Blizzard’s Overwatch Is A Team Based FPS

The Blizzcon reveal panel has now finished, liveblog and all the footage below.

To kick off the 2014 version of fan convention Blizzcon, Blizzard have announced Overwatch, a new game not set in any of their established universes. It’s in the future of Earth, featuring a number of superhero-styled characters battling it out for control points in 6v6 multiplayer FPS battles. The Team Fortress 2 inspiration is clear, both in the art style and how it plays out. Some more details below and I’ll add in the Pixar-quality announcement trailer once it goes live.

It’s all very Blizzard. Much like with Hearthstone and World of Warcraft, they’ve seen something popular and realised they can put their spin and polish on it. The characters are caricatured, the colours bright, everything with the tinge of humour to it. We saw a robot that could turn into a turret, an angel-winged woman flying around playing Medic.

It’s not the most original of ideas – it looks a bit like Battleborn, Gearbox’s multiplayer shooter, so these ideas are in the air at the moment. There’s also reason to suspect the game is made from the remnants of ideas originally conceived for Titan, Blizzard’s recently cancelled MMO.

As for looking forward, there’s a playable build on the show floor, but it won’t be heading into a public beta until next year.

The trailer and a lot more information are available on the official site. It should still be accessible by checking the archives on the Blizzcon stream.

20:30: The reveal panel is now live at Blizzcon, prepare yourself for live blog action. Lore-man Christ Metzen and Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan on stage getting the easy pops from the Blizzcon crowd.

20:35: Metzen’s talking about the universe. It’s set 60 years in the future. 30 years before that point there was a robot rebellion of sorts, for which the heroes of the game were needed. They were sourced from all over the world as various nations faced the “Omnics Crisis”

These folks are the absolute best of the best and beat back the robots, destroying “whatever it was” that caused the problem. They became global treasures, representing humanity’s best.

Naturally, it all started to fall apart. “No-one knows why” but it all started to go wrong about five years before the game’s timeframe. The world’s now in bad shape again and needs its heroes back. Enter, one would assume, you.

20:38: Kaplan on the mic now, talking about how new this is to them as a company. Says it’s similar to 2002 when nobody thought they could make an MMO and they have a similar approach. Community influence is a big part of their strategy for making it a better game so they’re interested to hear what people think.

20:40: The giant talking gorilla is apparently from the moon, because of course it is.

20:41: Kaplan talking about how they’re great at doing multiplayer, so it’s more of a natural step. Metzen now showing off the world and saying they’re intending for it to be brighter than their other universes. Wants to have a lot of emotional connection to the world, make it “something worth saving.” “This game is all about heroes.”

20:45: Speaking now about needing “non-twitch options” – things to do other than being the best at clicking on heads. Speaking about how in WoW there are people that love to just play certain roles, so why not have the same thing? “Mercy” is the angelic Medic-ish character I mentioned earlier, and an example of this. Tjornbyorn (thanks Blizzard that’s super easy to spell in a rush) is more like an Engineer, with a focus on strategy and helping out his team by moving them around.

20:48: The other key point here is making the game “less lethal” compared to the modern military norm of one-shot, one-kill. This is similar to how Heroes of the Storm operates in comparison to Dota 2. You’ll rotate around the map a lot, seeking out healers or new objectives rather than just dying and respawning. Metzen explains that more up-time means more interaction with other players.

20:50: Kaplan explains the choice of 6v6. Larger meant that there were fewer interactions between individuals. Less than 6 meant players were “too important” to their teams, meaning an off-day (to be nice) meant you were screwing over other players. There’s no Deathmatch mode either, everything being objective based. A slide flashes up “payload” as a game mode, Team Fortress 2’s best mode. There’s also attack/defend style capture points and maps can transition between these modes as they go.

20:52: “A game about heroes, not classes” says the next slide. Metzen explains that this feels like the essence of Blizzard, making characters that people care about and are larger than life. It’s all gone a bit meta, talking about how the real world is a dark place that could “always use more heroes” as the end of the trailer says.

20:55: Introducing “Tracer”, one of the twelve characters available on the show floor. They’re showing a video of her origin story. She was a fighter pilot hired to test a figher with a prototype teleportation device. It malfunctioned, giving her the capability to speed up or slow down her personal timestream, even reversing it. Now she runs around with a pair of very fetching orange goggles, able to effectively teleport in and out of fights.

Her abilities are controlled by “energy” which recharges overtime to a maximum of three charges. This allows her to use “Blink”, one of her abilities, semi-regularly or in a burst to cross a lot of distance. Her weapons are a pair of pistols which do a lot of damage close up, with a very high fire rate. “Recall” allows her to move backward in time by 3 seconds, including healing her and resetting her energy.

21:00: All characters also have “ultimate abilities” (Kaplan mentioned it was the “most original and awesome name ever”) that build over the course of a match. Pulse Bomb is Tracer’s, which is an AoE attack that does a lot of damage and is designed to be used followed by a Recall to immediately escape. It’s all very MOBA, but without any of the levelling it seems. They’re showing off the Tracer training video, which you can see over on the official site, along with the two trailers I’ve embedded below.

21:04: A hiccup in timing means we get a quick preview of a shoutcast of a “pro” match for the game that’ll be displayed, presumably at the end of the panel. Meanwhile Metzen’s going through all the characters currently in the game. It’s an eclectic cast, as you’d expect – robots with rocket hammers, people called “Reaper” because that’s scary. You can see the list over on the Overwatch site.

21:08: After finishing up detailing the 12 currently available, Metzen mentions that there are “many more to come.”

