Big Happenings At Blizzcon: Blizzard Announces Overwatch Shooter And New Game Tech

It's not like Blizzard to show up at its annual Blizzcon convention without a big announcement in hand, and this year is no exception. The big announcement this time around is Overwatch, a new team-based mulitplayer shooter that has the web at large making inevitable comparisons to Team Fortress 2. And with good reason, because one look at any of the screenshots or one of the gameplay trailers is all it takes to come to that conclusion.

We're not saying that's a bad thing, and in fact we're rather excited about Overwatch, in part because this is Blizzard's first new franchise in 17 years. Yes, it's really been that long, and yes, that tidbit makes us feel old. But not too old to jump into Overwatch when it's released to show kids how it's done.

Though it conjures up comparisons to TF2, Blizzard set out to create a game unlike any other in its portfolio. There's a focus on "fun, over-the-top characters" that will comprise two teams, each consisting of six players. Maps will be objective-based with no deathmatch mode. Battles will take place in a variety of arena settings ranging from the hologram-lit streets of London to a bazaar in the shadows of a high-tech Egyptian pyramid. Fights can shift from streets to rooftops to open skies all within the blink of an eye, Blizzard says.

"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 cast of characters, or superheroes, as it were, will be equally as varied and diverse. You'll be able to play as a mercenary named Reaper, a security chief named Pharah, an adventurer named Reinhardt, or even as a wandering guru (yes, really) named Zenyatta, to name just a few. Each will have their own distinct weapons and superabilities, like Fire Strike (Reinhardt) and Transcendence (Zenyatta -- who else?).

Over the coming days, there will be lots of hands-on impressions all over the web. That's because Blizzard setup 600 computers at Blizzcon, each installed with Overwatch. You'll get your own chance to play in 2015, which is when the beta will go out. In the meantime, you jot your name and email down at Overwatch's website to be notified when it's ready to roll out.