Seven Minutes Of Cybermonk From Blizzard’s Overwatch

What Blizzard have shown off of Overwatch [official site] so far has been pretty slick, but it’s mostly been fancy cinematic trailer and quick snippets of gameplay. What does the actual game look like? See for yourself in a new trailer with seven minutes of straight action with a robomonk levitating around the streets of Merrye Olde Neo-London.

Overwatch, in case you’ve missed it, is Blizzard’s first new joint in yonks: a multiplayer class-based, objective-driven FPS.

I’m not really feeling it, myself. It’s the nature of defense modes to hang around the point, I suppose, but the player rarely strays more than ten metres from it, running laps from the point to a road they blindly spam shots down to a health pack to the point to… it looks a bit dull. Capture/defend modes in FPSs like Team Fortress 2 and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory give plenty of opportunities to go on the offensive while defending, or at the very least not just babysit the point. Still, this only shows one round in one mode with one class: there may be a lot more going on.

And ye gods! The dialogue! Every action seems to trigger a line, making it sound like you’re repeatedly clicking on a Warcraft unit until they say their comedy lines. However, Blizzard did say in reply to a YouTube comment, “We’re still tuning the frequency of Zenyatta’s dialogue (among other heroes) and are also planning to add more lines into his rotation.”

Despite apparently dropping a load of grump all over this video, I’m curious to see more of it from more classes and other modes. Blizzard certainly aren’t shy of reworking and iterating on a game until it’s ready either. You can sign up for the beta through your Battle.net account.

36 Comments

  1. derbefrier says:

    I think its looking pretty fun. Cant wait to give it atry

  2. SupahSpankeh says:

    Let’s see:

    * Class based
    * Asymmetrical teams
    * Blizzard

    Should be excite, but am not excite. Not sure why. Firstly it all looked quite spammy, and the shots/abilities/whatever all seemed very similar from a visual perspective. Generic blasts of energy etc. don’t really interest me; looking at TF2, there was a clear visual and stylistic divide between say medic, heavy and/or pyro weaponry.

    Secondly, I feel this is pitched directly at the MOBA crowd, so while I accept MOBAs are fun for some, they’ve yet to float my boat. I think the glacial movement rate and huge neon target indicators detract from the fun of a shooter, team-based or otherwise.

    Wondering now if the pace is down to a desire to keep it VR compatbile or if it’s a drive to keep it “watchable” for the esports crowd. Either way, meh.

    • Xzi says:

      Keeping in mind that there are alternatives, even to this relatively new “first-person MOBA” genre. Gigantic is looking better than Overwatch from what I’ve seen so far, and Gearbox also has Battleborn in the works.

      • Zonker says:

        I hadn’t heard about Gigantic or Battleborn yet and looked them up. From what I can tell from videos, Battleborn seems much more like a “traditional” MOBA / Dota clone transported into first-person view than Overwatch does. It does look like something potentially interesting, though. Same for Gigantic, even though that one appears to be third-person (?) like Smite. One can just hope that the Microsoft money gets them far enough to properly get the game started, as using it as a selling point for Win 10 seems like a really bad idea for a multiplayer game (*coughshadowruncough*).

        Apart from that, I never really saw the reason to sort Overwatch into the MOBA genre. If Dota, LoL, etc. wouldn’t be a big thing, it would basically just be called an objective focused FPS with a vary high class variety. I might be wrong, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of “laning” going on, there are no minions or towers / keeps to kill off, there aren’t even character levels or purchasable items. The comparison to games like Team Fortress, Enemy Territory, Brink or Dirty Bomb seems much more intuitive. All Blizzard did was taking the idea of more individualized “heroes” and putting them in that genre.

      • tangoliber says:

        Battleborn: How can anybody make a game with such slow movement and such massive random bullet spread? Seems so frustrating to play.

        Gigantic: Looks kind of interesting.

        Overwatch looks kind of interesting as well…I will definitely mess around in it…but I’m positive that I will prefer Dirty Bomb. It’s fast, fairly accurate, and it feels like a lot of contemplation went into every subtle mechanic.