21:10: Kaplan now talking about hero “roles.” He says they’re loosely defined and characters are interchangeable, rather than being strict rules as you might expect coming from MMOs or MOBAs. Offense is the first, being able to move fast (Tracer fits into this role, as does the rocket-pack equipped Pharah) and scout points/kill defenders. They aren’t so great at capturing or holding those points as they have little survivability. He’s now mentioning that the team is staying late to play the game and has already started to develop their own metagame and understand what these roles are for. They’ve discovered that these heroes are very good at breaking up enemy pushes via harrassment, by jumping in behind enemy players when they’re moving as a team.

21:12: Unsurprisingly, defense is next. They’re either hardy or able to deal a lot of damage. Our engineer is there, as is the sniper Widowmaker.

21:13: Now there’s Tanks. They can protect teammates and have very high survivability. Each of the examples (Winston the moon gorilla and Reinhardt the giant robot) have a shield abilty that can be shot through by teammates and block enemy shots. Winston’s is a globe he can drop while Reinhardt has a wall. They also have a distruption role, such as Winston’s rage which lets him jump into combat and knock players about.

21:15: Support is last, including Mercy. These are the characters who are most different from standard multiplayer shooters. Mercy can both heal allies, boost their damage and bring her entire team back to life with her ultimate, while cyber-monk Zenyatta is about debuffing enemies to take more damage. There’s also a character with a personal teleport, allowing her team to move to her location.

21:17: Kaplan’s chatting maps and game modes now. They’re focusing on simplicity for these at first, because they’ve found the heroes provide enough complexity. The maps encourage manoeuvrability, with different routes to move through and varying degrees of height. Metzen’s chatting about how the real world setting, a first for Blizzard, has allowed them to create maps inspired by real world locations. The first was an ancient Egyptian tomb, the second a japanese temple that’s the homeland of one of the game’s heroes.

21:20: Metzen’s chatting story. It’s not “inherent in the gameplay” i.e. individual matches won’t have plots. They want to tell the story of the world outside of the game, through cinematics like what’s above and other options. He admits it’s an experiment and they aren’t sure where it will go.

21:22: King’s Row now, a London-based payload map. Set in an underground cavern in which a robot population is living. The attacking team is sending an EMP down there to kill them all. Basts.

21:23: They’re moving on to the shoutcast now. May my prayers be answered for standable commentary. It’s between Blizzard developers, since only about 70 people knew about the game 3 hours ago. Casted by a couple of programmers. Oh no.

21:24: Kaplan’s noting that it’s not about sticking to one hero, you’re meant to switch out a lot. That’s not what they’re doing in the shoutcast video, since they had one hero per player in their 6v6 game. I was hoping the game itself would be a highlander format, but it sounds like you’ll be able to have multiples of a character on a team.

21:25: I will try to keep up with this but I don’t see it happening.

21:26: They mention you can put Tjornborn’s (I’m still spelling this wrong and apologise profusely) on the payload.

There’s a lot of visual cues on the map that show where enemies are likely to come from, to give new players a hand. There’s loads of alternate routes of course, but it’s a general indicator. The defending team gets a little bit of time to set up.

21:28: Reaper jumps in to attack Mercy as she heals up the walking turret but is fended off, disappearing into the shadows. He comes back with his ultimate, less than a minute into the game, and kills 3 people solo. Ouch.

21:30: Symmetra’s on the defending team and has set up a massive web of short range turrets that Tracer can’t manage to get through. She’s dead.

21:something: Back to the Future reference on commentary.

Attacking team has managed to get onto the point they’re headed for, which they have to sit on for a certain amount of time before the doors unlock and they can get to the payload. I think. Symmetra’s teleporter is keeping the defenders in it, until the attacking team get a turret set up managing to fend them off again and opening the door. I was right! There’s a bomb.

Now it’s a payload game. It works just like TF2 – moves forward when they’re on it, back when they’re not after a short delay.

Lots of melee combat occuring around the EMP between both teams support classes. Defenders have another teleporter, plus an AoE heal from another hero’s ult.

21:33: Despite the claims of less lethality, Widowmaker’s sniper rifle is perfectly capable of one-shotting people around the bomb.

Robot suited Pharah’s rocket barrage and ability to leap over buildings is my favourite so far. Massive AoE damage and great maneuvarability.

Widowmaker respawned and one-shotted some more people. Can’t wait for there to be three on every team all the time.

21:35: A few seconds in first-person shows just how easy it is to move around as Tracer. She blinks around the place, recalls behind enemies to confuse them and eventually takes out the teleporter with her ult.

They’re in overtime, which works just as in TF2 as well. They reach a checkpoint which gives them some more time. The bomb is now moments from the explosion point, but the attacking team is dead.

21:38: Mercy uses her ultimate to resurrect her entire team just after they all die inches from the point. It’s not enough and the defending team manages to fend them off again. Defending team wins, which seems to be mostly robots.

Cool.

21:40: Q&A coming up now. The crowd liked it. It was very slick and while a lot of it is clearly similar to TF2, as an overall package it looks about as similar as LoL and Dota were a few years ago. The much larger number of “classes” that’s intended will likely help with that too. I want to play it, for sure. 2015 is reiterated as the time we’ll get our hands on it. No word on pricing structure yet.

21:41: First question is about what they meant by “outside of the game” with the storytelling. They’re unsure exactly what they’ll do, but the majority will definitely be through animation like the above and stories written outside the game itself, rather than just outside of matches.

21:42: Second question references Left 4 Dead and Hereoes of the Storm and how they manage to have strong characters despite being multiplayer games. Kaplan says characters will chat during the game and they’re putting as much effort as possible into making them individual and memorable with whatever tools they can.

21:44: They dodge a question on pricing structure, saying they don’t know yet.

21:45: Someone asks how much of this was Titan or was influenced by Titan. Effectively this is an offshoot of it. Metzen says Titan was maybe going to be Earth based but also it was very, very different from Overwatch.

21:47: Since there’s no campaign, is there any in-game story? Metzen says not really, the individual stories of matches won’t be a larger narrative. Kaplan says the characters will show some amount of backstory in game through their chatter. While what happens on them won’t be, maps themselves will be part of the story and reference events in the world.

