Overwatch Alive animated short
Blizzard's second animated short features deadly French assassin WindowmakerScreenshot of Blizzard's 'Alive'

Blizzard Entertainment has released the second in a series of four animated shorts ahead of the launch of multiplayer shooter Overwatch on 24 May. Released on 3 April, the new episode titled "Alive" focuses on deadly French assassin Amélie LaCroix, also known as Windowmaker, who is all about living for the kill.

"When I was a girl, I had a fear of spiders," she says. "I was told they felt no emotion, that their hearts never beat. But I know the truth."

Set in London's King's Row, the episode sets the stage for a conflict behind the upcoming hero-based game, besides giving players an in-depth glimpse of Overwatch's roster of heroes. Alive follows Windowmaker on a mission to stealthily take out a high-ranking officer. The sprightly and heavily showcased British hero Tracer also makes an appearance, as she tries to stop the deadly sniper in a visually-stunning rooftop battle.

The episode shows off dark Windowmaker's skill with a sniper rifle as well as her effective grappling hook feature which, according to game director Jeff Kaplan, makes her a great option for players "who like to use a bit of stealth and deception to get the job done".

"As any seasoned sniper player knows, staying perched in one spot for too long is a great way to get yourself killed — so after headshotting an unsuspecting enemy or two, you can use your Grappling Hook to whisk you away to your next vantage point," Kaplan wrote in a blog post.

Windowmaker will also feature other impressive skills, including noxious Venom Mines that can alert you to the presence of enemies who get too close and poison them in the process as well as her "ultimate ability", infra-sight that reveals where every enemy hero is located not only to you but your entire team.

In March, Blizzard released its first short "Recall", which featured the genetically-engineered gorilla Winston. Since the game does not have a story-mode, the company plans to flesh out the Overwatch lore with additional videos, digital comics and a graphic novel, Overwatch: First Strike.

As Blizzard's first original release in nearly two decades, the multiplayer game will feature a diverse and colorful roster of "heroes", each sporting their own unique skills and backstories.

"Overwatch is a game about jumping into the shoes — or giant mechanical boots — of a hero with incredible powers, and then teaming up to do amazing things," said Kaplan. "You can blink forward and backward in time, return your fallen comrades from the dead, and freeze your enemies into helpless humanoid ice cubes. Each character in our cast comes with a unique set of special abilities that can change the course of battle in the blink of an eye."

The company also announced that time-jumping adventurer Tracer will also make her debut in Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena "Heroes of the Storm" at the end of the month, marking her first cameo before her own game even releases.

Tracer will be available for players who pre-order the game for Windows PC on 19 April and for to the general public a week later on 26 April.

Overwatch is slated for release on 24 May for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One for $60 (£42.31). The open multiplayer beta will kick off on 5-9 May. Gamers who pre-order the title will have early access to the beta test on 3 May.