Blizzard kicked off BlizzCon today with some big news for Overwatch fans, though some of you might have seen it coming. Today, Blizzard unveiled a new character for Overwatch, and a host of new features. Along with a splashy introduction for the long-rumored Sombra, fans at BlizzCon were treated to a new CGI short film starring the sassy new hacker-heroine.
The new animated short, titled “Infiltration,” illustrates what happens when a Talon mission goes awry. Sombra steps out of the shadows and takes over. Her debut came as little surprise for Overwatch fans, as imagery featuring the character had been leaked here and there over the past few months.
Her appearance on the BlizzCon stage was, however, a bit of a sly surprise. Blizzard opened the event with a video recapping the Overwatch launch, but Sombra “hacked” her way into the presentation, and the new short film started up.
The introduction of Sombra was just the beginning of the Overwatch news hitting the BlizzCon stage though. Blizzard presenters went on to show off upcoming maps, and a new Arcade mode which will feature new rulesets.
The Overwatch Arcade mode will reportedly offer up 1 vs. 1 and 3 vs. 3 options, allowing players to introduce a little variation into their Overwatch experience. The new maps will take players to the desert and to the Arctic, with Oasis and Eco Point, respectively. Oasis will debut in December, but Eco Point, the Arcade mode and Sombra will hit the Public Test Realm as early as next week.
Overwatch doubles down on eSports
Another big announcement on the BlizzCon stage was the official introduction of the Overwatch League, a professional eSports league which Blizzard intends to become the Overwatch version of the NFL or NBA.
“It’s really important to us that our players are treated well. We want to make this a professional career. We don’t want to make this a risky bet that a kid makes to go become an Overwatch pro, we want to make this a real professional career,” said Nate Nanzer, global director of Overwatch eSports, speaking with ESPN.
The Overwatch League will not only foster competitive play within the Overwatch community, but it will act as a bridge, helping players to make the jump from skilled amateur to professional player. The Overwatch League will reportedly invite eligible players that have been high-performers in competitive play, similar to how pro sports leagues scout players in high school and college leagues.
It’s been a big day for Overwatch, and the announcements on the BlizzCon stage had something for everyone, from casual players to competitive die-hards.