Blizzcon 2014: Overwatch – Blizzard’s Newest Franchise

Blizzcon is always a major event but it has been so very long since Blizzard has strayed from their franchise trinity of Starcraft, Diablo or Warcraft. Chris Metzen strode to the main stage during the Opening Ceremony looking far more nervous than he’s ever been. He mentioned briefly that there was something new to show everyone and, for the first time in 17 years, Blizzard was ready to unveil a brand new franchise for its fans.

Overwatch

Well that was something very different from Blizzard. A very Pixar-ish feel meets the Blizzard aesthetic. It does feature a gorilla in a power suit who wears glasses and other assorted characters that vary from ludicrous to crazy. If the trailer didn’t actually give you any idea of what Overwatch is? 

It is a team-based shooter where players help to capture objectives. It appears to have a VERY strong Team Fortress 2 feel to it complete with rather ornate and diverse maps to complement what appears to be very frenetic gameplay. The gameplay trailer can be found below:

One thing that is noticeable right away? This looks extremely polished, as is the Blizzard way, and we’re not even to a Beta yet. A diverse cast of characters, manic gameplay and more seem to await players. One would imagine this will be coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One but no further details have been given just other than Beta will be happening in 2015. 

 This is per a press release from Blizzard regarding Overwatch:

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 haVE 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.
Overwatch

Overwatch, Blizzard’s first new IP in seventeen years, will be a team based shooter.

Though the formerly big-name project “Titan” was cancelled earlier this year it seems that, perhaps, the PVP elements from that game have been retooled into what Overwatch appears to be. Players can sign up for potential Beta access to Overwatch here: http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/. Those in attendance at BlizzCon will be able to play on over 600 machines setup for testing in Hall C. Those of us watching at home and waiting for news will just have to wait for more info. This is, however, the first truly new franchise from Blizzard in a very long time and it was quite apparent that they had been waiting a while to showcase this footage. More info will surface over the weekend, no doubt, and in the months to come before Beta begins. 

For more gaming news and reviews be sure to follow @APGNation on Twitter. BlizzCon announcements and eSports coverage will continue on APG today and tomorrow. 

 

Jeff Pannell
Written by
"Nation! I face you! This is Jeff, resident horror aficionado and lifelong video-game addict, reporting for duty. I'm currently 30 years old, living in Texas (born and raised) and gaming is, well, more than just a thing I do. It is a passion. I love to write about it, talk about it, think about it and well.. GAME. I was but a young lad when I was introduced to the wonders of the Atari 2600 and, eventually every single console imaginable. Obsessed with RPGs and fighting games and binging on any and all video games he can. I serve as Lead Editor and member of the APGNation Editorial Board. I look forward to bringing you news, reviews and interviews for many years to come.

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