Gaming Roundup: Blizzard Rebounds with Overwatch

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A couple of months ago, the gaming universe mourned the demise of Blizzard Entertainment’s Titan—an ambitious new MMO shooter eight years in the making. The game’s cancellation raised a number of questions—most notably, how it would impact Blizzard’s bottom line and whether the all-star developer had any other strategies by which to foster and develop a new IP.

As it turned out, Blizzard had a plan all along. Meet Overwatch.

Overwatch is a squad-based multiplayer shooter that, on first blush, appears to be very much cut from a similar stylistic cloth as Team Fortress 2, with a heavy dose of Pixar influence (think The Incredibles in video game form). The game is set some time after a global crisis necessitated the formation of an international task force of heroes, codenamed Overwatch, which helped end the threat and assisted in fostering a new age of peace and innovation for several years, before their influence began to wane and the task force was disbanded.

Even though there’s no single player campaign, the game will have a story, likely to be told through characterization and banter rather than via any sort of defined path. Gameplay will be based on squad-based 6 vs 6 combat, and players will be able to choose from one of 12 unique characters with carefully designed skillsets that complement one another in battle. Similar to League of Legends, Blizzard will add more heroes to the game over time—they view Overwatch as an infinitely expandable universe, and plan to explore its limits over the next several years. Additionally, several character, map, and gameplay elements carried over from Titan, so its years of development weren’t a total loss.

Overwatch is currently being developed for PC, although Blizzard has not shut down the possibility of an eventual console version. Look for a beta to come as early as 2015.

In other gaming news this week, episode one of Telltale’s Game of Thrones game nears release, Assassin’s Creed: Unity gets panned, and Dragon Age: Inquisition impresses. Read on!

  • The first episode of Telltale’s take on the Game of Thrones universe will launch soon, according to the developer, and is titled Iron From Ice.
  • GTA V is set to hit the PS4 and Xbox One next week. Check out the launch trailer in all its current-gen glory below.

  • Assassin’s Creed: Unity launched this week, and while most seem to agree that the game looks graphically incredible, the PS4/Xbox One offering just doesn’t present enough in terms of innovation or meaningful gameplay to differentiate itself in any significant way from earlier AC games. One of the risks a franchise runs when it releases a new game every two weeks…
  • If you’re a fan of old school D&D RPGs and Beamdog’s work on the recent Baldur’s Gate remake, you may want to check out the developer’s latest release, as they’ve now worked their magic on another classic of the 90s. Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is now available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
  • BlizzCon brought us plenty of news this week, including the announcement of Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void—a standalone expansion to the Starcraft II universe.

  • Developer CD Projekt Red is well known in the gaming-verse for their unique and admirable anti-DRM, pro-content stance on their work, and their latest game, The Witcher 3, falls right in line with their philosophy. The game will reportedly have 16 post-release DLC packs, and all of them—yes, all 16—will be released for free.
  • Finally, the pre-release buzz surrounding Dragon Age: Inquisition is very, very positive indeed. BioWare may have another hit on their hands when the game launches next week.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

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