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Overwatch Beta In Autumn, Two New Characters Shown

Russians vs. Cowboys , the ultimate battle.

As part of the preview event at PAX East, Blizzard announced two new characters and a revised beta date for the upcoming class-based multiplayer FPS Overwatch [official site]. They are Aleksandra Zaryanova, a russian strongwoman and Jesse Mccree, a bounty hunter cowboy fellow. They bring the total cast to fourteen members. At the end of the presentation, embedded below, game director Jeff Kaplan also announced that beta for the game would start in fall, revising the estimate from Blizzcon of "this year."

Zarya's role is as a tank, protecting others from damage and throwing out AoEs like deadly explosive candy. Her main weapon is a Link Gun-style beam, while its alternate fire is an on-contact grenade type deal. She also has a shield that can be deployed on herself or allies and absorbs a hefty chunk of incoming fire. Her ultimate ability fires a gravity bomb that draws all enemies towards its point of impact, setting them up for her alternate fire.

Speaking about Zarya's physical design, Jeff said:

"We've been hearing a lot of discussion amongst players about the need for more diversity in video games. And that means a lot of things - they wanna see gender diversity, they wanna see racial diversity, the wanna see diversity along lines of what country people are from. But there's also talk about diversity in different body types and that not everybody wants to always have the same body type represented. And we just wanted you to know that we're listening and we're trying hard and Zarya is the first step towards that. We're paying attention."

You can read her backstory and some other tidbits on the official character page.

Mccree, meanwhile, is a damage dealer. He has "BAMF" emblazoned on his belt buckle, meaning everyone who plays as him will be an absolute premium quality bastard. A Rich Stanton first pick, for sure. He's got a revolver that he can fire in accurate semi-automatic or a full six-shot burst. A flashbang grenade can be thrown to stun groups of enemies for a second or so. His ult is an auto-locking instant-kill for every enemy on screen, firing after a couple of moments.

He sounds ludicrously overpowered, like all good heroes. More on the character page.

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Ben Barrett