After countless leaks and rumors that Blizzard was making Overwatch 2, the game was officially announced at Blizzcon 2019. While we still do not know when we can get our hands on the game, there is a pretty good chunk of information we received from Jeff Kaplan and the team. Here is everything we know so far about Overwatch 2.
Story and Hero Missions
The biggest selling point of Overwatch 2 is the new PvE focused story and hero missions. Story Missions will have four specific heroes for you and others to choose from like the Archive events. Rio De Janeiro map is the only story map confirmed so far. Story Mode is for all of the people who have been asking for more story and lore.
Hero Missions are the other PvE mode coming to Overwatch 2. These cooperative missions are wave-based on maps already in Overwatch. So far Route 66, Paris, Ilios, and Busan are some of the confirmed maps to have hero missions. Unlike Story Missions, you can choose whatever hero you want to use for Hero Missions. It is not certain if all maps will support the mode. Hero Missions are also the mode where the talent system is in place. The experience is built for fun and replayability giving the team freedom to not need to explain why certain team-ups would be happening.
Current consoles and no release date
During the Overwatch: What’s Next panel Jeff Kaplan revealed that Overwatch 2 is coming to all current consoles. So alongside PC, the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One will be receiving the sequel. While we know the platforms it will release on; we do not have a release date. When the release date topic came up, Jeff Kaplan said, “Like, just let us make it great, that’s what we care about more than anything. We don’t have a date in mind.” In a later panel, he said he thought that they would be talking about Overwatch 2 at next year’s Blizzcon, so do not get your hopes up that the sequel will release in 2020.
Three brand new maps were revealed to be coming with Overwatch 2. Monte Carlo takes place in the casino Doomfist and Widowmaker talk to Maximillian during the “Masquerade” comic. Rio De Janeiro is Lucio’s home and one of the story missions. While the map is huge, it is not confirmed yet if it will be available in PvP as well. It dwarves anything put out in the first Overwatch with many different themes and areas to battle through. Gothenburg is the location of Torbjorn’s shop where he has been staying with Bastion. Finally, Toronto was the map shown off the most and debuts a new mode called “Push.”
A new PvP mode
The Toronto map is the first time Overwatch is bringing a new game mode into the regular rotation since launch. Push is much like a tug of war. A robot sits in the middle of the map. When a team has control of the robot, it will push a piece of machinery along the route. Whatever team pushes the opposite team back the furthest wins. After years of very little innovation in competitive mode, Overwatch is finally bringing something new to the table besides another location.
For the first time since Overwatch’s release, no new hero came to the game during Blizzcon. During Overwatch 2’s announcement though, we did find out two new heroes coming to the series. Echo, who was shown for the first time at last year’s Blizzcon, had a presence in the cinematic. We still have no idea how she plays, but we know she can fly and fires some electric energy at opponents from what we saw in the cinematic.
The other new hero shown off was Sojourn, who made her voice-debut during the Storm Rising Archive event. We have seen Sojourn’s image before, but this was our first time seeing her in-game. Like, Echo, there is no real idea how Sojourn will play, but she is confirmed to release alongside Overwatch 2’s release as well as “multiple other heroes,” according to Jeff Kaplan.
Everything from the first game’s PvP comes over (and vice-versa)
One of the biggest worries I had in my wishlist article for Overwatch 2 was maps and heroes left behind in the first game. Those worries were put to rest when Jeff Kaplan confirmed every hero, map, and cosmetic item in the original will follow you to the sequel. Your favorite skins from the first game will all be available for you.
That was not the only worry from my article addressed. The original game is not left behind. While there will still be no PvE section in the first Overwatch, all PvP additions (maps, heroes, and features) will make their way to the original game. Additionally, PvP will feature players on both versions of the game, but there is no cross-platform play announced yet. The team is looking into it potentially happening.
Talents and customization
One of the biggest additions within the PvE side of the game is the talent system. In Overwatch 2, you level up your character as you fight Null Sector. As you level up, you upgrade your abilities with your talent selections. Multiple examples were shown off during Blizzcon. Tracer has a talent where if she sticks an enemy with her pulse bomb, all enemies in the area will blow up. Mei’s cryogenic freeze can turn into a rolling ice ball or freeze all enemies surrounding her. Reinhardt, Hanzo, Genji, and Torbjorn also had some talents shown off.
Of course, talents included in PvP would be completely broken and not a great experience. For this reason, the talent and customization features will only be available in PvE.
The Overwatch team has spent some time updating the looks of heroes. Genji and Lucio are the most noticeable so far, but every hero has received at least a little bit of an update to their armor. Overwatch 2 is using the same engine as the first game but has received significant upgrades to show hair and shadows on character models better. The above image contains the only known updated heroes so far with Torb and Bastion still being in the concept phase.
Heroes are not the only thing getting updated graphically. The development team is practicing by adding dynamic effects to maps. A quick prototype of Temple of Anubis during a sandstorm was shown, and it looks great. They made sure to emphasize that the dynamic effects would only make their way into PvE sections of the game.
A direct sequel
Story-wise, Overwatch 2 takes place directly following the first game. Winston has recently issued the recall, and Tracer and Mei have answered the call. We see in the cinematic that Genji, Reinhardt, Briggite, Echo, and Mercy have also come to join the fight. Torbjorn has decided to ignore the call and is staying home, and Lucio is being pulled in while defending Rio from Null Sector.
While Metro was busy leaking as much of the game as he could, he mentioned that Overwatch 2 might be a prequel. That seems to be one of the areas that he got wrong. For the first time since Overwatch’s release, we will be moving forward with the story. Everything shown lore-wise so far has revolved around backstories and recent events.
PvP is still the focus
Blizzcon had a big focus on the PvE section of the game. Players not interested in the story have nothing to fear. Jeff Kaplan did say that the PvP is the “core” of the game. The new mode Push will receive multiple maps when the game releases. Current game modes also are getting multiple new maps. As a reminder, all new heroes will have a big impact on the PvP as well. There are a lot of smaller updates coming towards the PvP as well. In the next week, the PTR on PC will receive an update. While queueing for competitive games, you will be able to enter other modes while waiting. Also, with the release of Overwatch 2, the UI and HUD are receiving updates. Expect to hear more PvP updates in the upcoming year.
Overwatch 2’s announcement was a success in my opinion. While there are plenty of questions regarding this being a full fledged sequel or not, the story and hero mission modes are going to make this game worth buying for any Overwatch fan. Add in the multiple maps and heroes that will come to both this game and the original and it’s a deal that works out for everyone. Seeing how the newly updated engine will affect gameplay while making everything look better is also what has me excited. While I am worried that Overwatch might hit a period that makes the game more stale than it is now until the sequel releases, I think the wait is going to be worth it once Overwatch 2 releases.