Blizzard Entertainment has announced that its popular hero-based shooter Overwatch will be available for free on PS4 and Xbox One between 9-12 September. Although the free play event will not feature the entire game, free players will be able to access all 22 characters and 13 maps, Custom Games, AI matches, Quick Play, the Weekly Brawl and tutorials.
Similar to the full game, players will be able to earn progress, unlock different customisation options through the Hero Gallery and earn loot boxes. However, they will not be able to earn Achievements or Trophies. Gamers, who do decide to purchase the full version after the event is over, can carry over any progress during the weekend and pick up where they left off on the same console they demoed on.
"If you haven't had a chance to join the fight for the future yet on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, then get ready for the perfect tactical opportunity," Blizzard said in a blog post.
Players will not be required to sign up to reserve a seat or provide a code to access the Free Weekend deal.
While PS4 players will be able to find the 9GB download on the PS4 store under the name Overwatch Free Weekend, Xbox One players can find the 15 GB download on the Xbox One's store under Overwatch: Origins Edition Free Weekend. Although PS4 players will not require a PlayStation Plus subscription to try out the colourful FPS, their Xbox One counterparts will require a Xbox Live Gold membership to access it.
The free weekend, however, will not apply to the PC version of the game.
Since the critically acclaimed game's launch in May, Blizzard's first new franchise in almost two decades has proven to be a massive success for the developer, attracting over 15 million players who have logged 500 million hours and counting in the game thus far.
The developer has also managed to keep fans interested with the consistent release of new content and build on its signature rich lore and deep backstories. The developer surprised fans today with the launch of a major 1GB update for several days before its predicted launch date of 6 September that adds Competitive Play season 2 and the gorgeous new Eichenwalde map to the game.
The patch includes several big changes including a new skill rating system, the addition of tier-based rankings, the removal of Sudden Death, hero balances, bug fixes as well as tweaks to the Top 500 system, the competitive point system and leaver penalties.
Director Jeff Kaplan confirmed the early launch in a brief post on the Battle.net forums saying, "season 2 is live on PC." While Competitive Play's second season is live on Xbox One and PC, the game's major update has not yet made it to PS4 yet, presumable due to the PlayStation Network's unexpected downtime earlier.
The free event will begin on 9 September at 7PM BST (11AM PT/ 2PM EST).