  3. airtekh says:

    This is one of my most anticipated games of the year, can’t wait to play it.

    I’m not familiar with Blizzard’s games since I don’t play them, but their reputation for polish is very evident here, it looks superb so far.

  4. dorobo says:

    Blizzard is Smart. They lean more towards casual these days :] where the money is I guess.

  5. Horg says:

    ”Capture/defend modes in FPSs like Team Fortress 2 and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory give plenty of opportunities to go on the offensive while defending, or at the very least not just babysit the point.”

    Not on the first capture point they didn’t :p . You have to assume there are more points after ”A” which will extend the map and allow the defenders to push the attacking team back. What you just watched was a 5 minute shut out, which indicates that either the teams weren’t skill balanced or the map is to easy for the defenders. It would have been nice to see a longer game, they clearly have more map to show off at least.

    • Moraven says:

      The maps they had at BlizzCon were progressive, one way capture point maps, like what TF2 has. I believe there will be two way capture and hold modes.

      One of the matches I played we could not get out beyond the door.

  6. skyturnedred says:

    I fell asleep during the video.

    • Moraven says:

      Its a video to show off abilities of one character, kinda like a demo reel you can see before buying a LoL champion .More informative than building up hype.

      • skyturnedred says:

        I know, but the character and overall gameplay seemed extremely dull.

  7. subedii says:

    Regarding the visuals:

    I like the art style, but I think they need to work a bit more on clarity of the gameplay. It’s funny, but despite the colourful characters, everything in that video looked dark and ahrder to read, and it shows why there’s a necessity for all the visual HUD elements to highlight where everyone is (amongst other things). I couldn’t really tell who was coming down what corridor half the time, and I wouldn’t have known the team without the on-HUD elements.

    I feel that this is something that TF2 really nailed when it was first released. They went in with the idea that you should have as little on the screen HUD as possible, and everything should be clear and readable. It’s instantly obvious in a TF2 game which character is on which team, which class, and even what weapon (although the latter 2 have gotten muddied over time with the addition of all the cosmetics).

    Whilst character design plays a big part of that, One of the key reasons is the subtle lighting and shading work they did on the characters. It’s part of the reason that even in a game like Left 4 Dead (fairly dark by comparison), all the player characters are instantly readable against the background and chaos of an online game.

    See the section on ‘silhouettes’.

    link to l4d.com

    • Xocrates says:

      Yeah, something that surprised me in this was how unreadable everything was.

      It suffers from UT3 syndrome in that every player needs to be highlighted just so you can see them across the street. Never mind figuring out who they’re playing as or what team they’re in.

      Maybe it’s just the lighting in this map that’s really dark, but what they’re showing here does not bode well.

      • subedii says:

        Haha, UT3 was exactly the game I was thinking of as well. Came out at the same time as TF2, but a completely different philosphy at work in art design, one that wasn’t focussed on readability. Coming off of their last game, they lost the easily read day-glo sci-fi aesthetic, and instead had a new “Gears of Unreal” art style applied to it.

        Visually very busy and techy and extremely difficult to discern, to the point where they were literally having teams glow luminescent blue or red at any distance from mid-onwards otherwise you simply wouldn’t be able to tell who was on which team, and often they’d simply blend into the background altogether.

        I remember watching the making of videos and them showing how much time effort and detail they put into individual weapons, but all that detail is completely lost in a fast paced FPS, and everything becomes difficult to make out.

        Something that surprised me recently was when I went back to play FEAR 1 recently. This is grey-black soldiers against a grey-black industrial backdrop. And yet somehow, everything is still readable. For the most part, everything’s well lit (I’m convinced the real-time dynamic lighting / shadowing has a big part to play here, something that ironically the later games lost), and you can tell characters from the background, and different enemy types are distinct enough to be easily identifiable.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yes, exactly!

