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Blizzard reveals Overwatch, a team-based competitive first-person shooter

UPDATE: Beta sign-ups now live, due in 2015.

UPDATE 07/11/2014 9.30pm: Overwatch beta sign-ups are now live on its official site.

The beta is due in 2015 and signing up doesn't necessarily mean you'll be selected, but you might as well try.

UPDATE 07/11/2014 7.56pm: Blizzard has announced a team-based first-person multiplayer shooter called Overwatch, its first new franchise in 17 years.

Launching its beta in 2015, Overwatch looks a bit like Blizzard's more sci-fi/fantasy-inspired take on Team Fortress 2 with two teams of six duking it out.

Blizzard described the game's premise with the following passage: "In a time of global crisis, an international task force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities known as Overwatch had come together to restore peace to a war-torn world. After many years, the group's influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Overwatch might be gone now . . . but the world still needs heroes."

Overwatch lets players play as a diverse cast of characters including an armoured gorilla, a spiky-haired teleporting British lass, a wall-climbing ninja, a cybernetic angel, a viking mechanic, a lithe grappling hook-wielding goth girl, a futuristic grim reaper and more.

Environments run the gamut from ancient Egyption palaces, to Japanese lotus gardens and pagodas, to 1930s-inspired English alleyways and cities.

See it in action in its gameplay reveal below.

"Overwatch is our take on a vibrant, near-future universe with amped-up characters and action-packed team-based gameplay," said Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime. "With every new Blizzard game, we look at our favourite aspects of a genre and put our own spin on things. Our goal with Overwatch is to create an awesome FPS experience that's more accessible to a much wider audience while delivering the action and depth that shooter fans love."

For more on Overwatch, Blizzard issued the following descriptions of four of its playable characters:

  • Tracer, a former British test pilot who shrugs at danger, can execute impossible acrobatic assaults thanks to her ability to teleport, drop energy bombs, and even reverse time.
  • Reinhardt, a hulking German soldier in battle armor, can charge great distances and pin his enemies to a wall or slam the ground with his rocket hammer to knock them off their feet.
  • Hanzo, a bow-wielding Japanese mercenary, has the ability to scale walls with his bare hands, fire off a tracking device that illuminates nearby enemies for his team, and unleash a huge spirit dragon that does grievous damage to all enemies in its path.
  • Symmetra, an Indian architech, manipulates light and energy to shield her allies and damage her enemies-and she can turn the tide of any battle by building a device that instantly transports her teammates to the front lines.

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