Overwatch: Blizzard’s “pick up and play” team-based shooter

Overwatch logo on steel background

Hold on to your keyboards, kids, because Blizzard has announced a brand new game. A shooter — of all things — which it calls Overwatch.

Billed as a “pick-up-and-play first-person shooter” with a fresh cast of heroes set in a brand new Blizzard game universe, Overwatch looks like the love child Team Fortress 2 might have had with DotA.

Blizzard Entertainment’s big bossman Mike Morhaime made the big announcement at Blizzcon, their big annual event in Anaheim (California, USA) last night, to big applause.

Did I mention that this was big? Because this is the first time Blizzard has announced plans for a shooter since the ill-fated StarCraft: Ghost was put on “indefinite hold” and eventually cancelled.

Don’t let memories of Ghost being shunted from studio to studio so that Blizzard could focus on World of WarCraft bring back the fever dreams, though.

Overwatch promises to be a very different animal, and not just because its camera perspective differs from Ghost.

Don’t believe me? You shouldn’t. Here watch the cinematic trailer:

And then watch this gameplay footage:

And then sign up for the beta, which Blizzard promised would be coming in 2015.

Those who look closely might also see that there are striking similarities between the rumours around Titan, the massively multiplayer online game which Blizzard recently announced it had cancelled.

Kotaku reported that development on Overwatch began in mid–2013, when Titan was cancelled.

Blizzard’s Chris Metzen later confirmed on a panel that people weren’t just seeing things they wanted to see, but stressed that the two games are very different.

Want to know more? Here’s some of the PR stuff from the press release that accompanied the announcement:

“Overwatch is our take on a vibrant, near-future universe with amped-up characters and action-packed team-based gameplay,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With every new Blizzard game, we look at our favourite aspects of a genre and put our own spin on things. Our goal with Overwatch is to create an awesome FPS experience that’s more accessible to a much wider audience while delivering the action and depth that shooter fans love.”

The heroes of Overwatch each bring their own distinct weapons and superabilities to bear. Here’s just a glimpse of the numerous heroes that will ultimately fill Overwatch’s rosters:

  • Tracer, a former British test pilot who shrugs at danger, can execute impossible acrobatic assaults thanks to her ability to teleport, drop energy bombs, and even reverse time.
  • Reinhardt, a hulking German soldier in battle armor, can charge great distances and pin his enemies to a wall or slam the ground with his rocket hammer to knock them off their feet.
  • Hanzo, a bow-wielding Japanese mercenary, has the ability to scale walls with his bare hands, fire off a tracking device that illuminates nearby enemies for his team, and unleash a huge spirit dragon that does grievous damage to all enemies in its path.
  • Symmetra, an Indian architech, manipulates light and energy to shield her allies and damage her enemies—and she can turn the tide of any battle by building a device that instantly transports her teammates to the front lines.
  • While each hero represents a formidable force on their own, players can amplify their potential by assembling into a well-balanced team and creatively combining powers. No matter which hero or playstyle they prefer, players will be able to team up and accomplish the incredible in Overwatch.

At BlizzCon this weekend, Overwatch is fully playable and running on 600 PCs, and attendees there are the first in the world to play it. Gamers at the show are able to select from a current roster of 12 playable heroes and go 6v6 against each other, capturing or defending points and attacking or delivering payloads across three wildly different maps. New heroes and maps will continually be added to the game as development progresses, and beta testing will begin in 2015.

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Overwatch: Blizzard’s “pick up and play” team-based shooter

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