November 7, 2014 by Paul Curtin
With the news that their highly anticipated MMORPG Titan Project was officially canceled a month ago, it didn’t seem like Blizzard has anything else they could show off at their annual BlizzCon event this year. With Titan dead, we were left contemplating yesterday as to what big announcement Blizzard could make today and came up with three possible answers:
A) Warcraft 4
B) A tower defense game
C) A whole new shooter focused on capturing the one genre they haven’t yet taken over
To the shock of everyone in attendance and watching at home, Blizzard did something they haven’t done in 17 years and actually finally went with Option C by announcing a brand new team-based shooter, Overwatch.
Not only did we get an announcement, but we also got a hilarious action-packed cinematic trailer AND a jaw-dropping gameplay trailer AND news that the beta is coming sooner than we think in 2015 — which you can sign-up for right now on the official site!
As a fan of Blizzard, I have to admit that over the past few years I’ve begin to find myself caring less and less about their games as they focus on perfecting the genres they currently dominate with sequels and only release new smaller games like Hearthstone. News that we’ll be getting a brand new IP that looks and plays like Team Fortress 2 mashed up with the MOBA genre is the best news they could have given today short of Titan not being canceled…
…and many are now even speculating that could actually be exactly what Blizzard did. While Overwatch is a brand new IP, there’s the possibility that this could in fact be the leftover PvP portion of their Titan Project that they’ve decided to salvage and build into a more competitive 6 vs. 6 experience.
UPDATE: Blizzard’s Chris Metzen has confirmed that Titan eventually morphed into Overwatch by saying, “We [Blizzard] decided internally to go another way,” said Metzen. “What really happened was we decided to go this way. Overwatch is a very different game than what we were planning to build.”
Either way, Overwatch looks AMAZING and this announcement is reminiscent of back when Insomniac first announced their similarly-named new IP “Overstrike” in 2011, which got everyone excited, only to ultimately end up letting everyone down when the game moved away from the unique Pixar-style art direction and turned into the generic Gears of War clone that we now know as “Fuse.”
Hopefully, Blizzard won’t go down the same path as Insomniac, because Overwatch looks like the competitive arena shooter with unique classes and abilities we’ve always wanted. Check out gameplay and the official press release below.
World premiere of brand-new Blizzard game universe at BlizzCon®
Show attendees go hands-on with Overwatch, running live on 600 BlizzCon PCs
Beta coming in 2015; sign-ups NOW LIVE at www.playoverwatch.com
ANAHEIM, Calif.—November 7, 2014—In front of a live crowd of more than 25,000 BlizzCon® attendees and an expected online audience numbering in the millions, Blizzard Entertainment today announced Overwatch™, a pick-up-and-play first-person shooter featuring an amazing cast of heroes and set in an all-new Blizzard game universe.
The action of Overwatch takes place in a technologically advanced, highly stylized future earth. In a time of global crisis, an international task force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities known as Overwatch had come together to restore peace to a war-torn world. After many years, the group’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Overwatch might be gone now . . . but the world still needs heroes.
With an emphasis on accessibility and pure fun, Overwatch brings Blizzard’s signature easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay to the FPS genre. Harnessing the power of their hero of choice, players will join forces in teams of six and battle each other across a range of futuristic global locations, from the hologram-lit streets of London to a bazaar in the shadows of a high-tech Egyptian pyramid. Every battlefield is iconic and built to highlight each character’s unique abilities, and fights can shift from streets to rooftops to open skies within the span of a breath.
“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 favorite 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.
Learn more about Overwatch, including all of the heroes and maps revealed at BlizzCon, and sign up to participate in the upcoming beta test at the official website, www.playoverwatch.com. Further details about the game will be announced there in the months ahead.
With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.