After months of speculation, Overwatch 2 made its official debut at BlizzCon 2019.
The sequel to Blizzard's team-based shooter was revealed by creative director Jeff Kaplan at the annual event, accompanied by an emotional cinematic trailer (which you can find below).
Overwatch 2 is a bit of a deviation from the series' usual format. The sequel will feature new PvP modes, with Push being the staple of competitive play, as well as new maps, cosmetic items and characters – including Sojourn, who was unveiled during the event.
While these new PvP modes are expected, new for the series is the addition of story and hero missions that allow for cooperative play – a first for the Overwatch series. In these "highly-replayable" missions, you and five friends will attempt to complete objectives together against the AI, which should serve as a welcome reprieve from the intense online PvP modes the series is known for.
There's quite a lot to wrap your head around – but don't worry, as we've gathered together everything we know about Overwatch 2 so far below for your perusal.
[Update: Overwatch has announced what is "very likely" its last hero before Overwatch 2. Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to Blizzard's team-based shooter
- When is it out? TBC
- What can I play it on? Probably PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One (plus next-gen consoles)
Overwatch 2 release date
Blizzard officially unveiled Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon 2019. Apparently the sequel is still in early development and Blizzard doesn't know when it will release.
"I don't know. I have no idea," creative director Jeff Kaplan said during the Overwatch 2 reveal panel. "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 January 2020, the official PlayStation Brazil Twitter account caused some excitement when it tweeted that "2020 will be the year Overwatch 2 comes to PS4" before deleting the tweet (naturally now preserved in screenshot form by Voxel). This was then followed up a matter of days later by a tweet from the official account of the Overwatch League team Vancouver Titans (via Dexerto) which also mentioned a 2020 release date before being deleted. But with no official comment from Blizzard this should be taken with a pinch of salt. It might be a simple mistake rather than a leak.
Overwatch 2 trailers
Overwatch 2 was officially revealed by Jeff Kaplan at BlizzCon 2019, alongside an eight-minute cinematic trailer titled "Zero Hour".
Check it out below (but have some tissues at the ready):
During BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard also dropped a three-minute gameplay trailer for Overwatch 2 which showcases the sequel's new look.
Watch it below:
Overwatch 2 news, rumors and confirmed features
We've gathered together all the news and rumors surrounding Overwatch 2 below, alongside the confirmed features so far:
Echo comes to Overwatch
Blizzard has announced a brand new Overwatch hero called Echo and has said that it's "very likely" going to be the last hero added to the base game before Overwatch 2.
Talking to Polygon, Jeff Kaplan said that the development team has “a number of new heroes in development. We have multiple tanks, and we have multiple supports in development. But after Echo, the team is going to be heavily focused on Overwatch 2 development.”
At the moment, though Kaplan doesn't have any release date details to give, adding that “development is going great. The team’s having tons of fun making the game, I feel like we’re starting to understand it even more.” It seems that Overwatch 2 is still a way off yet.
Michael Chu leaves Blizzard
Overwatch's lead writer Michael Chu has announced his departure from Blizzard after 20 years of working there. Chu, responsible for much of the game's lore and character back stories, posted the news to his blog and on Twitter. Chu hasn't revealed what his next steps are but has said he hopes "to continue to tell these stories and build worlds that unite people through games."
Overwatch fans, naturally, will want to know how this departure might impact the development of Overwatch 2, especially since it seems to be putting an emphasis on Story and Hero missions. According to Blizzard in a statement (via PCGamer), the game shouldn't be affected.
"We’re incredibly grateful to Michael for his contributions, and his presence at Blizzard will be missed. We’re not anticipating an impact to our plans for Overwatch 2. The game’s development is a massive collaborative effort involving talented people across multiple teams, all with a shared commitment to the values of Overwatch and the vision for Overwatch 2. We’re working hard to create an epic, story-driven experience for players, and we can’t wait to share more."
Another release date tweet
Not long after the official Twitter account for PlayStation Brazil tweeted about a 2020 release date for Overwatch 2, the official Twitter of the Overwatch League team, the Vancouver Titans, has done the same thing. Like the tweet made by PlayStation, this latest tweet has since been deleted but it's been captured by Dexerto. The tweet says "Overwatch 2 is coming out this year" before going on to express excitement about "all the new game modes".
As before, Blizzard hasn't made any official comment so it remains possible that this is just another mistake from an official Twitter account. Though it's now a touch more suspicious that two groups who potentially have close ties to Overwatch 2 have made this error. Regardless, we won't know the truth of the matter until we hear from the developer itself.
Release date leak?
The official Twitter account for PlayStation Brazil has caused some excitement amongst Overwatch fans after tweeting out that "2020 will be the year Overwatch 2 comes to PS4". The tweet has since been deleted but a screenshot has been captured by Voxel. There's been no official comment from Blizzard on the matter but it's quite possible this was a simple mistake on the part of the PlayStation Brazil Twitter team. We won't know for sure until we get an official comment; previously Jeff Kaplan has flat out said he doesn't know when the game will launch as it's still in its early stages.
