Archer, Cowboy, Medic, and Robo-monk: Check out Blizzard’s Overwatch in action

blizzard overwatch gameplay videos
Blizzard Entertainment has a laser focus in the games it develops. Virtually all of the games in its 20-plus years have fallen into one of three core franchises: StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo (or all three mashed up, in the case of Heroes of the Storm). Any new game outside of those universes is a pretty big deal.

Overwatch is Blizzard’s first new franchise since launching the original StarCraft in 1998. It is a first-person, competitive, team-based shooter. Like Team Fortress 2, it features different characters with drastically different sets of abilities, allowing for creative collaboration between the four broad categories of character: offense, defense, support, and tank. It also draws inspiration for character and map design from popular MOBAs such as League of Legends and DOTA 2, but from a first-person perspective, very much like Gearbox’s upcoming Battleborn. Supposedly the game was salvaged from elements of Blizzard’s cancelled massively-multiplayer follow-up to World of Warcraft, Titan.

Blizzard has released a number of new gameplay videos over the last week or so, featuring complete matches from the perspective of a single character, giving you a much clearer sense of how they will actually operate.

Hanzo, the archer

Hanzo is a Japanese archer who rains down death from a distance as offense. His sonic arrow contains a sonar tracking device, marking your opponents for everyone on your team to more easily hunt down. He also has a nasty fragmenting arrow that ricochets off of walls and obstacles to clear out groups of enemies, especially in enclosed spaces.

McCree, the outlaw

Jesse McCree is a bounty hunter from Santa Fe with a six-shooter on his hip, a robot hand, and “BAMF” on his belt buckle. Like Hanzo, McCree brings the pain on offense. He can place each shot carefully, or fan his six-shooter’s hammer to quickly unload the entire chamber. A combat roll lets him nimbly dodge around the arena, while also reloading his Peacekeeper (a play on the classic Colt Peacemaker revolver that dominated the American west). He also packs flashbang grenades to throw his enemies off.

Mercy, the healer

A renowned Swiss doctor-turned-field-medic, Mercy keeps her teammates feeling spry in a support role. Her primary Caduceus Staff has the dual utility of both healing her allies or increasing the amount of damage they deal. She also has a sidearm for blasting anyone that gets too close, but mostly as a last resort. Those wings aren’t just for show, either, letting her rapidly fly toward allies in need to provide crucial backup.

Zenyatta, the robotic monk

My favorite of the four in terms of backstory and design, Zenyatta is part of an order of self-aware robots that had a spiritual awakening and went to found a monastery deep in the Himalayas. Unlike his more isolationist brethren, Zenyatta sought to bridge the gap between man and machine through joining them as support. His abilities revolve around orbs of energy that he can use as deadly projectiles, link with allies to heal them, or link with enemies to amplify the damage they receive.

Blizzard has not announced a release date, and likely won’t for a while, given the studio’s general policy of releasing games when they’re done instead of rushing to meet deadlines. It is currently scheduled to enter a closed beta later in 2015. It will be released on PC exclusively, with no currently known plans for consoles.

Product Review

The Division 2 brings the most fun we've ever had to Washington, D.C.

After 55 hours with The Division 2, it’s clear that Ubisoft has improved on the original in almost every way. The world is richly detailed, the story missions are wonderful, gunplay and enemy design are great, and the endgame content is…
Gaming

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.
Gaming

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

Here's a look at how the Epic Games Store is sizing up to the competition

The Epic Games Store has picked up exclusives left and right since its launch last December. From AAA games like The Division 2 to wonderful indies like Hades, the Epic Games store has an impressive library of exclusives.
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Gaming

Get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One

You can get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One from Newegg. Eight different bundles are available for this deal, so you can walk away with Sekiro and another game such as The Division 2 or Anthem.
Gaming

Master Shinobi combat with our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beginner's guide

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games of the generation, and it can be overwhelming, even for those who have played From Software's other games. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Gaming

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we've got a guide to help you unlock every allied race that's coming in Battle for Azeroth.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Gaming

PlayStation does the smart thing, stops selling digital codes at physical stores

Sony will no longer offer PlayStation digital full-game downloads at retail stores. The game downloads will now only be available directly from the PlayStation Network's own digital store.
Gaming

Seven years later, ‘Dark Souls’ is still a gloriously punishing masterpiece

Despite my experience and love of From Software’s Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, I never played the original Dark Souls. The new remastered version gave me a chance to remedy that, and it was glorious.