This month marks three years since Blizzard released its competitive hero shooter Overwatch, the first new IP from the company in 17 years. Since launch, the game has played influence to a number of seasonal events, which promptly started with the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, as well as finding its own space in the eSports ecosystem with the Overwatch League. While most of this timed seasonal content comes and goes, the upcoming anniversary event will offer some of what's been lost to the game's live service model.
The Overwatch Anniversary event will begin on May 21st, and will last until June 10th. While there will be the expected new wave of skins, emotes, and sprays for players, Blizzard will be making everything from past seasonal events available to earn or purchase. In total, there are six new legendary skins and three epic skins players can pick during the three-week event. For those who spend adequate time playing as Baptiste, Ashe, or Wrecking Ball, the three newest characters added to Overwatch, they'll each be getting new dance emotes as well.
Anyone who doesn't own Overwatch will get the chance to jump into the event without having to buy the game. During the first week of the event, from May 21st - 28th, Overwatch will be offering a free trial. All loot and rewards will be available for anyone playing during this week-long period, regardless of whether they're playing during the trial period or own the full game. There'd been speculation of Overwatch going free-to-play according to industry analyst Michael Pachter a few months back, though this likely wasn't the approach he expected.
Let's get this party started! 🎉🎂— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) May 18, 2019
The Overwatch Anniversary celebration begins on May 21! pic.twitter.com/pEh1upfdIv
The success Overwatch has been able to achieve in just a few years is nothing short of impressive. While being named Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2016 is a quality accolade, the game crossed the 40 million player threshold last year, showing the Overwatch community has continued to grow over time. On the competitive side, the first off-season for the official OverwatchLeague saw eight more teams being added across various regions of the world, bringing the league's total team count to 20, and displaying the global appeal for Blizzard's competitive hero shooter.
Overwatch is available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.