    • Enkinan says:

      I came here to say this exact thing. All the pretty models and backgrounds in the world don’t help when all you are looking at is the bright ass names and arrows above everyone.

      I’m hoping they tweak this because it looks like it could be an exciting game. Right now there is just way too much extra screen clutter and confusion. Not a huge fan of seeing people through walls either.

      • Xzi says:

        Have to agree. LoL may be a shit game, but it’s also the most readable, and that’s where it has gained all its popularity. You can play it or watch it and know what’s going on at least 90% of the time.

  8. Lim-Dul says:

    Sorry, but this game footage just proves to me how creatively bankrupt Blizzard have become. Sure, they produce high quality games but everything they are doing gameplay or design wise is re-mixing ideas from games that are popular right now. And not even in the good “bigger than the sum of its parts” or “combining into a whole new thing” way.

    This game looks like a (bad) mix of TF2 and Smite with the visuals and effects reminding me of Evolve (perhaps Blizzard thought Evolve would have been more successful when they started copying ideas for Overwatch).

    • Kitsunin says:

      I don’t even get what you’re saying. Everything is a remix. Saying every aspect of something exists elsewhere is a far cry from saying something doesn’t contain an ounce of creativity.

      Heroes of the Storm is hero brawler which uses the same control scheme and lane-pushing nexus-destroying mechanics as every other such game, yet no other such game has really come that close to being so unique, because apparently it’s very, very hard to make a similar game work without using last-hits, an item shop, and a limited objective focus. That’s what true creativity is, being able to remix things in a way which feels all its own.

      • Lim-Dul says:

        I already wrote that the way Blizzard remixes things doesn’t feel new at all. That’s mainly because for a successful remix you should probably take components that are slightly more niche or forgotten (and make them fresh again). These days Blizzard just looks around the market and notices what’s trending. Then they emulate it with sufficient polish. Really, they’ve become no better than Zynga or King, just in the non-casual game space.

        I don’t know why you had to focus your argument on HotS instead of Overwatch and this particular gameplay footage. Still, for HotS it’s not even the fact that Blizzard didn’t manage to successfully remix a MOBA but rather the fact that they did it at all. Again, they saw LoL and Dota 2 trending and decided to strike. All the while they had YEARS of Dota 1 as a mod to commercialise it but were too unimaginative to take the step.
        While I find HotS enjoyable at the moment (although it’s a severely dumbed down experience overall, even compared to LoL), it might be the first big misstep of Blizzard. I do not think that there’s enough room in the MOBA niche (if it’s even a niche right now) and they cannot muscle their way through with sheer money, marketing and production value like they usually do – Valve and Riot Games have those in abundance themselves.

        • Moraven says:

          Everquest > Dark Age of Camelot (and other small MMOs) > WoW.

          They are all iterate off from the past. Blizzard clearly says this is what they do, multiple times (from the long time employees and leads).

          Blizzard has been working on a MOBA for what, 5 years now (likely before SC2 released. Think All-Stars was announced at 2010 BlizzCon). They scrapped and changed it year to year before we got what we have now. The game we had at 2010 BlizzCon was basically Dota/LoL in all but name. LoL was on the rise for a couple years at that point. Dota 2 beta started in 2011.

          They have a huge audience to work off of, between Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft. There are still lots of people who never played a MOBA. Hearthstone came at a time digital TCGs were on the rise. The physical TCG seemed healthy, but they scrapped that and turned it into a digital game (lots of components were carried over).

        • Kitsunin says:

          I brought up HoTS as an example of how doing something iterative can still wind up something very unique, which does indeed fit into a niche.

