When Blizzard canceled its Project Titan earlier this year, CEO Mike Morhaime cited one simple reason. It just wasn't fun. A Blizzard game isn't a Blizzard game without fun.
By that criteria, there should be no such issue with Overwatch. The reveal during yesterday's BlizzCon opening ceremonies indicated a project with fun, variety, and passion. Shacknews went hands-on with Blizzard's foray into team-based multiplayer shooters during the big event and came away with positive vibes for this game's future.
Overwatch pits two sides against one another, with each players selecting one of twelve available characters:
The are many familiar elements of previous third-person shooters that can be found in Overwatch. The stylized animation is reminiscent of Team Fortress 2 and Super Monday Night Combat. There's a control point capture and 'Payload' mode that plays very similarly to Valve's team-based shooter, while the map design carries familiar-looking layouts and vertical combat. Maps, like the lotus blossom-filled Hamamura, are suited to each of the characters roles and abilities. There are enough safe spots for snipers to take aim, there are enough open spaces for direct melee combat and shootouts, there are enough walls and corridors for turret placement, and there are enough safe spots for Support classes to do their work.
However, the characters, their roles, and their attacks are uniquely Blizzard. While it would be easy to create a by-the-numbers shooter, Blizzard looks to be borrowing elements of other genres to help make Overwatch a more enticing package. Beyond their team roles, these characters all have special abilities and 'Ultimate' skills that make Overwatch feel more like a MOBA. While control point games felt like a standard game of Team Fortress 2, right down to its opening countdown phase, the MOBA-like abilities gave it an additional degree of complexity. The abilities also lend themselves greatly to teamwork, encouraging additional strategy. This isn't the kind of game to support a 'lone wolf' mentality, with a few exceptions like the high-flying Pharah.
My time with Overwatch was very limited, but I'm anxious to spend more time with it. The combat is solid, but the game stands out for its characters and the manner in which their individual abilities help bolster the team aesthetic. This is only the beginning for Overwatch, but I feel like it's off to a great start.
Those looking to get into the Overwatch beta can jump on Battle.net and sign up. The beta is set to begin in 2015.