Posted by Jeff Kaplan on xBox
As you might have heard by now, Blizzard Entertainment’s newest game, Overwatch, will be launching on May 24 – and we’re really excited to give Xbox Live Gold members a chance to check it out for free during our Open Beta, which is taking place May 5-9.
For the uninitiated, Overwatch is a team-based shooter where you play as one of 21 awesome, larger-than-life heroes. Each hero has their own unique set of powers and weapons that allow them to bend time, defy physics, and do all sorts of incredible things. The game is set on a near-future version of Earth, where you and your teammates will need to work together to complete objectives like protecting the ancient Temple of Anubis in Egypt, escorting an EMP device through King’s Row in London, and battling for control of Lijiang Tower in China.
We want to make sure you get the complete picture of what playing Overwatch is like, which is why we’re giving you a chance to check out everything the game has to offer during the Open Beta – all 21 heroes, duking it out on every single map. As an extra “thank you” to folks who pre-purchased the game, we’re throwing in a pretty cool bonus: If you pre-purchase by April 29, you’ll be able to jump in and play in the Open Beta starting on May 3, two full days ahead of everyone else. Better yet: You’ll be able to bring a friend along with you!
The World of Overwatch: Meet Winston
If you’re familiar with Blizzard, you know that we’re pretty passionate about world-building and storytelling, both in and out of our games. We love the universe of Overwatch, which is why we’re excited to bring it to life not just in the game, but in other ways – like comics, graphic novels, and animated shorts.
As you can see in our brand-new “Recall” short (the first in a series of videos designed to give you a closer look at the heroes and how they fit into the world of Overwatch), ape scientist Winston is a mighty hero who wields high-tech gadgets, including a Tesla Cannon that spits lightning at his enemies from short range.
Winston is one of the four “tank” heroes in Overwatch. He helps his teammates by leading the charge into battle; he can leap across obstacles and over the enemy’s front line to take out a frustrating healer or a sharpshooter perched in some hard-to-reach position.
Or he can hold the line with his allies, throwing up a large, dome-shaped shield to protect them from incoming fire. These shield and leap abilities help Winston close the gap between him and his foes, so that he can get up-close and personal. And once he’s there, it’s the perfect time to trigger his Ultimate ability: Primal Rage.
Like every hero in Overwatch, Winston also has his weaknesses. For example, the short range of his Tesla Cannon makes him vulnerable to heroes with long-range abilities. But one of the unique things about Overwatch is that you’re never stuck being at a disadvantage, because you can swap between heroes at pretty much any moment in a match. So, if Reaper – with his extremely high damage output – is giving you a hard time, try changing to another one of the game’s tank heroes instead. Roadhog, for example, has a vicious hook move that grabs an enemy, stuns them, and tugs them toward him… right into the range of his scrap gun, which packs a big punch up-close.
Or maybe tanks just aren’t your thing. Instead, you can try sniping at a distance as Widowmaker, who uses her grappling hook to evade her enemies and line up the perfect shot. Or you can blink in and out of the fight with superhuman speed as Tracer – who peppers opponents with her twin pistols, drops a pulse bomb, and then zaps away before they realize what hit them.
You don’t even have to focus on shooting if you don’t want to. Reinhardt fights with a massive, rocket-powered hammer. Mercy heals and buffs nearby allies with her Caduceus Staff. And then there’s Torbjörn, who focuses on setting up lethal mechanical turrets in strategic places to lay down cover fire and guard objectives. We want Overwatch to be a shooter that anyone and everyone can enjoy – there’s a place for every kind of play style, and every single hero can benefit their team in a unique way.
We can’t wait for you all to discover which heroes you like best, and find out what crazy, incredible things you and your friends can accomplish together in Overwatch. We’ll see you in the Open Beta this May!