A few days ago, Blizzard announced Overwatch, the developer's first new game in over a decade. It's a fast, team-based, third-person shooter in the same vain as Valve's Team Fortress series, complete with a large roster of combatants that break the mold of what type of characters you'd usually expect from shooters. One in particular is a Gorilla that talks, wears battle armor, and get really upset when his glasses are broken.
Accompanying the game's announcement was a brilliant cinematic trailer that offered a 6-minute look at the premise of Overwatch and its universe. Some said it was a trailer that resembled Pixar's own animated works, invoking a feeling very close to "I want to watch more of this." Blizzard is known for releasing amazing trailers for their games, and Overwatch successfully keeps that trend alive.
Now, judging by that trailer (take some time to go re-watch it right now if you want) players may be expecting a full on story mode or campaign that brings all these characters and their stories together; something for people that enjoy single-player experiences. According to Blizzard, however, that won't be the case. As game director Jeff Kaplan explained to Kotaku, a single player mode would only impede the multiplayer and how well the characters interact with each other.
"I don't think we would ever do a single-player campaign, because the way these characters work... they're cool when you combine them together. Some don't play well alone, either. Unless we built a campaign around supporting somebody else, a support character like Mercy probably wouldn't do well."
There will still be some story set in Overwatch, just not within the game itself. Kaplan didn't explain what form it would take, but did mention that Blizzard's animation department was excited about playing around with this new world.
In-game, though, expect to overhear lines of dialogue spoken by the cast that will serve to expand on the many plot lines and relationships. Considering Winston (the gorilla mentioned before) and Reaper threw down in the CG trailer, it wouldn't be all that surprising to hear them reference that particular encounter mid-match.
While the lack of an in-game story or single player mode may be a bit disappointing, let it be known that Blizzard is considering mod support for the game. Team Fortress 2 continues to be one of the best team-based games around that heavily embraced the modding community, and it would be odd and disappointing if Blizzard didn't do the same with Overwatch. As of right now, there's no telling which aspects of the game will be subject to modding, but there's a lot of time left before the game comes out. So stay hopeful.
"At this time we don't have any specific things to talk about that players can mod in Overwatch, but I hope fans trust that we've embraced modding. It's still to be seen due to technical challenges, but we definitely like the idea."
Overwatch is currently without a release date, but the game goes into beta on PC next year (sign up here). The game will, of course release on PC and, maybe, just maybe, on PS4 and Xbox One. Kaplan noted that a console version "sounds awesome."