21:50: It’d be cool to crossover with other games, nothing to announce.

Someone asks about customisation and levelling. They don’t have a system at the moment and, due to the number of characters and the fast pace of the game, they don’t think one would fit. This also rules out any sort of levelling system in-match, it seems. They were worried about people not having any idea what was going on.

21:51: “Consoles?” “That’d be awesome, but right now we’re only announcing for PC”

21:52:  Too early to be talking about system specs. “Something to note though, Blizzard has a pretty good track record of running on a broad range of machines” – Kaplan. He’s not wrong, a PC from 1999 could run WoW.

21:53: An absolute hero asks about the problem I was referring to earlier, where people will all pick one class. Kaplan says this has been something they’ve done internally, but the balance currently and their aim are for two of a hero to be the maximum that’s viable. Doesn’t sound like they’re going to actually put a limit on it though. Their balance team has “48 years of game design experience” so they should be alright.

21:55: Another customisation question, this time regarding cosmetics and skins. Another “that’d be cool, yeah” answer (these, generally, mean “yeah, eventually” for those unfamiliar with Blizzardese)

21:56: Question about communication systems within the game. There’s chat at the moment, both in and out of game and between groups of friends who can play together. They’re also working on in-game voice stuff with emotes. More to come as they move forward.

21:57: Re: a meta-levelling system where match wins or some such will contribute to a long-term goal it’s something they’re planning but, again, have nothing with them at the moment. Kaplan says he worked on the achievement system in WoW and would like something similar over here.

21:58: Contrary to what I just edited out of something I said earlier, they’re unsure on implementing an in-game VOIP, as they see people mostly using outside software.

21:59: Last question, thank goodness. Dude points out that having multiples of a character will dilute the believability of the universe. They agree, but thought “gameplay first” meaning mortal enemies can be side-by-side on a team. Metzen points out that this is another reason why they’ve moved the continuity outside the game.

They’re done and so are my fingers. Overwatch isn’t what I would have called the big announcement being coming in, but it certainly seems to fit Blizzard’s ideas. There are about fifty things you could say about the game and finish with “y’know, like TF2.” That’s no bad thing, that game’s pretty popular and ate time like no other a few years ago. Showing in what way they’re different will be vital of course, to stop general cynicism getting in the way of people checking it out.

I’ll update this post with the shoutcasted match when it’s uploaded.

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127 Comments

  1. GrosData says:

    Pulling this out of my ass but … :

    -F2P.
    -Ported on both next gen consoles (that 3 skills system, perfect for a controller, heh).
    -Base for a future MMO ?

    • Trillby says:

      F2P definitely. I’m sure they’ll go for consoles. But I really don’t think so for the third point. After the failure of Titan, I think another MMO is decades down the line, if even at all.

      • Xocrates says:

        Not least of which because this is very likely the remnants of Titan, so trying to revive it after it failed seems strange.

        • GrosData says:

          Well, WoW still has a good few years ahead, and Blizzard ain’t much of a risk-taker these days. That’s why i left the question mark.

      • kwyjibo says:

        I wouldn’t be so convinced of F2P.

        Activision know how to make money from their shooters, and COD and Destiny have done really well charging for the game, levels and hats.

        I think Blizzard have such a strong name that they can release any old shit and have people buy it.

        • scaramanga says:

          its tf2 gameplay with a league of legends bussiness/release model,which makes sense as the model is succesfull.
          Think this will be a huge title in the long run.

  2. daver4470 says:

    Our next big announcement: World Of Warcraft: Creed of Assassins! Featuring 100% more parkour than Warlords did!

    (Derivative? What do you mean? Hey, look over there and check out our awesome cinematics!!!)

    • Jockie says:

      Entirely fair, but:

      WoW is better than Everquest.

      Diablo is better than Rogue

      Starcraft is better than C&C

      Hearthstone is better than MTG

      Obviously all of the above is completely subjective. But Blizzard’s track record is taking other people’s games and making them into gigantic successes, did you expect something original from them?

      • Xocrates says:

        Do not conflate “more popular” with “better”, particularly because in some (if not most) of those examples it’s less a case of trying to improve a previous formula and more trying to make it accessible to a different audience.

        • Jockie says:

          Again fair enough (I was just being provocative there really), point being that being derivative isn’t a bad thing if you do it well and Blizzard generally do it pretty well. Personally the only Blizzard series I’m invested in is Diablo.

          I think this game takes good ideas from popular genres and could end up being more than the sum of its parts. Rather than being sniffy about the fact the idea isn’t wholly original, I’m quite happy to say it looks like a fun game.

      • remon says:

        “Hearthstone is better than MTG”

        In what way? I find Hearthstone very limited and simple compared to MTG

        • Jockie says:

          It’s more accessible, easier for casual play and has mechanics that reward you in a similar manner to an RPG (drip feed fo new cards and characters etc). I don’t actually give a shit about the genre as a whole, but you’re kind of seizing on the bit you disagree with, removing it from context and completely missing the point.

          • Ansob says:

            None of those things make Hearthstone a better game than M:tG, though. M:tG is about a million times better-designed than Hearthstone is.

            (I mean, that’s fair, Hearthstone is Blizzard’s first foray into that sort of design space, whereas the M:tG design team has been at it for literal decades and happens to be the best in the industry by a long, long margin.)

          • MisterFurious says:

            That’s just stupid. How is simple and dumbed down better? It’s ‘Baby’s First CCG’ just like WoW is ‘Baby’s First MMO’. That’s Blizzard’s whole MO. Take other people’s games and dumb them down so any idiot can play. That’s why their games are so successful. Idiots can play them and there’s a whole lot of idiots in the world that like bright colors and smacking one button over and over again without having to do all that thinking stuff. That doesn’t mean their games are ‘better’. Depth is better. Strategy is better. Forcing players to think is better.

