Blizzard is kicking off BlizzCon 2014 today in style with the announcement of a brand new IP, a pick-up-and-play first-person shooter boasting a unique set of heroes in an all-new game universe.
Overwatch, as it’s called, “takes place in a technologically advanced, highly stylized future earth,” according to a descriptor in the game’s official press release.
“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,” the story continues. “After many years, the group’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Overwatch might be gone now . . . but the world still needs heroes.”
Blizzard hopes to keep things simple by ensuring that Overwatch is a “pure fun” shooter that’s “easy-to-learn” but “hard-to-master”. Gameplay takes the form of six versus six battles 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.” Locations are built to highlight unique character abilities and movements.
Speaking of characters, every hero in Overwatch brings their own flavor to the game’s team-based tactics with distinct weapons and superabilities. Here are just a few heroes outlined in the press release.
- 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.
Blizzard says that new heroes and maps will be added to the game throughout development. Beta testing begins in 2015, but Overwatch is playable now at BlizzCon on one of the 600 PCs stationed at the festival. As for the beta, you can sign yourself up right here.
Check out Overwatch’s debut cinematic and gameplay trailers below:
Thoughts? Let’s hear ’em in the comments below!