Just two short months ago, Blizzard axed Project Titan, an internal code name to a game they were working on for seemingly a decade. Shortly after that, rumors swirled that it was all a ploy to announce a new, different game. At BlizzCon the team delivered on that rumor by announcing Overwatch, Blizzard's first new game in 18 years and a new take on first-person shooters.
Like most FPS games, Overwatch is your typical team versus team play. However, where it gets interesting is in the design. Similar to Team Fortress 2, one of my all-time favorite games that I still play today, Overwatch is done up in a very over-the-top cartoonish style. Teams are smaller and more like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with factions of six per side.
Blizzard took to the stage at BlizzCon to talk about the new 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.
There are several classes you can choose from, and where it differs from other games is in the class abilities. Most games have some level of similarity between classes to keep things balanced and make switching classes easier for players. With Blizzard's latest FPS, all of that is thrown out of the window as the classes are very different and have entirely varied skillsets. CEO Mike Morhaime drove that home when he said that "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."
Here is Blizzard's breakdown of some of the classes available in the game:
- 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.
While a range of skills are usually found in PvE games, it is rare to see such a broad range of abilities in PvP FPS titles. Combine that with a visual style that has only been seen in a handful of games and Blizzard might have something that could blow up in popularity. Gamers have been yearning for something different and a break from the unfortunate norm. This could be it. Unsure about it and want to judge for yourself? I have the extended cinematic trailer after the break.