          • jrodman says:

            Would it help if I pointed out that Diablo isn’t better than rogue, but in fact worse?

          • derbefrier says:

            it would help if you took his whole post in the context it was given instead of latching on to one little thing and completely missing his point. Hes saying Blizzard generally takes old ideas polishes them to the point of absurdity and makes them accessible and fun for everyone. One singular game being better than an other isn’t the point here.

          • dontnormally says:

            > you’re kind of seizing on the bit you disagree with, removing it from context and completely missing the point.

            Hah, then they continued to do it!

      • pepperfez says:

        Diablo is better than Rogue

        Pistols at dawn.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Starcraft is better than C&C

        Stop being Wrong on the Internet.

        • Jockie says:

          Just need an Everquest fan now to complete the set of people who can only read one line.

      • MisterFurious says:

        “Hearthstone is better than MTG”

        Congratulations. That was the dumbest statement I’ve read all day and I’ve read a lot of stupid crap today.

        • drinniol says:

          Did you miss the bit where he says it’s all subjective, dummy? :P

        • Jockie says:

          Congratulations as the sixth person to completely fail at reading comprehension then splurt nonsense at me, you’ve WON A PRIZE: it’s me telling you to learn how to read! admittedly, it’s a pretty poor prize.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Poor, unloved Everquest.

        TormDK saves the day!

      • Derpa says:

        “Hearthstone is better than MTG”

        Think you mean Hearthstone is better then World of Warcraft Trading Card Game……or Hearthstone is better then MTGO.

        Also I’ll add PoE is better then Diablo

        • Jockie says:

          I can’t tell at this point whether I’m being trolled or you’re all actually incapable of reading.

  3. Trillby says:

    If you want in as early as possible, I would recommend logging into battle.net and opting into “Future beta”. Dunno if it will make much difference, but opting in asap netted me a quick Hearthstone beta, so can’t hurt.

  4. Dances to Podcasts says:

    This article could use a link to the actual site for the game: link to playoverwatch.com

    Also, Torbjorn is a common Scandinavian name…

  5. catscratch says:

    Interesting. When a company that doesn’t make shooters first makes a shooter, they usually mess it up. Things like hitboxes, ability to customize mouse settings, the movement system and general feel of the movement, these are all very subtle nuances that people who ARE good at making shooters have learned over a long time and many iterations. There are a lot of very subtle ways to screw a shooter up and I feel like a lot of devs don’t really know much about them. Blizzard is, of course, known for great polish on everything that they put out, but this is new waters for them, and they’re going to have to be careful, and listen to feedback from experienced FPS players and devs closely if they want to make a quality product here.

  6. Horg says:

    ”Lore-man Christ Metzen”

    I knew he had a big ego, but surely he has gone too far by styling himself as the new Jesus.

    • Xocrates says:

      As a side note to that, I thoroughly enjoyed Metzen’s comment that in Blizzard’s history there had been some “convoluted” storylines.

  7. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    A warning to anyone thinking of watching the cinematic trailer, it contains an absolutely atrocious AWRIGHT GUVNOR pseudo cockney accent. Oh, and Blizzard think they’re Pixar now.

    edit: Have watched the other trailer now. I hate to say it, and I know it may cause shenanigans in the comments section in the Friday night shift, but Blizzard don’t seem to have got the memo about male and female character design. I don’t normally pick up on this sort of stuff too much, often I’m like “oh yeah” when it’s pointed out in a particular game having not noticed it before, but it kind of stood out for me here. The black woman having that accent also didn’t help.
    Like I say, not trying to start an argument, (I know this can be a rather incendiary subject,) just surprised Blizzard of all people seem to have got this a bit wrong.

    • Stijn says:

      I get what you’re saying, but I’m kind of on the fence about it myself. There’s some degree of boob plate armour and generic bimboness, but by and large it seems less sexualized than Blizzard’s usual character design. Clearly there’s still some disparity between the female and male characters with regards to design, but they seem to have left the ass crack suits and chitin thongs behind them. It’s not perfect, but it’s a sign of progress.

      Besides, that Hanzo dude looks handsome. At least those looking for that have some eye candy as well now ;)

      • Xocrates says:

        Honestly I found their female sexualization to be very on par with their previous games, on that front I really do not see any significant improvements.

        And I genuinely chuckled when looking at the champs Bios and finding out that Mercy is supposed to be 34, despite looking half that age, and is the oldest of the female characters.

        That said, I did notice that they have a more or less perfect 50/50 female ratio (depending on how you count the robots), which is welcome.

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          Oakreef says:

          For me it’s not just about sexualization. Female characters are almost always slim an pretty and fall into a generally conventionally attractive box. 90% of the time anything monstrous or ugly or just different or interestingly non-human or even old is male or “oh this character has no gender but we’re going to use male pronouns and a male voice”.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Interestingly, the Hanzo guy seems to be the only regular male. All the others are either a dwarf, robots, armoured up to the point where they might as well be one and… a baboon.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s a definite two steps forward, one step back situation. On the one hand, they’re one ape away from gender parity.
      On the other, all those cocked hips and boobplates.

      • Horg says:

        ”On the other, all those cocked hips and boobplates.”

        It really stands out in what is otherwise a fairly colourful and caricatured art design. Smells like ”designed by committee” to me, someone had to throw some heels and cleavage into the mix, causing an uncomfortable juxtaposition.

        • pepperfez says:

          And they really should know better, given the amount of “Too colorful! Are they Disney now?” whinging already.

