Blizzard have revealed the sequel to Overwatch at BlizzCon 2019. Overwatch 2 isn’t a free update, but a full sequel. That said, Blizzard are blurring the lines as to what a sequel means.
Players of the original Overwatch won’t be left behind, with all new maps being folded back to the original game, all of your cosmetics and progression carrying forward, and so on. In fact, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will be able to play together. They share the same online servers, balance and gameplay, and will be updated in lockstep with maps and characters.
So what’s new in Overwatch 2? Well, quite a lot. Blizzard are greatly expanding the story PvE side of the game, which was previously reserved for limited time events in the original game. There’s a full story mode, the first episode of which takes players to Rio de Janiero, and something called Hero Missions, which are described as “highly replayable co-op”, featuring meaningful character progression and customisable abilities. It was compared too Adventure Mode in Diablo.
All of the existing characters have had a visual overhauls, and there’s a new one called Sojourn as well. All of this will presumably also be added to the original game.
There’s a new “core competitive” PvP mode called Push, which will be part of quickplay, competitive and the Overwatch League matches. The first new map to be featured in Overwatch 2 is set in Toronto, with seems to feature a robot pushing barrier back and forth depending on which team has control over them at that particular point, leading to back and forth battles.
The announcement cinematic took us to Paris, as Winston, Mei and Tracer turned up just in time to fight off a Null Sector invasion, new enemies that we’re not particularly familiar with from the original game – that was almost all the mixed up battle between Overwatch and Blackwatch in competitive multiplayer.
It all kicked off with a recap of the story so far, dipping into the many narrative threads that Blizzard have laid through cinematics and character introductions. Up until now they had felt like little more than nice touches alongside the PvP battling and occasional PvE limited time events in the hero shooter, but Overwatch 2 is set to change that.
As an industry that loves a good game leak Overwatch 2’s arrival came up a little ahead of time, via demo guide instructions obtained by ESPN. This let slip that there would be a playable build of Blizzard’s new co-op PvE mode, an expansion to the core multiplayer game that has been rumoured for some time. This was followed by leaked artwork via the official Blizzard gear store. Nothing says Overwatch 2 more than an image URL which reads “ow2-fine-art-gallery.png”. Classic.