Teasing another hero?
Blizzard has been fairly tight-lipped when it comes to the hero roster for Overwatch 2 but fans who tuned into Jeff Kaplan's Yule Log livestream have been left wondering if the director was teasing a new hero for the next release (via ComicBook). During the course of Kaplan's livestream, while building an Overwatch Lego set at around the 6 hour and 11 minute mark, he mentions established Overwatch character Junker Queen and threw out some questions on whether or not she's "ever going to be a hero" and what role she might take if she was one. It was far from a confirmation of anything but it's been enough in an otherwise quiet livestream to grab the attention of Overwatch fans. We imagine if Junker Queen is going to be a hero in Overwatch 2 we'll get a confirmation closer to the game's release whenever that may be.
Larger maps and more heroes
In a recent interview, Overwatch 2's assistant director, Aaron Keller, and lead writer, Michael Chu have expanded a little on the team's ambitions for PvE play. According to Keller, there are "lots of heroes" in the work for the game and that its PvE maps are "2x larger than regular Overwatch maps."
This increased scale is all in the service of telling more story in the Overwatch world and that the new co-op story missions will allow for “a more traditional way to tell a story in the Overwatch universe.”. A story which, Chu said, will have a "beginning, middle, and end".
Naturally, as stated before, PvP is still a focus for the team and progression in PvP will be "entirely separate" from PvE.
According to Keller, “we don’t want gameplay changing talents and abilities to give an unfair advantage in PvP. We’re still exploring what players can earn in PvE and building out the progression system for that. Our goal is to make a robust meaningful progression system that feeds into our Hero Missions where players can play and replay for many hours or as their main mode of play after they complete the Overwatch 2 story.”
“With Overwatch 2, we’re building the cooperative, narrative-driven game experience that players have been asking for since the original—and that we’ve wanted to make for a long time,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re looking forward to telling the next chapter of this epic story in-game, and we’re excited to give players a whole-new kind of co-op experience built around progressing and customizing their favorite heroes – all while providing even more of everything they love about Overwatch today.”
PvP is still a focus
Despite a heavy emphasis on the new co-operative modes, Kaplan took time to dispel the myth that Overwatch 2 would lose out on the multiplayer modes that made 50 million people play the game in the first place.
In fact, according to Kaplan, a huge focus for the Overwatch 2 team is making PvP as good as it possibly can be – which includes new maps, new modes and new characters further down the line.
Cosmetic items will cross over
According to Kaplan, all the cosmetic items earned in the original Overwatch will be ported over to Overwatch 2 – a move that will help expedite the transition to the new game.
Hero Missions see the Overwatch team traveling the globe, defending cities against robot invasions, taking on elite Talon agents, and battling the villainous forces laying siege to the world. This "highly-replayable mode" will allow players to level up their favorite heroes and earn powerful customization options that supercharge their abilities in co-op play – such as altering Reinhardt’s Fire Strike to ignite nearby enemies or modifying Tracer’s Pulse Bomb to cause a devastating chain reaction – granting the extra edge they need against the overwhelming odds.
Overwatch and Overwatch 2 are compatible
Current Overwatch players can play alongside Overwatch 2 players in PvP multiplayer. In addition, current Overwatch players will be able to play Overwatch 2 heroes and maps.
Co-operative missions see players teaming up to "stand together against an overwhelming outbreak of threats around the globe".
Overwatch 2 Play
Similar to what we seen with its predecessor, Overwatch Play carries forward existing players’ accomplishments and loot collections and features the current complete Overwatch roster, a new generation of heroes, new maps that "widen the scope of the world" and a new Push map type – plus more to be revealed.
Story missions sees Winston, Tracer, and other members of the original Overwatch, join forces with a new generation of heroes. Players will take an active role in the Overwatch saga as a new global crisis unfolds through a series of intense, high-stakes four-player missions. As the story progresses, players will team up as different sets of heroes and fight to defend the world from the omnic forces of Null Sector, uncover the motives behind the robotic armies’ attacks, and come face-to-face with rising new threats around the globe.
New engine upgrades
Overwatch 2 introduces significant engine upgrades that support larger maps for co-op (PvE) play, as well as the wide variety of new enemies and factions that players will encounter on their missions. The game also introduces visual enhancements.
Overwatch 2 was officially revealed at BlizzCon 2019, alongside an eight-minute cinematic trailer. We also got a three-minute gameplay trailer which showcased the sequel's new look, alongside new hero abilities.
Overwatch 2 will feature new PvP modes, with tug-of-war Push being the staple of competitive play, as well as new maps, cosmetic items and characters, including Sojourn. While the new PVP modes are expected, new for the series is the addition of story and hero missions that allow for cooperative play – a first for the series.