Blizzard Announces Brand New Multiplayer Shooter, Overwatch

New franchise is a team-based multiplayer shooter; beta coming in 2015.

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Today during Blizzcon, World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment announced an all-new PC franchise called Overwatch, just as was rumored. Development on the game is being led by Jeff Kaplan, a former World of Warcraft game director.

Kaplan says Overwatch is an action-packed, team-based multiplayer shooter. Blizzard showed off a Pixar-esque introduction video for the game today (see images below), as well as some gameplay footage, which certainly resembles Valve's free-to-play shooter Team Fortress 2. Watch the gameplay clip at the bottom of this post.

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You can find out for yourself soon enough, as a beta for Overwatch be available starting in 2015. You can sign up at the game's website today.

Blizzard describes Overwatch as a "pick-up-and-play" FPS. You'll immediately notice that the game, which is set sometime in the future on Earth, has visuals that are highly stylized. Regarding the story, Blizzard sets things up like this:

"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."

Overwatch matches will pit six players against each other on a variety of futuristic maps in places such as London and Egypt. Blizzard says its overall goal with the game was to bring the developer's "easy-to-learn, hard-to-master" mantra to the FPS space.

"With every new Blizzard game, we look at our favorite aspects of a genre and put our own spin on things," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement. "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."

Every hero in Overwatch will feature its own distinct set of weapons and super abilities. Below is a breakdown of some of the characters in Overwatch and their features, courtesy of Blizzard.

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 architect, 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 is already playable, as Blizzcon attendees will be able to play the game all weekend at the show. GameSpot is on the ground at the show. We'll have more on Overwatch soon. For now, you can read more about the game at its official website.

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