Blizzard's legendary reputation was built on real-time strategy, massively multiplayer online, and collectible card games - but for its next release, the studio will dip its toes into the shooter market. And based on what we've played, Overwatch is very promising indeed.
It won't be long before everyone can get their hands on the team-based, first-person shooter experience, as Blizzard today announced that Overwatch will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on 24 May. That's a little more than two months from now, but Blizzard plans to open the floodgates a little earlier, even.
To ensure that the multiplayer-focused game is finely tuned for its official debut, Blizzard plans to host an open beta on all three platforms, letting anyone with the hardware plug in for a few days to see what the fuss is all about. All of the launch content, including all maps and playable heroes, will be fully available from 5 May through 9 May, free of charge.
And there's a nice bonus for anyone who is already set on Overwatch: pre-ordering a physical copy or pre-purchasing the digital release will earn you early access to the open beta, letting you tap in on 3 May for a couple extra days of fun. Got a mate who wants to play along with you? Perfect, because that early access promotion comes with an extra code for a pal, too.
We just went hands-on with the most recent pre-release build for a preview that posted yesterday, and we praised the MOBA-flavoured shooting and delightfully diverse heroes, among other features. Will that be enough to draw £50 (or US$60) from players as many competitive, multiplayer-only games these days go free-to-play? We'll find out for sure come May.