Overwatch 2 took the stage in the early moments of BlizzCon 2019, showing off gameplay, a new hero, new game modes, and more. Nearly eight months later, and we still know precious little about Overwatch 2. We did some sleuthing, though. Here’s everything we know about Overwatch 2, from the release date to new heroes and beyond.
The Overwatch 2 gameplay trailer
Before getting into everything we know, let’s set the stage. Above is the official Overwatch 2 gameplay trailer that covers some elements of the story and co-op, as well as introduces a new hero. Enjoy.
Overwatch 2 release date
Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 in the opening ceremony of BlizzCon 2019. Although the development team showed off some new content, game director Jeff Kaplan said that he has “no idea” when it will release. At the time, Kaplan said that Blizzard doesn’t “have a date in a mind,” and that’s still true today.
The official PlayStation Brazil Twitter account potentially leaked some information, though. In a since-deleted tweet, the Sony-run account said that Overwatch 2 would be headed to PS4 in 2020. Given the state of game delays in 2020, it’s possible that Blizzard had intended to release the game this year. However, now halfway through the year with most talk centered around the next generation of consoles, it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything about Overwatch 2 until 2021.
What is Overwatch 2?
Overwatch 2 is, naturally, a sequel to 2015’s Overwatch. It’s not an entirely new game, though. In many ways, Overwatch 2 is a huge, stand-alone expansion for Overwatch. You don’t need the base game to play the sequel, but players with both versions will play online together. We’ll talk more about that in the coming sections.
In short, Overwatch 2 expands the universe with PvE modes, adding some story-driven content to the game. From what we understand, this new way to play is exclusive to Overwatch 2. Everything else is shared between the base game and the sequel. All new characters, maps, and PvP modes will make their way to Overwatch, and players from both versions of the game will enter matchmaking together. We still have a lot of questions about how this will work, especially given that Overwatch 2 has some significant graphical improvements. Blizzard hasn’t said anything yet, though.
How much will Overwatch 2 cost?
Blizzard hasn’t revealed any pricing information about Overwatch 2 yet, though it’s likely the game will launch with an MSRP of $59.99, just like the original Overwatch. It’s possible, though unlikely, that Blizzard will release the game around the $30-$40 price point given that Overwatch 2 is essentially a massive expansion to the first game. The inevitable retailer leak will probably come at some point, so we’ll know more soon.
New maps, heroes, and game modes
In a shock to no one, Overwatch 2 will have new maps, heroes, and game modes. So far, we’ve seen one new hero and one new game mode, as well as distant screenshots for a handful of new maps. Above, you can see concept art for Rio, Toronto, and Monte Carlo. As mentioned, all of these new additions will be retroactively added to Overwatch.
The only thing that Blizzard won’t add to Overwatch are the PvE modes. There are two types of PvE missions: Story and Hero.
Story mode is, essentially, a co-op Overwatch 2 campaign. Players will join arms as various heroes from the Overwatch roster to take down the robotic Null Sector. Although we don’t know much about Story mode yet, we do know that you’ll be able to pick up items while you’re playing. Playing as Tracer, for example, you could pick up a barrier shield to protect you when bullets start flying. None of the items are exclusive to any particular hero, but they won’t carry over between missions.
Hero mode is a living PvE environment. The missions are designed for high replayability, allowing players to group up and take on the same swarm of enemies over and over again. The main draw of this mode seems to be character progression. As you play Hero missions, you’ll earn experience for the hero you’re playing as, which unlocks modifiers for that hero’s abilities. Given how strict Blizzard is about competitive play, we suspect that these buffs are exclusive to PvE.
Overwatch 2 new hero: Sojourn
To those versed in Overwatch lore, Sojourn is a natural inclusion for Overwatch 2. She’s been featured in multiple cinematics for the original game and has roots dating back before Overwatch’s 2015 launch. Michael Chu, lead writer of Overwatch 2, told PlayStation Blog that “she will be extremely important to the events that take place in Overwatch 2.” Still, we know very little about how Sojourn will actually play.
It’s pretty clear that she’s an Offense hero, though. In place of arms, Sojourn as two guns. One is clearly shown as an assault rifle in the gameplay trailer, though the other remains a mystery. For a briefing shot at the end of the trailer, it looks like a shotgun or maybe a grenade launcher, but it’s hard to say for sure. We do know that she’s Canadian,, so we expect many of the story missions will take place on the Toronto map.
Hands-on Overwatch 2 impressions
Although we haven’t had a chance to get our hands on Overwatch 2 yet, some players have. Youtuber ohnickel was allowed to stream nearly two hours of gameplay from the BlizzCon 2019 show floor. And, unsurprisingly, the game looks great. Of course, there’s nothing new in the gameplay that Blizzard hasn’t announced, but it’s nice to see the game actually running.
Your collection carries over
There’s an inevitable problem with all games-as-a-service titles when it comes time to jump ship: Cosmetics. Thankfully, that’s not an issue in Overwatch 2. All of your cosmetics from the first game will transfer to Overwatch 2. Although Blizzard isn’t releasing any new heroes for the base game until the sequel launches, the cosmetic factory is still in full swing. Even now, you can rest assured that if you earn rewards from loot boxes, you’ll have them in Overwatch 2.
Every Overwatch 1 hero will be in Overwatch 2
Going backward, all Overwatch heroes will be in Overwatch 2. In the announcement panel, as well as several interviews, Kaplan has confirmed that they’re not cutting any characters from the roster, simply adding new ones. We’ll likely see some balance changes to account for the new heroes, but the roster is only going to grow from here on out.
Overwatch 1 and Overwatch 2 players will play together
Overwatch 2′s PvP environment is simply an extension of the first game. When playing competitively, all players will operate in the same ecosystem, regardless of the game version they have. Blizzard will add new PvP content to Overwatch, creating a centralized system for all players.
We don’t know how this will look, however. It’s possible that you’ll need an external account, but that seems unlikely given Blizzard’s dedication to maintaining the current Overwatch ecosystem. We know that players with both versions of the game will play together. However, we don’t know if players on other various platforms will play together.
Loot boxes may be a thing of the past
Overwatch has been at the center of the controversy surrounding loot boxes, though they may not be present in the second entry. In an interview with PCGamesN, Overwatch 2 game director Jeff Kaplan had this to say: “Well, we have made a lot of changes to loot boxes and how they work over the years, so we’re definitely open to change. Overwatch 2, in terms of business model, we’re exploring different options that move us away from loot boxes …” In the same interview, Kaplan mentioned a battle pass, though not as a direct replacement for loot boxes.
Overwatch 2 new game mode: Push
Overwatch 2 will bring multiple new game modes, but we only know about one: Push. Essentially, two teams each have a robot pushing a barrier to the other side of the map. If you push back the enemy team far enough, the barrier will move forward and vice versa. Push is a bit of a riff on Escort, except both teams have payloads they need to protect.
Frankly, it looks excellent. The focus on two central points opens up a lot of possibilities. Sure, you’re going to encounter a firefight around each barrier. However, you can use that to your advantage to hang back and attack from a different angle.
Finally, some characters are getting a facelift. Reinhardt doesn’t have a helmet anymore, Mercy got a haircut, and Lucio has glowing hair. So far, there are new character designs for Tracer, Mercy, Lucio, Reinhardt, Genji, Mei, and Winston, which you can find here. It sounds like all of the heroes are getting a graphical update, though.
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