Overwatch is the thing you do at the end of a turn in XCOM if you’re too afraid to stick your head above the parapet. It’s tactically sound, but a cop-out. Blizzard’s Overwatch sounds like anything but: a multiplayer experiment built in the wake of Hearthstone’s small team success, if recent job listings are anything to go by.
Blizzard were typically prolific this April Fools Day, but their pranks also served to misdirect attention from a spot of real news - a trademark application for the word ‘Overwatch’. It covers not only use in computer games, but also the mouses, headsets and keyboards that Blizzard tend to brand with their game logos and artwork.
All of the pieces have yet to fall into place: but I think we can take a guess at what Overwatch is.
Left 4 Dead lead designer and Counter-Strike programmer Michael Booth has been working at Blizzard since May last year. He’s game director on an unannounced game - and in December put out the call for a lead producer on the company’s “next awesome game”.
“With Hearthstone, Blizzard has revived its tradition of creating small and nimble game teams and we are following in those footsteps,” read the job listing. “We can’t tell you exactly what the game is yet, but trust us, it’s awesome”.
Other recent job listings for the unnamed project asked for experience building “compelling multi-player gameplay spaces” - and animation for “both human and non-humanoid characters”.
Multiplayer, then - with an experienced designer of cooperative and competitive FPS games at the head. What do you lot think it is, exactly?