Blizzard Unveils First-Person Shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon

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Blizzard just revealed their answer to Team Fortress 2 with Overwatch. Announced to a live crowd of 25,000+ attendees of BlizzCon 2014, Overwatch is a pick-up-and-play FPS with an almost unprecedented variety of classes set against the backdrop of a highly-stylized, future Earth.

The Overwatch is a ragtag task force of international scientists, soldiers, adventurers and anomalies whose goal is to restore peace to the war-torn world. After years of fighting this noble battle, the Overwatch disbanded, but heroes still exist. The game is accessible, but features a low-floor/high-ceiling. Teams of six duke it out across many different environments, from the high-tech streets of London to a similarly updated Egypt. There’s a good deal of verticality to each arena, with each map designed to highlight the individual strengths of every character available. Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, said of the title;

Overwatch is our take on a vibrant, near-future universe with amped-up characters and action-packed team-based gameplay. 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 following is simply a sampling of the myriad characters/archetypes playable in Overwatch. For a run-through of the full roster, check out the Gameplay Trailer embedded at the bottom of this article:

  • 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.

All are unique, but the creativity of combat amplifies once you team up and combine your abilities with a team-mate. Overwatch is playable at BlizzCon this weekend, running on 600 PCs with 12 heroes selectable for 6v6 match-ups on either of three maps on show. Beta testing will begin in 2015, up to which point more content will be added on a consistent basis. To learn more about the fun looking competitive shooter, and even sign up for the aforementioned beta, visit www.playoverwatch.com.

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I am a graduate of the Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (w/ major in Games Design) course at Qantm College, Sydney.

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