Update, 5/9/2016, 8:00am PDT: Blizzard extended the beta session by one day as a way of thanking players for trying out the game. The beta now stops on May 10 at 10am PDT.
Update, 5/6/2016, 8:03am PDT: The beta is now available for download. According to game director Jeff Kaplan, not much will change in terms of game content at launch, so what you see in the beta is what you can expect in final game (with the exception of some bug fixes, of course).
Overwatch is due sometime this spring, but now we know that it’s coming on May 24. In addition to a new trailer, Blizzard also announced the dates for an open beta session.
The open beta is scheduled for May 5-9. Even though it’s only a preview of the final version, the beta will include all of the maps as well as the entire 21-hero roster. If you decide to pre-order the game, you and a friend will be able to start playing the beta from May 3-4. In addition, the pre-order also provides you with a Noire Widowmaker skin for the final game.
Aside from the regular version (which costs $39.99), Blizzard is offering two other variants of Overwatch on PC and consoles. The $59.99 Origins Edition also includes five additional skins, player portraits, and items for other Blizzard games such as World of Warcraft and Diablo III. The Collector’s Edition will cost you $129.99. It includes the contents of the Origins Edition as well as the game’s soundtrack, a “sourcebook” that contains illustrations and the game’s lore, and a 12.8-inch Soldier -- "76," one of the game’s heroes.
For now, Overwatch is accessible only to a handful of players. Blizzard started the second round of closed beta tests for the game last month, and the feedback from that session will help the development team make further improvements. The open beta should show a near-finished product, which should give players an idea of what to expect when it comes out at the end of May.