          Frankly, there’s a reason even games which are ludicrously similar to LoL and DotA keep entering the market. People want more, but nobody seems able to give them more of anything but exactly the same. I have no idea why it’s so hard to make something similar but not identical, because jesus has every MOBA had only the tiniest of differences (Smite is practically a clone with a third person camera, Strife is good but its differences are all very subtle, Dawngate had interesting, but once again highly subtle differences). Frankly a similar game which was more than identical has been desperately needed, and Blizzard really nailed it with HoTS. I couldn’t disagree with you more that it’s been “dumbed down”, when you’re talking about MOBA’s you should be saying “Made user friendly” because there’s already so much complexity god knows its not all necessary, not even for the professional scene, most likely. Rather, I can’t even think of a single such game which has even tried for such an obvious difference as reducing match length to a ~20~ minute average, so that serves to show that within the highly iterative MOBA genre, HoTS is fantastically unique.

          This is the reason I feel Overwatch might well turn out fantastic. Frankly, there aren’t many games of its type, much as you might say TF2 that seems like an ridiculously stretched comparison.

        • derbefrier says:

          You are just being overly cynical. HoTS while still a moba is probably the most unique of them all. I am no professional LoL or DOTA player but i found HoTS to be really fun and i cant imagine it not developing a good community.

          I do agree with some other complaints( it is rather difficult to see whats going on at times). But they seem to be doing the same thing with Overwatch as they did with HoTS take an established genre like a class based multiplayer shooter and make it recognizable but really like nothing else on the market. I mean its closest comparison is probably tf2 with a sprinkle of MOBA like mechanics as far as i know theres really nothing like that on the market at least nothing worth knowing about.

    • Nibblet says:

      Blizzard, like any other massive corporation, see a constant influx and departure of people.
      Considering the massive outpouring of talented individuals following the Activision merger it is safe to say that Blizzard today bear little resemblance to the one that gave us wow.
      All the Blizzard brand means nowadays is that they have tons of money to spend, not necessarily that they have the talent to do anything with it.

  9. Rizlar says:

    Looks a bit like Arathi Basin.

  10. cyrenic says:

    The bit at the end with a “Player of the game” and what I assume was their highlight play of the game was pretty great. Do other games do this?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I wonder what its criteria is for juding the most important(?) player and most impressive gameplay clip. It wasn’t the highest scorer.

  11. kael13 says:

    Well… I really like the UI. Not sure about the gameplay. I agree it looked a bit dark but then I’m always confused when I spectate mobas, too.

    • Xocrates says:

      There’s a difference between being confused by too much going on, and not even being able to see what’s going on.

      There are moments in the video where the player is just shooting at someone in a 1v1 and you can’t see neither who they’re shooting or if they’re hitting.

  12. LionsPhil says:

    And ye gods! The dialogue! Every action seems to trigger a line…

    No kidding. When your voice quips are already repeating within the first hundred seconds of a gameplay trailer, you’re doing it wrong.

  13. Stupoider says:

    One 7 minute match and I’m already tired of the character’s dialogue!

  14. anonzp says:

    mighta been excited about this 15 years ago.

  15. mrbright01 says:

    I am sure this will induce rage, but… I actually liked the constant voice quipping, at least for this character. It sounded like a monk using a mantra to, yes, kill moving blobs. Out of the complaints I have seen, the only ones that I find myself agreeing with is the darkness/visual difficulty, which I suspect will be fixed before release. The HUD is certainly busy, but I never found myself genuinely saying “What’s happening now?”

    Then again, I generally avoid FPS PVP, because the crowd tends to be toxic (I remember the glory days, before TF2 became F2P hats and 13 year old mouth breathers…) So you go play Smite or TF2 or whatever else floats your boat. I’ll quietly play Overwatch with my like minded crew, and then we’ll all be happy.

    Oh. This is the interwebs, so the 13 year old comment above was a JOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKE! So chill. Relax. Lean back in your bean bag chair in your mom’s basement and relax a minute before filling the reply below with vitriol. I’ll wait.

  16. FelixG says:

    Is it just me or did a lot of his abilities, even the basic shooting one seem to be getting a LOT of aim assist? Shots that should have gone right by the target hit them anyway.

  17. Hieronymusgoa says:

    techno-monks praying magical spheres into life and battling foes with them….well….always when i want to hate on blizzard (curse you, dr.boom!)….and then suddenly something like that comes along :) and im like…..niiiiice