This past weekend was a big deal for fans of Blizzard's many popular titles who were able to catch up on the latest announcements from Blizzcon 2015 in Anaheim, CA.
Such announcements include trailers for Warcraft, the new movie directed by Duncan Jones (Moon)...
and the World of Warcraft: Legion cinematic trailer...
...as well as some expansions additionally announced for:
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (45 new cards: "The League of Explorers")
- Heroes of the Storm (4 new characters coming: Cho'gall, Greymane, Lunara, and Tracer)
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (exciting new adventures in development)
- Diablo III (update 2.4.0. which will introduce new areas and Legendary items, changes to Seasonal mode rewards, and a new challenge in the form of Set Dungeons.)
Truth be told though, I don't really care about any of the above announcements because I don't get into Blizzard games very often. It's not that I don't like them, I think their games look very entertaining and fun. But I just never got immersed into their heavily PC world because I've always been a console guy. PC's just get too expensive for me and require too much upkeep in my humble opinion. And yeah, I know Diablo III now has a PS4 port but I genuinely don't care about anything demonic.
The only exception to the announcements above that I could actually get myself excited for is the Warcraft movie because it genuinely looks fun. Plus that whole world interest me because World of Warcraft (trust me I know there's a difference between straight up Warcraft and WoW) was the only world Blizzard owns that I've really dabbled in. When I did have a working laptop that was able to support gaming, I ran a Tauren and had a blast with it, I was also running back and forth to Borders bookstore (tells you how long ago this was) and buying the World of Warcraft mangas which were a ton of fun to read.
But overall, I just don't get to enjoy anything put out by Blizzard due to my technical/financial limitations...
One of the announcements that were made over the weekend at Blizzcon was the reveal that Blizzard's newest IP in 17 years, Overwatch, would not just be a PC only game but would have both an X-Box ONE and Playstation 4 port for the traditional gaming price of $60.
The game will be released as Overwatch: Origins Edition which will come with all sorts of goodies for not only the Overwatch game itself but also some cool bonuses for those who play any of the other popular Blizzard titles.
But there are several different reasons I'm excited for Overwatch starting with the fact that it's going to be released on PS4 which means I am fully capable of immersing myself in the great world building lore and legends that Blizzard is so well known for creating.
But to list off the additional reasons, lets start with...
1. The Characters and their World
One of the things that I look for when seeking escapism through entertainment, be it movies, video games, books, etc., is relatable characters that I can care about and get attached to.
Right from the very first time I heard about this game (which was sadly over the weekend) they really showed off some of the characters in a really great way. See, I actually just happened to stumble upon Overwatch on accident while looking at various gameplay cinematic trailers on youtube, you know, for fun. One of the best cinematic trailers I saw was for Overwatch which had this playful, cartoony, superhero, Big Hero 6 feel to it. Before I go any further, check it out in the video below:
I'm not going to lie, I totally took a break while writing this to re-watch the cinematic trailer but it's just too cool not to.
But that kind of detail given to characters, their history, their relationships with one another, it's just a cool element to this video game that I think has the potential to sky rocket to success and become a franchise spanning mulitple years to come.
But back to the idea of these characters and how amazing they all are, there are 21 Heroes to choose from in this game, each with their own specific set of skills for unique gameplay as well as a well-thought-out backstory per Hero.
My favorites based on their character alone would have to be:
- Soldier: 76
But as far as actual gameplay goes, I probably won't be a good Tracer as I'd like to be just judging on how I know my play-style tends to be in video games. I'll probably, for gameplay purposes will probably be Pharah, Soldier: 76, Widowmaker, Hanzo, and maybe Reinhardt or Bastion (note: you can click on their names to to see their gameplay footage on the game's official youtube channel).
2. Not Your Typical Shooter
What I also find very appealing to this game is the fact that it is a Hero-centric game like many MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) are while at the same time blending that FPS (First Person Shooter) feel to it.
Each character has been uniquely created to provide some role to the gameplay whether that be Offensive, Defensive, Support, or Tank. And just because there are 21 characters and only 4 classes, that doesn't mean we see a whole bunch of copy/paste with the characters. None of the 21 characters is a clone of the other, each one will play differently and will all require a different approach.
What's even cooler is the fact that since this isn't your typical FPS, it will require a lot more strategy in not only choosing your Hero but also how you will play the different game modes available. This game is entirely 6v6 but with the different game modes, it doesn't mean you'll just be able to run and shoot and that that should be your only focus. No, you need to think about the objective because without doing so, you and your team will fail. This is NOT Call of Duty and for that I am thankful that they have gone out of their way to establish that. They've even gone so far as to mention that there'll be no "Team Deathmatch" of any kind in the game.
It's not something that I've seen done a whole lot but it's a style of gaming that many in the video game industry seem to think is promising considering that not only Blizzard is doing it with Overwatch but other companies are putting out games such as Paladins (Hi-Rez Studios), Gigantic (Motiga), and Battleborn (Gearbox Software).
But none of the rival games look to have the same feel that Overwatch is going to have despite the fact that I haven't played any of the games yet. I've chosen my game to support for the FPS MOBA battle and I choose Overwatch.
3. Becoming a Long-Running Franchise
Obviously the biggest challenge of any new IP, even for a monster developer like Blizzard, is winning over the fans. So far, fans who have been lucky enough to participate in the closed beta of Overwatch seem to be very pleased with how it's been progressing so far.
I'd like to see this franchise grow, to become a house name for Blizzard and not just a one-off game. There's so much potential. I want to see more Heroes introduced as DLC whether it's Doomfist (the bad guy they alluded to in the cinematic trailer) or a guest Hero from another Blizzard property whether it be World of Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo.
Wrapping it all Up
So, I'll be supporting this game all the way up to its release and hopefully I can make some room in the budget to make this a day-one buy and maybe even snag the Collectors Edition with all the bonus goodies like the soundtrack, artbook, and Soldier: 76 statue.