blizzcon 2014

Blizzard Reveals More About The Hero-Driven Overwatch At Blizzcon

by Mike Futter on Nov 07, 2014 at 10:59 AM

This morning, Blizzard revealed a new team shooter, Overwatch, with a traditionally bombastic Blizzard trailer and gameplay footage. Shortly thereafter, game director Jeff Kaplan and senior vice president of story and franchise development Chris Metzen discussed more about what players can expect.

We noted earlier that Overwatch looks a bit like a cross between Team Fortress 2 and Gearbox’s upcoming “hero shooter” Battleborn. The duo reinforced that perception by talking about the game’s focus on heroes rather than classes.

Every character has a backstory, and you can check all of them out on the Overwatch game page. Blizzard hopes players will become connected to the heroes, as they have in other of the publisher’s titles.

As an example, Kaplan showed off Tracer, who is a character unstuck in time. Thanks to her chrono-harness, she can control her abilities. Blink allows her to move in the direction she’s headed by 10 meters instantly.

Tracer uses pulse pistols that are expert at short range, with moderate use at mid-range. With Blink, she can get up close and unload the clips.

Recall allows her to rewind her personal timeline by three seconds moving her to that location and restoring her health to where it was at that time. Her ultimate ability, Pulse Bomb, is a sticky grenade that can attach to players or walls, doing huge damage in a small radius.

These capstone skills are powered by a meter. Each character will have one. You can see these in effect for all 12 characters in the training videos on the website.

Unlike many other shooters though, Overwatch isn’t about racking up kills. It's less lethal to give players more time between respawns. There is no deathmatch mode. Every map features objectives for the teams to pursue.

There are also a number of different play styles that welcome players who aren’t as adept at the genre. There are options beyond shooting. Support characters like Mercy and Symmetra can give your team the edge without firing a shot. Blizzard has also loosely defined offense, defense, and tank styles, but says that heroes are designed to be versatile. 

The game is designed for six-vs-six play. Any larger and the team felt player actions were muted. Smaller teams put too much responsibility on each person.

To check out the trailers and images of the first 12 heroes, head over to our coverage from earlier today. You can sign up for the beta on the official website