Five years after Overwatch was announced at BlizzCon 2014, developer Blizzard Entertainment has introduced its next chapter, Overwatch 2.
Overwatch was released for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on May 24, 2016. (A Nintendo Switch version was released last month.) The team-based first-person shooter was multiplayer-only, with the world’s story told primarily outside the game. Overwatch 2 is expected to change that, pulling the universe’s story back into the game with a long-awaited story mode. A new hero, Sojourn, was revealed, too. Overwatch’s 31 heroes, plus more, will get all new looks.
During its BlizzCon 2019 opening ceremony, Blizzard unveiled Overwatch 2, confirming information published by ESPN in October. (Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan introduced the game on stage, starting off with a goof on the recent leaks.) Overwatch 2 is still a multiplayer experience, but players don’t only have to fight against each other. They’re working together in story-based missions, similar in design to Overwatch’s Archive event missions. Heroes in these missions will operate on a leveling system to unlock “talents” and in-game items, all of which further iterate on Overwatch’s unique hero system.
The Overwatch 2 cinematic begins with the reassembled crew dropping into Paris to fight a Null Sector invasion. Whoops, and now there’s a super giant omnic with a massive red laser beam. Mei’s injured in the fight — and Winston stays behind to hold the line, not before Genji, Reinhardt, Brigitte, Mercy, and Echo drop in. Notably, a few heroes clearly have new looks — and maybe new abilities, too. Genji’s sword looks a bit different, and Brigitte and Reinhardt are able to interlock shields.
As they say, the cavalry’s here.
Blizzard has typically told Overwatch’s story in animated videos, novels, and comic books — most of which has just documented the past. People invested in Overwatch’s lore have been begging Blizzard to move the dang story forward already. The most exciting part of Overwatch 2 is that it’ll finally happen.
Despite introducing a story mode, Blizzard isn’t dropping the competitive multiplayer. A new competitive mode, Push, was also showcased at BlizzCon 2019. Overwatch players will play on all the same maps as Overwatch 2 players, including the new maps. They’ll also get all the same heroes — “a shared multiplayer environment where no one gets left behind,” Kaplan said. Progress, too, will move forward into Overwatch 2.
BlizzCon attendees can try out Push, Rio de Janeiro, and the new Toronto map during the event.
Update: Blizzard confirmed Overwatch 2 will be released on Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.