I’m still trying to learn how to play D.Va, but Blizzard is already gearing up for Overwatch.
If you’re not knee-deep in Overwatch Lore, here’s a quick primer on all the significant elements of that teaser and what they could mean for the game:
- The two notes on the image are attributed to Torbjorn and Mercy (real names Torbjorn Lindholm and Angela Ziegler). Despite Torbjorn’s assurances, Mercy is concerned about the “Prototype Biotic Rifle” perverting her healing technology to inflict injury. She’s almost certainly right (c’mon, what kind of sniper rifle can’t kill stuff) and it likely means Mercy’s about to get a new rival.
- Both Mercy’s Caduceus Staff and Soldier: 76’s Biotic Field emitter are depicted as lending elements to the rifle design. Mercy’s staff emits a constant stream of healing toward a single target (it can also boost their damage), while Soldier: 76’s field emitter heals every team member within a small radius for a short time. Perhaps the rifle will combine both, letting players shoot a healing aura onto friendlies from afar?
- The header indicates that this memo was sent to Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes, who are now known as Soldier: 76 and Reaper respectively. This memo must have been sent out a number of years before the game takes place since Reaper’s been A Very Bad Guy for a while now. Where has the rifle been since then?
- The image Tweeted out by the Brazilian Overwatch account (via Polygon) has one more detail: A. Amari is included as one of the memo’s recipients. The only established character who would fit that name is Ana Amari, the mother of Fareeha “Pharah” Amari. Ana was one of the founding members of Overwatch but is now mysteriously absent, and she’s been rumored to be the game’s first post-release character for months. Not to mention she wields a sniper rifle in the game’s official art.
- Reaper mentions working with a character named Sombra in one of his voice lines on the Dorado map, and a few other references to the character have been discovered in in-game art. Given Ana’s absence, the two may be one in the same.
With Competitive Play live across all platforms, Blizzard can move on to making free new heroes, maps, and modes. Personally, I would be very excited to try out a support sniper, since I enjoy healing and only ever play Hanzo or Widowmaker when I need to kill some turrets. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long to be properly introduced to the biotic rifle’s current owner.
Overwatch is an upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter in development by Blizzard Entertainment. Unveiled at BlizzCon 2014, the game emphasizes cooperative gameplay using a cast of various “heroes”, each with their own abilities and roles within a team. The game entered closed beta in North America and Europe on October 27, 2015, with plans to bring the beta to Asia at a later date. The game is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in the first or second quarter of 2016. Unlike previous Blizzard releases, there are no plans for a version of Overwatch for OS X. Overwatch features squad-based combat with two opposing teams of six players each.
Players choose one of several hero characters, each with their own unique abilities and role classes. The four character roles include: offense characters with high speed and attack but low defense, defense characters meant to form choke points for enemies, support characters that provide buffs and debuffs for their allies and enemies respectively (such as healing or speed alterations), and tank characters that have a large amount of armor and hit points to withstand enemy attacks and draw fire away from teammates.
Players can switch between characters in-game following deaths, which is encouraged by the game’s overall design. The game’s maps are inspired by real-world locations; the first three maps unveiled (“King’s Row”, “Hanamura”, “Temple of Anubis”) are inspired by London, Japan, and the ruins of Ancient Egypt. Overwatch currently has two main game modes, with some maps featuring a hybrid of the two modes.