    • Maka Albarn says:

      “Blizzard of all people”? I mean, Overwatch doesn’t look like a paragon of diverse female design, exactly, but it gives me a much better impression than Heroes of the Storm does.
      And I’ll go so far as to say I rather like the aesthetic overall, even without saying “…for a videogame”

      EDIT @pepperfez: Time for an epic nitpick! I submit that there is exactly one character design in the current Overwatch lineup that counts as a “boob plate”, namely Mercy. Technically, none of the other female chest coverings look at all like “plates”, except for Pharah’s, which does not particularly hug and/or replicate boobs.
      This is not meant to constitue an argument against your overall point, but rather a stimulating distraction from the phonetics lab I should be working on.

      • Xocrates says:

        While gender parity on Heroes of the storm is much worse, their female design is actually noticeably more varied than what’s on display here since it includes the likes of Li Li (pandaren child), Zagara (Zerg queen), and Sgt. Hammer (a siege tank), which together account for about half of all the female characters. Even the Barbarian isn’t exactly a traditional bimbo.

      • pepperfez says:

        You picked that nit right out of there. It never even saw you coming. The hairy simian-hide of my post is significantly less itchy now.

    • Jackablade says:

      Does the fact that the dwarf kind of looks like he has a big bare bum growing from the lower half of his face help rebalance the male-gazingness?

      Seeing as he has a name thats slightly tricky to pronounce and spell, I move that he be redubbed “Buttbeard” by the community.

    • Harzel174 says:

      Pharrah is a woman and the only thing you see is her face, the rest of her in a ass-kicking, rocket-spamming mech suit.

  8. aliksy says:

    I’ve become some sort of snob .. thing and find that I just don’t care about this game because it’s blizzard. If it was some smaller team maybe i’d be interested, but… blizzard. I expect bland with unnecessary writing I don’t enjoy.

  9. Haru-sama says:

    Oh. TF2 without hats. Show something original, please.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Considering the trouble Valve has with the number 3, I’m glad at least someone’s picking up the slack.

      • grom.5 says:

        Give this man an award.

        About the subject, it seems like TF2, but with a pleasant approach with the powers and some interesting ideas (namely, vertical fight and some stuff like the rewind bit)

        Also, I don’t mind inspiration as long as it is done in a good way.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s very TF2, isn’t it? Imitation, flattery and all that.

      • Reefpirate says:

        My first thought was Global Agenda… But I guess that also played on the Team Fortress idea.

        Either way I’m excited. I got way turned off of TF2 a long time ago, around the time they loaded it up with all sorts of ridiculous hats and guns and such.

        Who else is doing the team vs team, objective-based shooter these days? Because if it’s out there, besides TF2, I’d love to know about it.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I must have missed when TF2 got jetpacks.

        • Horg says:

          Valve decided to cancel jet packs after observing one beta tester spend 30 minutes trying to equip one in his hat slot.

    • Frank says:

      Yes, but it has a grappling hook. At one time, those were all the rage.

  10. Reefpirate says:

    I’m hearing a lot of grumbling about ‘derivative’, ‘unoriginal’, etc.

    Someone please tell me who else, besides TF2 and CS:GO, is doing an objective-based pvp shooter. It’s a genre that’s dying for more games, and personally I think you couldn’t ask for a company much better than Blizzard to take a shot at it.

    • Bradamantium says:

      Derivative and unoriginal come across a bit strong, but this has definite shades of the relatively recently announced Battlecry and Battleborn, on top of the clear TF2iness . At least it doesn’t have “Battle” in the name. (It is, however, conflated with Overstrike in my mind, despite being completely different and Overstrike having been renamed by release).

      I’m still keeping an eye on it, in any case, but bright colored, somewhat MOBA-inflected FPS seem to be growing into their own little trend.

      • Reefpirate says:

        I’m not sure how or why MOBA has to keep coming into this… I don’t see any creeps or towers, no gold spending or leveling up, all of which are pretty essential features for a Dota-clone in my opinion. Monday Night Combat and Minimum already do that.

        And it’s not like this announcement marks the beginning of development. Chances are this and the two ‘Battle’ games you mentioned started development in secret around the same time, most likely recognizing a dearth of objective-based PvP shooters around the same time.

        I’m pretty excited about these new games because this genre has been painfully neglected for a long time.

        • Bull0 says:

          I guess we’re just so used to derivative games being mobas, moba has become useful shorthand for derivative?

        • Bradamantium says:

          It’s not the objective structure that’s MOBA-like, as far as I can tell yet, but it’s character-based rather than class, and there’s skills going on in addition to the regular shootin’. There’s a clear line of inspiration there. And regardless of where it falls on the timeline of development, there’s a healthy handful of games coming out of the same nature. That’s going to draw some comparisons and indeed some ire.

          • drinniol says:

            Uh, TF2 is also very character-based.

          • Reefpirate says:

            Yup. There’s a lot of people wrapped up in DotA land these days… They tend to think it’s the Original or Ultimate game or something. ‘Character-based’ is ancient. Take a look at fighting games for a classic example.

            I suppose DotA-clones are a lot of the new generation’s ‘first real game’ and so they tend to see it in everything else.

    • tangoliber says:

      Splash Damage is doing one in Dirty Bomb. (It also is based around MOBA style characters rather than classes.) It is well-designed. Overwatch looks well designed as well.

    • Bull0 says:

      Cod, Battlefield, Titanfall, etc are all PVP objective based shooters.

      • Reefpirate says:

        I guess you’re right. I thought I was already using too many genre tags but I suppose it really needs more. How about class-based PvP objective-based longer-than-average-time-to-kill fantasy/sci-fi shooters?

        Personally I would put TF2, Section 8 and Global Agenda into a different category from CoD, Battlefield and Planetside, etc.

        Oh and Nosgoth I suppose is another entry in the same genre although I haven’t tried that one yet.

    • subedii says:

      Not that I necessarily disagree with the core point of your post, but off the top of my head:

      – Basically every COD game has its popular objective based team modes.
      – Titanfall
      – Battlefield
      – Insurgency
      – Red Orchestra
      – Natural Selection
      – Ghost Recon: Phantoms

      Probably a whole load of other titles I’m forgetting. Particularly more esoteric stuff like “Depth” or “Guns of Icarus”, or first person mech / sim games like Mechwarrior Online.

