realm, the first thing to happen was a comparison to Blizzard’s Overwatch. Videos like this humorous parody launched showing the comparisons and how the two games “aren’t the same.”
From that point, Paladins was known mainly as the “knock off Overwatch.” Of course, to knock out a clone of Overwatch in under a year is going to be difficult to do unless you put a lot of dev hours behind it, something a studio the size of Hi-Rez can’t achieve.
Speaking with GameSpot, chief operating officer Todd Harris said
We were… we were pretty surprised [laughs] when we saw the announcement and it was so close to what we were working on. So, we spent a fair bit of closed alpha time working out whether we need to diverge even further. As a developer, one of the things we tend to do is find a genre we really enjoy, and we try to innovate in just a few areas. Not change too many rules, but change some interesting-enough rules to move the genre forward. With Smite, we did it with perspective, the camera change.
While the general consensus at Hi-Rez appears to be that it was better for people to be talking about Paladins than not at all. That doesn’t take the sting out of having something you worked on for years described simply as a “clone” of a game that isn’t really original in its own right either.
One such person, art director Thomas Holt told GameSpot
It was crushing. For me, for the team–it’s like with any kind of knee-jerk reaction, it’s people taking a face-value look at something, and then passing judgement. You almost begin to second-guess yourself, you discard ideas without seeing what they could evolve into, because no matter how tough you think you are, those words get under your skin.
We have played both Paladins and Overwatch and enjoy both in their own ways and are different enough to extend the life of both.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm is available to play as a free-to-play title on Mc and PC now.