Overwatch: Blizzard's Next eSport?

Posted November 13th 2014

This year's BlizzCon held its share of unexpected surprises, including the surprise co-op mode making its StarCraft 2 debut in Legacy of the Void and Hearthstone's brand new shiny expansion pack -- but clearly nothing generated more shock or excitement than the Blizzard's unveiling of a brand new IP: the team-based competitive shooter Overwatch.

At first glance, Overwatch's aesthetic looks like an interesting blend of Pixar-esque movie visuals, Japanese anime, and the stylistic combat shown in the concept trailer for Insomniac Games' Overstrike (the game which was eventually transformed through focus-group testing into the decidedly more militaristic-looking shooter known as FUSE). Overwatch is shaping up to be more than a traditional team-based shooter, however, and what will come as no surprise to many of Blizzard's biggest fans is the fact that the Overwatch team has been refining and tuning this project for a VERY long time.

It was recently revealed that Overwatch actually started life as the multiplayer component of the company's eternally-in-development-and-recently-cancelled MMO known by the moniker of Project Titan. Blizzard is targeting Overwatch to become part of the company's stable of high-quality IP franchises, and its metamorphosis from a wide-scoped MMO into a tightly focused competitive shooter has caused a drastic shift in focus. MMO elements have given way to an emphasis on competition, teamwork, and a large cast of characters with unique personalities, traits, quirks, and arsenals. While these characters do indeed fall into a smaller subset of distinct playstyles/roles common in most team-based shooters (in this case offense, defense, tank, support), it appears Blizzard is aiming for more diversity in Overwatch through its cast than other games like Team Fortress 2 are designed to provide.

As of now twelve characters have been revealed, with more expected as the game approaches launch. While we have no idea at this moment how large the game's final roster will be, it's not difficult to imagine a MOBA-style cast packed with different character looks and gameplay styles that complement certain roles best.

Given the amount of time this game has been in development and its competition-focused genre, it appears likely that the game will be looking to join Blizzard's crowded eSports roster. While Blizzard hasn't tipped its hand quite yet in terms of its eSports aspirations for Overwatch, it's a safe bet we'll be finding out more soon.

Stay locked to evilgeniuses.gg for the latest on eSports developments related to Blizzard's newest IP.


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