ByMilos Cuparic, writer at

This article was originally posted on

After many accusations that Paladins is an Overwatch clone, Hi-Rez Studios reacted with a very long and detailed Reddit post, titled "A Brief History of Paladins - as response to 'copy/clone' allegations." We've broken that post down to talking points in order to get the facts straight and end this debate, once and for all.

Before we continue, take a look below at this clip about Paladins:

First of all, in its Reddit post, Hi-Rez mentions Global Agenda, a class-based shooter/MMO game. Now, just the fact that it is an MMO game will remove it from this discussion, because both Paladins and Overwatch aren’t MMO games. Yes, Hi-Rez mentioned some weapon designs and ideas, but that can all be easily dismissed.

Indeed, the Reddit post states:

In Paladins (code name Chaos) pre-production, we experimented with both the Global Agenda Sci-Fi theme and the Aurum Fantasy theme. After a lot of testing the project team decided to go with the Fantasy theme.Overwatch was announced. We were shocked and not sure what direction to take. We were already so far along with Paladins, but we didn't want to compete directly against Blizzard.

Again, if you are familiar with the aforementioned games you will know that they are not even close to an arena shooter, so no big takeaway there.

When talking about the hook-and-pull mechanic, Hi-Rez used the below video to show how many other games have the same ability, and that it’s very common.

Yes, we can all agree on that, but it still doesn’t explain the fact that it looks exactly the same in Overwatch as it does in Paladins.

Abilities In General

Again from the Reddit post :

Overwatch has about 100 abilities, Paladins has about 85 abilities so farMost of the Paladin's abilities can be found in Global Agenda, a game we made 10 years ago (some abilities are from Tribes and Smite)About 42 Abilities are very similar between Overwatch and Paladins, 36 of these abilities were previously in Global Agenda or Tribes Ascend, 6 abilities were seen in Overwatch before Paladins.Almost every ability in Overwatch can be found in an earlier FPS gameGiven the popularity and marketing of Overwatch many people don't even realize that some classes like Ruckus (Mech) were playable in Paladins before similar Overwatch class abilities were shown.

  • First point: You can’t compare the number of abilities, because Paladins has fewer champions than Overwatch.
  • Second point: We have to agree on that one, but Hi-Rez should also mention that those same abilities could be found in games that came out before Tribes, Smite and Global Agenda.
  • Third point: The 42 abilities mentioned are exactly the same, not similar. Yes, they were in Hi-Rez games, but in a different style; now they are reshaped to look exactly like Overwatch.
  • Fourth point: This claim is true, but unfairly stated, because the same can apply to any Hi-Rez game.
  • Fifth point: Well, we have to agree on this one.

Core Mechanics

Hi-Rez lists the mechanics apparently first seen in GA as opposed to Overwatch:

Multiple classesUltimates per class that build upCombination of Shooter with unique class abilitiesGame modes for Payload, Capture, KotHClass structure with Tanks, Support, Defense, AttackSkins, EmotesAccount/class leveling

This shouldn’t even be mentioned. We can find these mechanics in tons of previous games, so both Paladins and Overwatch can feasibly stake a claim for using these same mechanics because it’s standard in most online games today.

The post goes on to share pre-alpha test footage for 2012 game Aurum, i.e., Paladins' predecessor:

Now, this is interesting. Looking a the alpha models, you can see that they look like the characters used in Paladins right now, but we can’t see any abilities. Fernando’s shield was mentioned, but it isn’t even close to the model shown in the pre-alpha. And it’s the same with all other champions. Yes, Hi-Rez had original ideas, but instead of using those ideas, the developers just took some abilities seen in Overwatch and implemented them in Paladins.

From a neutral point of view, we can all agree that these facts stated by Hi-Rez prove almost nothing. But also, looking at the pre-alpha Ruckus and Bolt gameplay, we can even suggest that Blizzard stole the idea because D.Va wasn’t shown in Overwatch back then.

The debate here went in the wrong direction. Why? Because the whole arena-shooter idea didn’t come from Blizzard, nor does it come from Hi-Rez.Team Fortress was an inspiration for both of these games. Let’s not forget that Team Fortress 2 came out in 2007 and it can be used as an example. Now, nine years later, we have two arena shooters using almost the exact same concept and few gamers notice where it all started. Whoever thinks Blizzard has some crazy original ideas is wrong. The gaming behemoth just knows how to repolish, repack and remarket a good idea to make it better and more profitable. On the other hand, Hi-Rez went balls deep with Smite, creating the first third-person MOBA. It was a risk that Blizzard will never take.

And All Of This Brings Us To The Following Conclusions

Hi-Rez did take a lot of ability ideas from Overwatch, that can't be ignored. The ultimates are the only ones that are completely different (for now). But Overwatch is not an original concept. The talking points brought to light by Hi-Rez prove close to nothing. Bandwagon games existed before, exist now, and will always exist. No one says that Hi-Rez didn’t plan Paladins before it even heard about Overwatch, but the fact remains that Overwatch reshaped Paladins in its current form.

Tell me which team you're on — Team Paladin or Team Overwatch? and why in the comments section below.


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