On Sunday at BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard confirmed an exciting new sequel to Overwatch, titled Overwatch 2, was coming soon with a bevy of new game modes, heroes to play and changes to both the old version of the game and the new one.
There is plenty of fresh information to unpack, so let's take a closer look at Overwatch 2.
A STORY MODE IS COMING (ALONG WITH A NEW PVP MODE)
Overwatch 2 is bringing a long-awaited story mode into the fold. In the PvE story mode, players can choose between Story Experience and Hero Missions. In the Story Experience mode, players will team up in an objective-based mode to take down the Null Sector across the globe. Meanwhile, Hero Missions offer a replayable PvE mode where players can level up their characters to learn new abilities.
The game will also feature a new Push PvP game mode. Players will face off on a symmetrical level and have to push (guide) a robot farther than the other team before time expires. The mode will be included among previous PvP modes and be featured on new maps.
NEW TALENTS (AND LOOKS) FOR HEROES
Instead of only having set abilities, heroes in Overwatch 2 will have new Hero Talents to earn when playing in non-competitive modes. For example, Tracer now gains a Flash ability to blink through enemies and damage them at level 10, while at level 20, she can learn Speed Kills where she speeds up her cooldown with each killing blow. Gaining abilities means grinding levels won't be so repetitive. It also means when characters face off against themselves -- like, say Genji vs. Genji -- they won't necessarily have the same move set, adding further customizability and uniqueness to the experience.
When playing the Story Missions, there will be playable items featured throughout the match. The demos at BlizzCon 2019 showcased a Healing Station and a Corrosive Grenade as items that can be picked up and used.
Heroes will also have all-new looks in Overwatch 2. Blizzard didn't make any drastic changes to previous characters, however, heroes have been refreshed with minor visual improvements. Reinhardt rocks a man-bun, Lucio has some tighter armor and most importantly, Genji wears pants! The aesthetic changes definitely freshen up what was an already visually exciting game.
Two somewhat familiar faces heavily featured at BlizzCon 2019 are the newest heroes that should be coming to the game.
The first confirmed new hero is Sojourn, who has appeared in Overwatch lore for a while. In the animated short "Recall," Winston puts out the call for the Overwatch team and her name and picture are seen among the other heroes. In the more recent Storm Rising event, she can be heard providing radio intel to the strike team to help capture Doomfist's Talon accountant Maximillien. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed Sojourn will be the first Canadian hero to join the ranks. Sojourn looks to be a DPS character who wields a big energy gun.
Echo, the other hero showcased at the event, hasn't been officially confirmed as a playable character by Kaplan, but previously leaked artwork and her heavy feature in the trailer for Overwatch 2 seems to suggest Echo will be the other hero coming soon. She first appeared in the animated short "Reunion" where she was reactivated by McCree from some sort of stasis after he took down the Deadlock Gang. The robot character was said to be the hero the Overwatch team needs, according to McCree. Echo's appearance in the Overwatch 2 trailer and in subsequent leaks has only increased the hype surrounding the character.
Sojourn and Echo aren't the only new potential characters coming to Overwatch 2, though, and there will be more announced as the game comes closer to release.
There have been four confirmed maps for Overwatch 2 with more to be announced at a later date.
Maps in Toronto (confirmed Push map), Gothenburg, Monte Carlo and Rio De Janeiro will be available at launch. It hasn't been revealed what specific mode all the maps will feature, but it's a good gamble that one of the new maps besides Toronto will be for Push mode.
THE ORIGINAL OVERWATCH ISN'T GOING AWAY
There were some understandable worries from Overwatch's core and longtime players that Overwatch 2 would spell the end of the original game. But, those worries were quickly put to rest by Kaplan. The original game will not only continue in its present form, but it will be updated along with Overwatch 2.
In a unique move, the original game will also be getting the Push game mode, the new maps, the new heroes and an updated game engine and UI. Among those visual enhancements: greater detail, higher fidelity and a new HUD.
Blizzard also said Overwatch and Overwatch 2 players can battle together or against one another in the PvP modes. So, if you're a fan of the first game and don't want all the extras that come with 2, you'll get an updated experience. If you are playing the sequel and want to play some PvP with friends on the original game, you should be able to do that as well.
Players who do make the jump to Overwatch 2 will do so knowing their former progress in the game will carry over to the new digs. Cosmetic items like skins emote and spray will carry over from the original Overwatch game, as will your level and experience. For those who have put thousands of hours into the first game and worked hard to get those platinum portrait borders, it will all make the jump to the new game.
Kaplan and the Overwatch team seemed to have struck a perfect balance in order to appease longtime players while still opening the door for new ones to join in on the action. By freshening up both games, players who don't want to make the jump to Overwatch 2 don't have to. Conversely, those who do will keep all their stats and unlockables. It's a bold move that will keep both the older iteration of Overwatch and the sequel relevant. Clearly, Blizzard put a lot of thought into the announcement.
It remains unclear when Overwatch 2 will hit store shelves. No official release date has been announced but it is expected to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.