      Crikey even Nintendo’s getting into it now with Splatoon.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Yeah I should have tried to define it a bit better…

        I’d put Battlefield and TF2 in different genres… Not sure what to call the two genres but they’re different despite their many similarities.

        I see Overwatch in the TF2/Global Agenda tradition and to me that’s quite different from a lot of the games you listed.

  11. subedii says:

    The TF2 comparison is fairly apt (right down to Engineer class with turrets and armour fixing, and medic class with medigun). However it does look as if Blizzard are genuinely trying to give this its own spin by making it less shooter, more MOBA.

    The sci-fi setting allows them to diversify the characters quite a lot in terms of themes and abilities (again, like in HotS or Dota). The classes each seem to focus more on their unique skills, and each also appears to have an ultimate ability amongst them.

    I’m not sure it looks like it would be all that fun, but that’s not something you can really judge from a gameplay trailer. Honestly I feel like a large part of that may very well depend on how much scope there is for teamwork and more complex interactions between the classes. If the gameplay’s too chaotic for that, then it may just end up being 12 characters all mashing together in the middle and spamming their abilities to see what eventually comes out.

    Would have to see more on how exactly they’re focusing this. But I’m not going to deride it as a knock off just yet. Or rather, Blizzard always makes knock-offs. Their skill is doing it with a super amount of polish and no small amount of though as to what they can take and what they can leave. Not always successfully, but certainly enough to warrant a look.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Just going to copy my comment from the forum.

    Watched the gameplay trailer. Initial reaction was that it was just a copy of TF2. The “heroes” really are just a copy of the classes in Valve’s game. Where there are the odd differences, there are still counterparts when you take into consideration the different weapons you can equip classes (e.g. Reinhardt = Chargin Targe Demo.)

    Then I thought that having a new TF2 game actually wouldn’t be that bad. TF2 is 7 years old now and there hasn’t really been anything quite like it since. It is probably about time we had another class based FPS multiplayer game. The fact it has some colour to it too is just a bonus.

    But then I also thought that it is being made by Blizzard. Despite the nice cartoony style, it is never going to have the humour that TF2 had. Just look at the gameplay trailer, which keeps going for “cool”, instead of embracing the absurdity of what is being depicted.

    Still, I’ve signed up for the beta. I think it will be worth giving a go.

    • Horg says:

      I will also sign up for the beta for much the same reasons, but you are dead right about the atmosphere. The writing department has been Blizzards most consistent weakness for years now. Sometime after Blizzard North closed they just lost the ability to give their games that X factor from the classic battle.net days. When Metzen finally decides his people need him and leaves this simple world behind (or retires, whichever comes first), the company might finally get some new writers. Who knows, maybe one of them will have an original idea some day.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, the trailer does lots of staging to congratulate itself on it’s own impressiveness, without any obvious sense of self awareness. It’s so positive about itself it feels like marketing, which makes me wonder if in the cinematic trailer the older child is meant to be a stand in for their target audience. “Hey, kid you can enter this world” etc.

      Systems itself, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they do quite well at the “asymmetric but balanced” thing even if they fail on sense of humour and annoyingness. I can see different kinds of support classes plus ultimate abilities working quite well, reminds me of a competitive D&D 4e actually, with it’s different approaches to overarching roles and more powerful “daily” abilities.

      More likely though it’s a recognition of how important ubercharge is in TF2, and spreading that kind of line breaking ability round a wider range of classes. I also suspect that the varying movement patterns will make this feel very different for long time TF2 players; the basics will be there, but you won’t be looking for the same arcing trajectories or double jumping.

      If it’s free to play, will definitely give it a go, although I will probably turn the dialog off if I can.

  13. Bull0 says:

    Looks pretty cool. Miles better than Battleborn. Unlike seemingly a lot of people, I don’t mind that it’s looking a lot like TF2 because I live in a world where there can be more than one of something without getting sniffy and weird.

  14. the_old_pk says:

    why are all the support characters women ?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Tracer and Pharah don’t look like support characters to me, and Torbjorn doesn’t look female.

      1/10 because you made me bother to type that.

      • Hex says:

        Bah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

        Rekt

      • Frank says:

        Yean, no. Blizzard has already decided what “Support” means in this context and so your (god-knows-from-where) concept of it is wrong. Mercy, Symmetra and Zenyatta are the only support heroes. Two females and an androgynous robot.

      • Frank says:

        Guess my reply got eaten, but for the record: you are wrong on the internet. Welcome to the club.

        Look at their website, and you’ll see that Blizzard have already decided what “Support” means in this context.

    • Cockie says:

      [nitpick] 2 out of 3. According to there website Symmetra, Mercy and Zenyatta are support and Zenyatta is male. He’s also a robot, granted, but they refer to him as “he”.
      [/nitpick]

    • mouton says:

      More concerned about “Widowmaker”. Focusing on killing only men seems quite misandric, if you ask me. Unless they count as widows widowed lesbians from formalized unions, but then you still hate men AND lesbians.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    Dear Gods, the voice on that teleporting supposedly-British character is painful.

    One of the myriad things TF2 got right is that is voice acting is so good that it doesn’t grind painfully even after all these years. I’m already sick of her speech before the game’s even out.

    Although honestly the art style makes me think “Wildstar” way, way more than it does TF2. And they’re clearly putting a lot more emphasis on movement mechanics, so that’s cool. “Like TF2 and Brink and all those arena-shooter-era mods with jetpacks and grappling ropes had some kind of freakish orgy baby” is an idea I can get behind.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I suspect they’re going for a kind of extrapolated-from-reality fictional accent rather than something actually realistic. Kindof like their dwarven-scottish accents.

