Hi-Rez Studios’ Paladins came under fire almost immediately after it was revealed to the public, with many players viewing it as an Overwatch clone. This was due, at least in part, to several Paladins characters bearing a resemblance to heroes in Blizzard’s game, but according to Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Blizzard recently added the 27th hero, Brigitte, to the Overwatch public test servers, and Chisam was quick to point out her similarity to the Paladins hero Ash. Both characters have a “bash” attack as well as a shield to protect against damage, and their armor is also sculpted in a similar manner. Their weapons are not the same, however, as Ash uses a cannon and Brigitte uses a “rocket flail” melee weapon.
Chisam admitted that pointing this out was akin to the “pot calling the kettle black,” and many Twitter users were quick to point this out to him, as well — including a public relations specialist for Hi-Rez.
Back in 2016, YouTuber Jason Gastrow, better known as “videogamedunkey,” released a video showing off the many similarities between the two games. These include a character capable of freezing herself in a block of ice, a revolver-wielding hero who can empty his entire magazine at once, a dwarf with a red beard and a molten lava gun, and even a character with a hook to pull enemies closer.
Hi-Rez responded by pointing out that development of Paladins spawned from the development of one of its previous games, Global Agenda. Paladins had apparently already entered development by the time Blizzard announced Overwatch, though the similarity in character designs is hard to ignore.
More recently, Paladins came under fire after announcing the new battle royale mode, Paladins: Battlegrounds. It combines the formula popularized by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with hero shooter abilities, but the choice to give it such an obvious name seem a little bit cynical. Chisam said it was chosen to evoke old MMO multiplayer “battlegrounds” rather than the more recent game, but the timing is awfully suspect.
Paladins is available now for free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac.