After months of build up, an alpha in the can and a beta on the way, Blizzard’s first original IP in several years – Overwatch – has a new trailer with a confirmed release date of May 24, 2016, which is fast becoming quite the wallet-buster of a month.
The news was originally revealed this morning by an advertisement on IGN, picked up by eagle-eyed Reddit users. Blizzard then confirmed the date with the release of the above trailer, highlighting the game’s colorful action and cast of characters alongside press praise from the game’s demonstrations at BlizzCon 2015 and the game’s closed Alpha from late last year. Blizzard also revealed specifics regarding Overwatch’s open beta – starting May 3rd for those who pre-order and will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 – and retail editions of the game. A standard edition at $40 will available for PC only, while console users will have the $60 “Origins Edition” that includes various digital goodies, and both will have the option to purchase the $130 Collector’s Edition, with a statue of Soldier: 76, one of the game’s heroes.
Overwatch, for those not in the know, is Blizzard’s first move outside the territory of Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft in over a decade. Their take on the class-based shooter and MOBA genres (outside their own MOBA, Heroes of the Storm), Overwatch is a first-person action shooter with distinct characters and class roles, attempting to cross up the appeal of Team Fortress 2 (looking increasingly prescient every day) and League of Legends. It also has the distinction of being Blizzard’s first game ever to release at the same time on consoles and PC, a change in direction from the traditionally PC focused developer. Aesthetically looking like somebody let Pixar do a video game, Overwatch certainly looks like nothing else Blizzard has ever done.
It would be unique period, except for one problem; Battleborn. Gearbox’s extraordinarily similar entry into the same genre releases a few weeks prior, on May 3rd, and a subject of much attention going forward will be which, if either, is more successful in bringing together the MOBA and the shooter. While one can’t imagine a conflict between the developers, the sales figures of each will undoubtedly be affected by the other – and that’s not even mentioning everything else coming in May. Overwatch and Battleborn face stiff competition for attention alongside AAA heavy hitters DOOM and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, cult classic sequel Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and potential dark horse hit Homefront: The Revolution. May has become one of those occasional “F*ck Your Wallet” months for video games, and it stands to wonder if Overwatch, or any of those games, can stand out among the rest.