Blizzard bombshells leak before BlizzCon

With just five hours to go before the official opening of BlizzCon 2015, it looks like a few cats have been let out of Blizzard’s normally secure bag. There’s good news and bad news here, and a resounding silence if you were hoping for more Diablo.

World of Warcraft - good news and bad news.

World of Warcraft – good news and bad news.

First up, the bad news: An image has been leaked that suggests Legion, the next World of Warcraft expansion, may not be released until September 2016. The image was briefly posted to Battle.net before being taken down, but the crucial phrase remains: “Expected game release on or before September 21st, 2016”.

Sure, tomorrow technically fits into that generous timeframe, but Blizzard being Blizzard, we’re assuming it’ll be later rather than sooner.

The good news is multi-pronged. Firstly, upcoming shooter Overwatch will be released “on or before June 21st, 2016”, because that seems to be Blizzard’s new way of announcing dates.

Secondly, the game’s coming to console, with PS4 and Xbox One versions – as well as the already-acknowledged PC – confirmed via another leaked image.

Overwatch: Coming soon to console!

Overwatch: Coming soon to console!

Overwatch is Blizzard’s first new franchise in nearly two decades, and while it wouldn’t have been inappropriate to settle as a PC exclusive, shifting to consoles is a nice move from the publisher.

We’ve also learned another interesting tidbit – while many were wondering if Overwatch would be a free-to-play downloadable title, Blizzard has whacked a US$60 pricetag on the game, no matter which version you choose to play. There’s no mention of subscriptions, so this one could be a traditional buy once / play forever release. How refreshing!

Blizzard’s only public response has been typically coy:

We are excited to share more information about Overwatch with everyone at BlizzCon this weekend–so be sure to tune in to the opening ceremonies.

BlizzCon 2016 kicks off on November 6 in Anaheim, California. The opening ceremony is set for 11am PDT (what’s that in my timezone?), and you can tune in online to watch. The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the eSports finals for Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and StarCraft II, will be streamed live and free – if you need more, you should grab a virtual ticket.

We’re hoping to see the first Warcraft movie trailer shown off – but no matter how many fingers we cross, it doesn’t look like Diablo will get much of a look-in. The game, which many had pegged for an expansion announcement, has a single hour-long panel across the entire weekend. Boo.

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