Overwatch 2 Announced at BlizzCon

By Heidi Nicholas,
This year's BlizzCon brought the official announcement of Overwatch 2. The sequel has new maps, heroes, and PvP modes.

Overwatch 2

Game Director Jeffrey Kaplan said at the opening ceremony that all players of the original Overwatch will still get to play with the same maps and heroes as Overwatch 2 players, and that all Overwatch cosmetics would come forward with them into Overwatch 2. This means they'll still have all their skins, icons, emotes, and sprays. Kaplan emphasised that with Overwatch 2, they want to "redefine what a sequel means" and create a "shared multiplayer environment where no one gets left behind". The Overwatch community now numbers over 50 million players, and Kaplan, talking about the inspiration behind the sequel, said that the "last thing we would ever do is...split what an amazing community you guys are".

The cinematic announcement trailer for Overwatch 2, "Zero Hour", took place after Winston made the decision to try and recall Overwatch. At the trailer's beginning, it's just him, Mei, and Tracer, sitting in a mostly-empty plane with only pictures of the other team members. They fly to Paris to deal with an invasion from the Null Sector, and when Mei is injured, they are almost defeated; until the rest of the Overwatch team arrives to help. When the battle's over and the team is reunited and introduced to Mei, a police officer asks Winston: "Does this mean Overwatch is back?" The trailer finishes with Winston and the team turning to the camera as Winston replies: "Yes. Yes, we are."

Blizzard Entertainment also showed a gameplay trailer, in which it becomes clear that the threat of the Null Sector isn't over, and has instead transformed into a global invasion. This plays into the sequel's big focus on story and lore. Kaplan discussed the focus on story when talking about the story missions and PvE. On the game's site, it reads that story missions are where "story and gameplay come together", and where players can "have an active role in the next chapter of the Overwatch saga". The choice of heroes for each story mission will apparently be specific to the objective of the mission, for a tailored narrative experience, and there will be pre-game and post-game cinematics to ramp up the story. The first story mission will apparently be set in Rio de Janeiro.

There'll also be hero missions; a "highly replayable cooperative experience". Kaplan compared these to Diablo, saying, "similar to what adventure mode is to Diablo vs its campaign, that's what hero missions are intended to be". In hero missions, players can level up heroes and customise their abilities. The example shown at BlizzCon was Chain Reaction: this upgraded Tracer's ultimate, Pulse Bomb, so that it caused further explosions. Hero missions take place across the world of Overwatch, and has players battling Null Sector, Talon, and other as-yet unannounced enemies.

Overwatch 2

There's a new PvP mode, "Push", which Kaplan calls a "brand new core competitive game mode", to be played in quickplay, competitive, and by the Overwatch league. Push centres around a robot, found in a central location. As Push progresses, players fight for control of the robot, aiming to push it towards their enemy's base. Push maps will be symmetrical, meaning that whichever team pushes the robot furthest before time runs out will win. One such Push map will be Toronto, the game's first Canadian map, and Blizzard say it will feature snow and maple trees, along with the Toronto subway and multicultural storefronts. There'll also be new locations for each PvP mode already out.

Overwatch 2

All heroes, new and old, will have a new "look". It looks as though all of the heroes are having new or updated armour, with some looking more drastic than others. You can check here to see how several of the heroes compare between Overwatch and Overwatch 2; with the site listing Lucio, Mercy, Reinhardt, Winston, Tracer, Genji and Mei as examples of the new look. Sojourn has been confirmed as one of the new heroes, although Kaplan didn't give any details about the character.

The game will release on the same platforms it's already on. Blizzard haven't yet specified a release date for Overwatch 2, but imply we won't be seeing it any time before next year's BlizzCon. Speaking with VG247, Kaplan said "I don’t have a date, It’s not this year, that’s a pretty safe answer...I have a feeling we’ll be talking about Overwatch 2 again next year at BlizzCon. If that helps.” Some fans have been questioning whether Overwatch 2 would have been more fitting as an expansion than a sequel. Commenting on Blizzard's site and Overwatch 2 trailers, fans have stated that perhaps it would have been better as a free update or paid DLC, and have been doubtful as to whether they'd pay full price for it.

Either way, now that Overwatch 2's been officially announced, it shouldn't be long before we get some more details, perhaps on the new heroes coming with the sequel. We'll be sure to keep you updated with all Overwatch 2 news.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!