At its semi-annual Blizzcon conference today, Blizzard Entertainment did a couple of cool things. First, company president Mike Morhaime spoke out against GamerGate, not electing to dignify it by naming it, but by putting into no uncertain terms his company's stance towards the hate group:
Over the past couple of months, there's been a small group of people who have been doing really awful things. They have been making some people's lives miserable, and they are tarnishing our reputation as gamers. It's not right. [...] There is another person on the other end of the chat screen. They're our friends. Our brothers and sisters. Our sons and daughters. Let's take a stand to reject hate and harassment. And let's redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful for one another, and let's remind the world what the game community is really all about.
Then, as if to grind that righteousness into the faces of those pitiful assholes who will surely begin boycotting their products immediately, Blizzard announced their first new IP in seventeen years, a near-future online shooter called Overwatch (not to be confused with Bethesda's near-future online shooter called BattleCry, or Gearbox's Battleborn, or your infant child's BornCry), built from the disassembled parts of the studio's cancelled MMO Titan. And despite hailing from a genre soon to be as cluttered as that of MOBAs, it looks pretty good! Maybe I'll actually play a Blizzard game for once.
Like the overwhelmingly popular Team Fortress 2, Overwatch features a cast of colourful, humourous characters in team-based, objective-driven matches, exercising a variety of skills in the pursuit of map dominance, or something. Unlike TF2, Overwatch's characters are a mixture of male and female and robots and giant bespectacled gorillas, and actually look fun to play.* I don't know whether it's the game itself or simply the fact that Blizzard are doing something new for a change, but I'm excited. The characters are all superheroes, each with wildly varied abilities and each hopefully game-breaking in equal measure.
Overwatch will enter a PC beta early next year; you can sign up at the game's website. If the adorable cinematic trailer above doesn't sell you, check out the gameplay trailer below, which is less dramatic but does actually show you the game. One thing's for sure: regardless of whether or not Overwatch is good, its marketing is as great as its social justice war...uh...craft.
* In my objective, scientific, and probably unpopular opinion.