Blizzard’s new game is Overwatch, a frantic, cartoonish multiplayer shooter

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So here’s something we didn’t expect. After 16 years of iterating upon its key franchises – Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo – Blizzard Entertainment has a totally new game coming. And it’s a shooter.

But wow, what a stunning, impressively distinctive shooter it is. Overwatch is a superhero-themed first-person shooter in which an array of original characters battle it out in six-on-six objective-based team battles.

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At a glance, the game immediately recalls Team Fortress 2, Valve’s enduringly popular cartoonish free-to-play shooter. It’s an apt comparison, but watch the many gameplay videos that Blizzard has released and you’ll note that Overwatch looks even crazier, and perhaps overwhelmingly chaotic.

One thing’s for sure: it looks downright gorgeous, with character design that recalls fantastical sci-fi anime and Dreamcast-era Capcom and Sega games, with a dash of Disney/Pixar whimsy and precision. It already seems so fully formed and assured in design that it’s frankly breathtaking to behold.

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But that may be because it’s not far from release. Blizzard had the game playable on the show floor for BlizzCon attendees in California this past weekend, and is already accepting applications for a PC multiplayer beta beginning in 2015.

In the meantime, expect the Internet to be flooded with impressions for the next couple days as BlizzCon attendees get a first crack at this sensational-looking shooter.

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