      • grenadeh says:

        that worked well for ff13

      • Xocrates says:

        Game is set in the real world though, and the character is specifically stated to be from London.

        • LionsPhil says:

          It doesn’t matter in the slightest if it’s “realistic” or not; it’s intensely annoying.

          That said, nobody in London is that spunky and chipper because Britain is overcast more often than not.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rublore says:

      Australian here. The sniper annoys me every time he speaks. Not to the point that I didn’t spend years of my life playing, but still.

      • Eddie Bax says:

        Agreed. I don’t think there’s a faux-accent in the English-speaking world that’s typically done more poorly than faux-Aussie.

        • Premium User Badge

          Rublore says:

          Faux-New Zealand.

        • Premium User Badge

          bonuswavepilot says:

          I actually have a bit of a soft-spot for a particular British version of the Australian accent as may be seen in Python’s various attempts at it. It isn’t convincing (though not as bad as some you might hear… they just can’t quite get the lazy vowels right) but there’s something I quite like about it.

  16. Flea says:

    Pixar: The Game. Meh, that’s all I can say. Not excited about this cartoonish color festival at all. Considering the fact I’ve never said that before about Blizzard games should mean something.

  17. grenadeh says:

    lolWUT blizzard actually made a new IP?

    As someone already said:

    Gonna be F2P. Gonna be unbalanced. Gonna feature complete BS abilities, no doubt.

  18. satan says:

    This screamed:
    ‘WE’RE READY DISNEY! COME BUY US OUT!’
    to me

  19. Skeletor68 says:

    I enjoyed the traversal techniques of the different characters. They did a nice job (by the highly edited gameplay trailer) of making each class feel very different on-screen at all times.

    It feels like Dota, Borderlands and TF2 in a blender. Colour me interested!

  20. boldin says:

    The problem isn’t only that it copies TF2 hard. The problem isn’t only that there are already Battleborn, BattleCry, Global Agenda and less known done and soon-to-be-done ripoffs of TF2 and it looks like Blizzard is trying to pick up something from the TF2 plate and put it on their own like some 2nd degree backyard company.

    The problem is that a multibillion company with access to a huge pool of human creativity with no financial constraints spends it on YET ANOTHER RIPOFF after doing it with Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
    They could easily throw it on building new worlds and new gameplay types. Pursue new ideas and feed it to the millions of the fanbase. And start being the fucking videogames flagship not only in WoW moneymilking but game design and world making.
    Yet they backed off. Again. They had balls to scrap 7 years of MMO making for it being non-creative and now they have balls to show this F2P shit on a shovel?
    I guess I could see it coming after Hearthstone and HotS. But seeing this Overtwatch I suddenly remembered the first cut scenes of the first Warcraft from early 90s that freaked me out with the mysterious orc invasion I had to fight off. That was something I’d NEVER seen before. Something NEW.
    Guess those Bliz guys forgot how to make it. It stings.

    • LacSlyer says:

      The problem you, and many others apparently – based on the reaction a lot of people are having to this announcement, are having is that your expectations are too ridiculously high.

      You’re not going to see a game that makes your jaw drop the way a game like Warcraft 1 did years ago because it’s 20 years later and gaming has evolved to a point where being innovative is considerably more difficult. Think about it for a minute and you’ll realize that nostalgia on top of 20 years of game development is what’s causing you to have these expectations of a game that are so unrealistic it’s laughable when you honestly think about it. Especially when we know so little about Overwatch and it’s gameplay at this point.

      I mean really think about it. How many games like Warcraft 1 were around when it was released in ’94? I can think of only one other RTS’s like it at that point in time. What about Diablo? Flash forward 20 years and the market is flooded with games of all genres. So being innovative isn’t just difficult, it’s difficult to make it into feasible gameplay which is something a number of people don’t consider at all. Being innovative is one thing. Being innovative while creating a fun game is an entire other story.

      Another point though, from what we’ve been told of Titan, the cancellation wasn’t due to it’s lack of creativity, but actually the creativity of the game not feasibly working as being fun to play. I mention this because you’re so caught up on creativity and Blizzard’s lack of it, yet they’ve actually been far more creative than other major developers and most of their games have examples of that.

      • LacSlyer says:

        While Star Citizen is creative, and somewhat innovative, you act as though creating even a concept of a game like it is so simply done when you have money when that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not knocking on Star Citizen, but more pointing out that just because of it’s existence it doesn’t mean that major game development companies can so easily create something similar simply due to having an abundance of money. As I said, there’s creativity, and then there’s feasible creativity that actually works for a game.

        • boldin says:

          *Site blocks me as spam. Thanks, site.

          UPD: As for being innovative – there are only 7 notes in music and was for centuries yet there are still new melodies and styles coming out every few years. It actually works for music and I don’t see how this cannot be applied to games.
          It’s not a question of creativity it’s a question of boxed thinking. You try to put an example of RTS back then and now. There was few back then and lots of it now – and it’s way harder to compete. This is the EXACT same thing I’m talking about. Back then Blizz didn’t choose to follow DooM boom and make a crappy clone of it. They switched to another, non-exploited genre. They did smart back then. They create the path for others to follow.
          And now, although having the might to make something starcitizenesque in proportion and aim, they chose to obediently follow the mainstream and make yet-another-cartoony-f2p-shit.

          It doesn’t have to be a space MMO. It can be something that was UNEXPLORED or poorly explored before. Early 90s hadn’t this strict genre stigma and it let devs take huge liberties and try to fuse what we now think of as distinct genres in most unimaginable ways. Xcom was born that way. Money can’t buy it, sure, but if I had some bright minds and a bank of money I’d let them create a brainstorm team and pay them for a FUCKING year to do some R&D. And make 10 teams with the same goal. And would still won’t hurt the company on a whole with this cashflow they are having. Of course, I’m exaggerating (ugh, english isn’t my native), but anything close to it would be much better than bringing an already multidigested idea as a paragon of their work.

