Overwatch 2 Announced at BlizzCon 2019
After a couple of exciting weeks filled with many rumors and reports, Blizzard has finally unveiled the sequel to their world-renowned FPS — Overwatch 2! A lot was said and announced in the initial reveal, so let’s take a moment to digest everything and see what’s coming in a couple of months!
Before delving any deeper into the nitty-gritty, let’s look at the stellar Overwatch 2 announcement trailer.
First, despite the “2” suffix next to the name, this isn’t exactly a full-fledged sequel. That’s pretty much a fact at this point. There’s a lot to like, and Blizzard created a lot of sequel-specific stuff, but it still doesn’t feel like a successor, for a multitude of reasons.
Instead, this is more of an expansion.
While Overwatch isn’t a dying game by any stretch of the imagination, things are getting a bit stale. We know what we’re getting month after month, and Blizzard’s release schedule has pretty much been on-point throughout the three-year history of the game. In other words, surprises are few and far between, and in a world where League of Legends and Fortnite get weekly (or bi-weekly) updates, it’s hard to compete and stay relevant.
So, what are the benefits that Overwatch 2 brings to the table?
Overwatch 2 Announcement: What’s New and Improved?
Overwatch 2 will bring a noticeable face-lift to all the heroes we all know and love. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking by any means, but it’s still a nice touch. Blizzard is saying that the sequel will bring a higher level of detail and visual fidelity to everything they do in-game — large-scale events will be more grand and monumental. The world you’ll inhabit will be more vast and dynamic. Every battle you have will occur on a bigger canvas.
Now, we can see a slight upgrade when it comes to hero models, but it’s nothing to write home about. Furthermore, you probably won’t be able to notice the minute upgrades once those hectic six-on-six team fights break out. We all know how hard it is to make sense of what’s happening when twelve heroes throw everything but the kitchen sink at one another.
You can take a look at the Overwatch 2 gameplay trailer below.
Finally, Blizzard is improving many of the in-game visual elements like the HUD and the overall user interface. These are nice changes, although it’s mostly surface-level.
Story (PvE Content)
Arguably the biggest allure Overwatch 2 has over its predecessor is the introduction of a story, an actual narrative consisting of multiple missions. How long this campaign will last remains to be seen, but it’s the one thing Blizzard has focused on the most, and with good reason.
They’re marketing it as a shared Co-Op multiplayer experience with a ton of replayability. You’ll also be able to upgrade and level up the heroes you play and thus change their abilities in several ways. This is quite a refreshing addition, and it’s bound to add yet another layer of customization. These talents will allow you to tailor any hero of choice to your playstyle.
New PvP Modes — Push
Blizzard also announced a brand-new type of map: Push.
The premise is rather simple. Players will fight to take control over a robot that’s constantly pushing in one team’s favor. Once he reaches the end of the road (on a symmetrical map), the team that got the winning push wins.
This mode will be playable in Competitive, Quick Play, and it’ll also become a permanent addition (or mode, rather) in the Overwatch League.
What would an Overwatch announcement be without new maps? Luckily for all us, Blizzard announced not one but four new PvP maps that’ll ship with Overwatch 2! Gothenburg, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro and Monte Carlo!
All four maps are still in a WIP (work in progress) state, so have in mind that things could change considerably once the game releases.
Rio de Janeiro
Overwatch 2 will be released with multiple new heroes, one of which will be Sojourn and — this is a given at this point — Echo, the hero Blizzard already teased in Ashe’s announcement cinematic.
As for Sojourn, there’s not a lot of information to go over, frankly. All we know is that she’s Canadian and will be at the center of the story.
Sojourn will join the roster of heroes for Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 will be playable on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One along with Nintendo Switch. Also, there’s a good chance that Blizzard opted to release Overwatch 2 with a slightly altered (improved) game engine because there’s a whole new generation of consoles coming next year.
Having such a phenomenal game ready on day-one for both Sony and Microsoft’s newest consoles would be a definite win for Blizzard and everyone else involved — players included.
What About the Original Overwatch?
If you already own the original Overwatch, there’s good news. First, you’ll be getting every new map and hero. So, the most important elements of Overwatch 2 won’t be exclusive to the sequel. That’s huge, and it shows that Blizzard is willing to support both player bases with frequent content updates.
Secondly, players from both games will be able to fight against each other in PvP modes — different queues or servers will separate no one.
Finally, all your existing cosmetic items (skins, emotes, highlight intros and the like) will be transferred over to Overwatch 2 if you make the plunge. That was a big question coming into BlizzCon, and fortunately, it’s resolved in a very positive and simple manner. Invested hundreds of dollars into the game? Not a problem — you’ll be able to show off your shiny cosmetics in the sequel as well!
Again, there’s a metric ton of good stuff coming with Overwatch 2, and yet despite all of this, the exciting new maps, game modes, cross-game play, and whatnot, it feels like this whole ordeal is a letdown. It all comes down to personal preference and what you were expecting, but after the many rumors that circulated online, the final product we’re getting kind of feels pedestrian; it feels ordinary.
Sure, there’s a lot to like about Overwatch 2, and Blizzard made all the right moves when it comes to combining both player bases, but all the signs were pointing towards something game-changing and monumental. Instead, we got an expansion. That’s not a bad thing per se, but it’s just slightly disappointing given the amount of hype that was being created over the last couple of weeks.
So, who’s the target demographic? Right now, as things stand, there’s not a huge reason to upgrade to Overwatch 2 if you’re enjoying the first installment and if you’re only into multiplayer. You’d be getting many benefits, but nothing too extraordinary, especially when you factor in the asking price — probably somewhere between $40 and $60. If, on the other hand, you’re craving for more story elements and for an actual campaign to sink your teeth into, then it might be worth your time (and money).
Perhaps the best thing about the expansion/sequel is the fact that it’s unobtrusive in a way. You can buy it, but you don’t have to. You’re still getting everything you need in the first game you probably bought years ago, and in a consumerist world that’s brimming with loot boxes and questionable DLC releases, this kind of fairness is quite rare.
Blizzard hasn’t revealed a release date in their initial Overwatch 2 announcement, but they promised more details over the coming weeks, so stay tuned!