Overwatch 2: sequel, expansion, new game?

“The world can always do with more heroes”

What is old is new again.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Finally, after weeks of rumours, leaks and theories, Overwatch 2 is now confirmed. During the Blizzcon opening ceremony and later at a panel detailing the game, we got a more solid look at what Jeff and the Overwatch team have in store for us.

So, what is Overwatch 2? People have been left confused by the announcements. While it’s true that Overwatch 2 is a sequel, it appears on paper to sound more like an expansion, in the same vein as the similarly announced World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Overwatch 2, which is aiming to launch on all current platforms (Switch, PS4, Xbox 1 and PC), adds a slew of new modes – but those unable to make the leap from Overwatch 1 won’t be left behind. New content for the PvP mode will be added to both games, meaning you won’t miss out on new heroes, maps or multiplayer game modes. Those who get the new game however will experience updated visuals, and an exciting story mode that will put you and your friends directly into the plot of Overwatch. Oh, and don’t worry, all your cosmetics will come across, so that Demon Hunter Sombra skin you just unlocked is safe and sound!

Push it. Push it real good!

The first of many additions to Overwatch 2 is Push, a new game mode. Joining the ranks of Assault, Control, Escort & Hybrid, Push plays like a game of tug-of-war, as you escort a robot pushing a barricade marker. If it reaches halfway, your team unlocks a new closer spawnpointh, and if you get all the way to the end you win. Failing that however, the team that has travelled the furthest wins.

The agents of Overwatch have gotten so lazy they’ve opted to hire machines to do the pushing for them!
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Watch out though, because there’s only one robot, and if the enemy team gets to it, they’ll abandon your barricade to go push theirs instead. The maps for Push are symmetrical in design and are perfect for flankers in particular to get the drop on your robot friend as they go about their business.

The map showcased was Toronto, featuring long winding streets where fights could break out at any location. The OW team seemed to suggest characters like Tracer & Reaper would flourish here, so we could be due for a change in meta for this.

If you’re not keen on visiting Canada, the other maps revealed for Push were Gothenburg, in Sweden, and Monte Carlo, giving plenty of variety for this new exciting game mode.

It’s Storytime!

Long demanded by the fanbase, the world of Overwatch explodes both figuratively and literally in Overwatch 2 as Blizzard introduces a story mode. In a series of world-spanning missions you’ll play as the Overwatch operatives who responded to Winston’s signal, as they fight against various enemies such as the robot separatist movement Null Sector, and the international terrorist organisation Talon.

The mission showcased at Blizzcon was Rio de Janeiro as you join Lucio, Tracer, Reinhardt & Mei in the fight against Null Sector. In story mode, your characters can acquire pick up items such as med kits and grenades to help fight off the machines, as Blizzard expands upon the story driven content they provided during their Archives events in Overwatch 1.

The world stands on the brink as Null Sector have upgraded since their last Archives appearance.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

While at the moment the individual story missions seem to be created for just four select characters it was mentioned they are currency testing to see how these missions would work having additional playable characters as well.

Also revealed were Hero Missions, shorter gameplay scenarios that task the heroes of Overwatch with carrying out particular goals. For example, fend off several waves of machines, or try to reach a certain point in the map without dying. The team compared these to world quests in Warcraft or the Adventure mode of Diablo 3 – something to add even more replayability.

In this mode you can level up characters, unlocking additional abilities for your heroes. Such as allowing Tracer’s guns to automatically reload when she uses her abilities, or having Hanzo fire enemy seeking missiles. The team mentioned enjoying these so much that they might even make the leap across to Story mode!

Unique to each hero, this levelling system will encourage you to try out all the heroes.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

More power to the engines!

The first thing you might have noticed about Overwatch 2 is the different art style. With a new look to represent the passing of time since the first game, the team have upgraded the engine used for Overwatch but not replaced it. This we assume is to make sure both games can receive the core content.

Each character features a snazzy new look, from Reinhardt’s manbun and beard combo to Tracer’s more streamlined design. We’re excited to see how the other characters have changed as the world of Overwatch enters its next phase.

Fan favourite Genji manages to look even cooler with the addition of a hoodie and trousers
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

A new Heads Up Display (or HUD) helps tidy up some of the clutter of Overwatch 2. It looks more streamlined and allows you to focus on the gameplay as it unfolds. We’re a huge fan of the changes and in particular liked just how smooth everything looks now.

It’s Hero Time!

Sojourn was a Captain before Overwatch disbanded, but now she is back to help a robot push a barricade through Toronto.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

While not much was revealed, we know of at least one confirmed new hero for Overwatch 2. Sojourn, who we last saw in the Storm Rising event back in April, joins the roster. While we saw no details, her use of cybernetics and a pulse rifle of sorts seems to open up a whole world of possibilities. We also saw Echo, a friendly machine from the Mcree cinematic from last year’s Blizzcon, appear in promotional material.

We were told that at launch we can expect several more heroes arriving at once. Maybe we’ll see the Junker Queen or the insidious Maximilian; or maybe even someone new to radically shift the game’s meta all at once. Whatever happens, we’re excited for the future of Overwatch.

So when is it due?

Unfortunately, we don’t know when Overwatch 2 will be released. Blizzard seemed quite keen to explain that the game was in a very early stage of development. To further nail home this point we were told that the next Archives event in April won’t feature a new story PVE mode, but will instead have new cosmetics to allow the team the resources to work on OW2’s story mode.

So there you have it. Overwatch 2 seems designed to build on the success of its predecessor by adding more of everything, while ensuring those who can’t quite follow in its footsteps aren’t left behind. More characters, more game modes, more everything. We can’t wait to hear more of what is in-store.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this piece, then please remember to like and share. What are your hope for Overwatch 2? Leave a comment or tweet us here and stay tuned for more catch ups from Blizzcon. And if you missed our recap of all the key announcements from Blizzard, you can find it here.

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