Blizzard Entertainment recently held their annual convention, BlizzCon, where they celebrate their games and the communities that are built around them. This BlizzCon had a lot of exciting announcements: “Diablo 4” is in development, a “World of Warcraft” expansion is coming next year and the sequel to “Overwatch” was finally announced. To say the sequel, “Overwatch 2,” was not explained well would be an understatement.
Thankfully, after the excitement from BlizzCon had died down, the “Overwatch” development team began to give additional details about the highly-anticipated title. Jeff Kaplan, the lead designer of “Overwatch,” said that “Overwatch 2” is going to work using Sid Meier’s rule of thirds for a sequel: one-third is new, one-third is improvements and one-third is the same. So, with that in mind, here are some things that fans can expect to see in “Overwatch 2.”
Blizzcon is less than a week away, what are people most excited for?!
— Jeff Kaplan (@realJeffkaplan1) October 27, 2019
What’s Being Added
For one, the game will be adding several new playable characters, including Sojourn, the series’ first black female character. She’s a Canadian warrior that has been working with the Overwatch organization since the beginning, and she’s been seen in preview images for a long time. She’ll finally be available to play when the sequel releases.
Another character that has been hinted at is Echo, who is a futuristic robot with the ability to fly. She hasn’t been revealed to be playable yet, but she’s been a part of the “Overwatch” world since it was announced, so it’s likely that players will get to play as her eventually. If she does become playable, she would be a huge addition: Currently, only one character, Pharah, has the ability to fly. Adding other characters with this ability could lead to players taking to the skies instead of fighting on the ground.
The release of “Overwatch 2” will also bring an entirely new game mode, called “Push.” Players will work against each other to bring a robot to one side or the other of a map. Maps specifically designed for the Push mode have been announced and shown off at BlizzCon and Blizzard has confirmed that maps for each of the other four game modes will be arriving at the same time.
The most critical addition to the sequel will be the player-versus-environment content, and the backstory that comes with that content. “Overwatch,” despite being out for several years, has a lot of room to grow. The game has retained its core multiplayer first-person shooter style with very limited experimentation outside of those parameters; “Overwatch 2” is a perfect time to start playing with new ideas.
My Christmas wish is when @Blizzard_Ent releases Overwatch 2, @realJeffkaplan1 managed to add back all old Symmetra's abilities as level ups. I'd love to get back the many turrets and lock-on beam to destroy robots. Even if not perfect for PvP, they would be a blast for PvE
— HB (@AgeBee) December 2, 2019
For example, “Overwatch” is not currently focused on providing a compact and continuing story, with developers instead focusing on the competitive player-versus-player activities, but it is clear that “Overwatch 2” is entirely focused on story and characters.
This is a great thing for “Overwatch” because over the past four years its modern-day story has only been told through a few released animations and developer comments. In “Overwatch 2,” there will finally be a narrative-driven story mode that takes players on missions and adventures that expand the world that players want to love, but don’t know enough about.
Another mode will take the player on repeatable missions that will allow them to defend against attacks from various villainous organizations. Both of these modes are playable with friends, and the latter mode allows players to customize their heroes and experiment with their playstyles. These customizations won’t be transferable to player-versus-player modes, but it’ll be very interesting to see how people experiment.
What’s Being Improved
“Overwatch 2” will bring visual upgrades to the characters in the form of updated costumes and designs, and most likely a lot of other purely cosmetic items. The heads-up display for players, which provides information on health and abilities, is also being updated and improved through new bits of information and a more intuitive layout.
It’s unclear whether or not this specific change will transfer back to “Overwatch” players, but it’s likely that it will in order to maintain the same core experience between games. Presumably, it will also come with changes to balance out the strength of all heroes and make sure the game stays fun and exciting.
— PlayStation Europe (@PlayStationEU) November 30, 2019
What’s Staying the Same
The “Overwatch” development team have made it clear that “Overwatch 2” will have everything that “Overwatch” currently has, and will eventually have, until the release of the sequel. This includes all items and skins that players have unlocked for their characters, special images that they can use for their profile pictures and accomplishments tied to their name, such as reaching a high rank in a competitive game type.
“Overwatch 2” players will also be able to play with and against “Overwatch” players in player-versus-player activities. The rules will remain the same, the characters will remain the same and the maps that users will play on will remain the same; even the cosmetic items from the first “Overwatch” will be usable and wearable in the second.
The difference will be almost entirely in the existence of the story modes. Fans who are only interested in player-versus-player content won’t necessarily be affected by the release of “Overwatch 2” unless they want the new visual upgrades and items.
It’s not entirely confirmed what form “Overwatch 2” will take. Even though it is called a sequel, the game seems like less of a complete game than an expansion that one can purchase to enhance the original “Overwatch.” People who don’t purchase the sequel will still have access to the Push game mode and the new maps and heroes that are being released alongside “Overwatch 2,” so it feels like this sequel is more of an addition to the original that improves and adds new features if one wishes to play it.
— PlayStationAU (@PlayStationAU) November 28, 2019
Perhaps the most pressing question that still remains regarding “Overwatch 2” is its release date. There hasn’t even been an estimate on when the date will be revealed. Kaplan said that it’s likely that they’ll “be talking about ‘Overwatch 2’ again next year at BlizzCon,” and that seems to indicate that the release date won’t be announced any time within the next year.
Those who play “Overwatch” on consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One might have to prepare to play the sequel on the next generation of consoles, like the PlayStation 5.