          Let’s just put it plain: are you saying that it’s ok to make a mediocre game when you are an industry giant cause good new game ideas are hard to find? Cause I can expect this ‘play safe’ scenario from some small studio where their sole existance depends on the sales of their next project. But not from the big guys who CAN take the risks without shutting down (or even slowing down).

      • Tams80 says:

        I completely agree.

        For me, I couldn’t care less about innovation. OK, maybe I do like it, but if the game is not fun, then it is vain. I don’t care if something is an iteration, derivative, or an almost copy; so long as it is fun to play. So what if if the gameplay and characterization looks like TF2? So what if it looks like a Pixar creation. I like both of those and always want more in their vein. I’m not saying innovation isn’t possible, but as you wrote, it’s harder than ever to create meaningfully and usefully now. If it’s no fun; then there is no point in the innovation.

  21. Turkey says:

    Why is there suddenly a battle for the ultimate F2P TF clone by all the high rollers? I thought everyone was still doing magical poker and the one where you click your guy around and everyone yells at you.

  22. mpOzelot says:

    It looks like a mix between DOTA and TF2, the ( very pixar like ) cinematic also hints to some sort of synergy between characters ( when the gorilla throws the blinking british girl ). I’m quite curious about this.

  23. Shardz says:

    So…now Blizzard is pumping out an Unreal Tournament clone? I thought everyone but me hated Unreal Tournament. It’s so sad to see a game company that had the world in its grasp succumb to such mediocrity. Oh, wait…they are ActiBlizzard now, I forgot.

    They would make more money if they had a Frag the Kotick Tournament game or something.

  24. Morcane says:

    I think people saying HotS is ‘just a clone’ haven’t played the game at all, and really don’t know what they’re talking about. The same about Hearthstone: you have every Magic nerd telling us this game is so shallow. Well, Hearthstone hit like a truck in the digital world, and introduced a lot more new people to the card game genre, which is only a good thing.

    Blizzard is playing to Blizzard’s current strengths: they take a game genre, work on a game in that genre and polish the fuck out of it and question every single gameplay element. If by chance you can salvage (tons of) work done on a project like Titan and use it for that new game, well, icing on the cake business-wise.

    10, 15 years ago Blizzard’s strength was creating completely new IPs ‘n stuff. Because well, there wasn’t that much stuff around compared to today.

  25. Tei says:

    I love this shit. I would play the hell of it. This looks very interesting. Hope the modes are varied enough.

    *throwns money at the screen*

  26. Mitthrawn says:

    Wow. If you ever want to stay excited about something, don’t read comments about it on the internet. Y’all need a collective anti-depressant.

    To me this looks like one of the most exciting games of 2015. I don’t care about the art style or the fact that it “apes” (no pun intended) TF2. Mechanically it is the most innovative shooter I have seen in a long time. Twelve unique characters with promises of more; interesting movement sets with jetpacks, grapple hooks and teleportation (both fixed like tf2 and fluid- tracer-); ultimate abilities, it all looks really good, and reminds me of how little TF2 has innovated on the design front in years.

    The thing that really interests me is the asymmetry. Most online shooters have the same 6-8 classes, and they are the same on both sides. Here, with 12 unique characters, teams are almost guaranteed to be unbalanced, and with the abilities so different (there’s no standard “rifle guy” or ‘shotgun guy”) this has the possibility to be something really innovative, cool and special.

    For me this is a total breath of fresh air in the weary world of online shooters, something with the color and levity of TF2 but that actually tries to stretch the design space and make something asymmetrical and different. Sign me up.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I echo Ben’s concern that the sniper may well be a damp squib on everyone else, though. Imagine trying to be the robot that turns into a turret with snipers around, rendering yourself immobile but unshielded for a second as you transform. You’re never going to want to do it.

      It doesn’t help that her character design is the most bland, generic and broken-spined-superheroine of the lot.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Good thing there’s plenty of playtesting going on right now to address blatant issues like this.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Yes, it is. But given she’s in the (ugh) “cinematic” trailer, she’s presumably fairly popular as-is internally.

      • Premium User Badge

        Keymonk says:

        Snipers always manage to suck the fun out of shooters. :(

    • Horg says:

      We don’t come here to get hyped. That serves no purpose. We come here to be critical.

    • Rizlar says:

      Apparently the characters aren’t locked to either side though and you can have as many multiples as you like. So there is no fixed asymmetry, which is probably for the best in terms of balance.

      But yeah, it looks pretty interesting, will be fun to see where it ends up.

  27. Tobev says:

    Kill Jester

  28. SuicideKing says:

    I don’t know why so many of you are going “meh”, I loved both the cinematic trailer and the gameplay one, and I really liked the art style, the characters and the gameplay in general.

  29. Stevostin says:

    Minutes of the announcement “just to be first on news” makes me not read this. I’d rather have a summary.

  30. killer_chick says:

    Wow, I loved this game when it was called Global Agenda. A free to play game that came out a few years ago. It had the same maps, the same character types (almost everyone, and a few new ones). The healer and the beam and the engineer and the maps are just so dead on that I actually thought that Global Agenda was being reborn! Well, it kind of is, but not by the original creators, who failed to get the player base they needed. This game, if it is anything like Global Agenda, and from what I have seen from the videos, it is, just prettier, then this game is going to be the bomb. Makes me want to log back into that game just for memories sake.

  31. RARARA says:

    Oh Lord, few things make me groan more than Blizzard’s dialogue-writing skills.

  32. HumpX says:

    Doesn’t do a thing for me.

    Im probably getting jaded…….

  33. Talesdreamer says:

    Actually, more than TF2, it remembers me of S4 League. Since I really loved that game before it became a cash grab, I’m prett excited about this one.
    It may be derivative, but seems fun. Isn’t this the important part?