The highly regarded team-based shooter Overwatch 2 has been in development for a number of years. First introduced at BlizzCon 2019, we had to wait a while for any updates on its development, though Blizzard has started revealing some significant information.
Now that we know, PvP in Overwatch 2 will be free to play and go into early access in October, with PvE following in 2023. Every nine-week PvP season will have free seasonal updates, according to Blizzard, while every other PVP season will feature a new hero. Each season will also have a unique battle pass. That’s true, the Overwatch 2 battle pass has replaced loot boxes.
Overwatch 2 will feature new maps, characters, modes, and cosmetics in addition to season-specific content. In other words, rather than being merely glorified DLC, this new era of Overwatch has enough fresh material to feel like a legitimate sequel. In fact, Overwatch 1 will be completely replaced by Overwatch 2 after its release because it is so closely related to the sequel.
Overwatch 2 wasn’t present at Gamescom 2022 as expected. Activision skipped this year’s convention, so Overwatch 2 fans have nothing fresh to get their teeth into despite numerous major games being presented at Gamescom Opening Night Live. At this point, the time until launch is not particularly long.
The Overwatch 2 beta, which is now over, gave fans their first glimpse at PvP content, including one of these new characters, some of the new maps, and the game’s new 5v5 gameplay. As a result, some players have already had a chance to play with Overwatch 2.
PvE will be available some time in 2023, while Overwatch 2’s PVP component will launch in early access on October 4, 2022 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch. It’s an interesting move because it implies that in October, we will only have access to the free-to-play PvP portion of the game.
Although Blizzard hasn’t announced a release date for the whole game, we do know that PvE, Overwatch 2’s second major component, will launch in 2019. It’s unclear whether PvE’s release will herald the game’s complete launch or if Blizzard intends to release it in instalments (or as part of early access).
During an Overwatch 2 Reddit AMA, a question about what “Early Access” meant prompted game director Aaron Keller to respond, “This is only the start of many new things coming to the game. He goes on to explain that the live service concept calls for fresh seasons to debut every nine weeks. Importantly, that also contains brand-new features planned for Overwatch 2.
Both PvP and PvE will be featured in Overwatch 2, the latter of which is a first for the franchise.
While PvE’s current information are scant, we do know that it will be made available through the live service sometime in 2023 and mark the first time that the series would have story-based missions. In these narrative missions, Winston, Tracer, and other original Overwatch players will team up with a fresh batch of heroes.
By participating in a number of intense, high-stakes four-player missions, players will actively participate in the Overwatch saga as a new global catastrophe develops. Players will work together as various sets of heroes as the plot develops to defend the world from the omnipotent forces of Null Sector, learn the reasons behind the robotic armies’ attacks, and confront emerging new threats all throughout the world.
In contrast, Hero Missions will have the Overwatch team travelling the world to fight evil forces laying siege to the world, defend cities from robot invasions, and take on elite Talon agents. Gamers will be able to level up their favourite characters and unlock strong customization options that will supercharge their skills in co-op play. For example, players might change Reinhardt’s Fire Strike to ignite adjacent adversaries or Tracer’s Pulse Bomb to set off a deadly chain reaction.
The PvP maps from Overwatch will be back in Overwatch 2, along with additional maps, including as those for the game’s brand-new Push mode. The maps Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, and Paris will all be removed from Overwatch 2 nevertheless (the latter two of which had already been rotated out of Overwatch).
Game director Aaron Keller was questioned about what will happen to abandoned OW1 maps like Hanamura and Temple of Anubis at an Overwatch 2 Reddit AMA in June 2022. Keller stated that while these maps won’t be included in other modes at launch, they will still be available in custom games. He confesses, “I have some ideas I’d love to attempt when it comes to recycling them,” but then says, “Given present plans, this wouldn’t be able to happen until a distant future.”
In addition to six new maps (Rio, Circuit Royal, Collessio, Midtown, Toronto, Portugal), the new Push game mode, the new Mythic Skin feature, over 30 skins, and the battle pass system, Overwatch 2 will debut with three new heroes—Sojourn, Junker Queen, and an unnamed Support character. The first season of Overwatch 2 is this one.
On December 6, Blizzard intends to release Overwatch 2 Season 2, which will feature a new Tank hero, a new map, over 30 skins, a new Mythic Skin, and a new battle pass. On October 4, 2022, Overwatch 2’s early access launch will take place. Since then, Blizzard has provided a schedule of when we can begin playing in each timezone.
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