There was excitement in the air at last night's day one broadcast of Blizzcon 2014. No, we're not referring to Chris Hardwick's crowd participation antics, though we did think they were pretty awesome. We're talking about Overwatch, Blizzard's newest IP that promises Team Fortress 2 style gameplay with assets salvaged from the recently abandoned project, Titan. Yes, that's right. Blizzard Senior Vice President, Chris Metzen, confirmed yesterday, "We [Blizzard] decided internally to go another way". Metzen continued, saying "What really happened was we decided to go this way. Overwatch is a very different game than what we were planning to build." The Blizzard Veteran claims that there is some continuity between the two projects, but the links between Titan and Overwatch are anyone's guess. The announcement included a pixar-style concept trailer that features a style of animation that we'd like to see more of from the studio.
Here's a Blizzard press release with a little more info on the content and tone of the game.
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," saidMike 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.
If that wasn't enough to get you excited, here's a video with actual gameplay. The features seem reasonably complete, and it looks like we could be getting our hands on an early build of Overwatch soon.
If you're like us, and eager to get your hands on this 6v6 team shooter - head over to Blizzard's Overwatch page to get a first look at the Heroes, and sign up for the 2015 beta.