Overwatch

Everything we know about Overwatch 2: Release date, game modes, more

by Joe O'Brien

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Blizzard officially announced Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon in November 2019, but there's still plenty yet to be revealed about the game. Here's a look at everything we know so far.

BlizzCon is the annual Blizzard Convention at which the developers reveal upcoming projects, new content and, sometimes, entirely new games. At 2019's convention, one of the headline announcements was a sequel for their hero-based FPS Overwatch.

While some details of Overwatch 2 have been revealed, much still remains unknown about the new title. Here's what we know so far.

Blizzard
Blizzard

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When will Overwatch 2 be released?

UPDATE 1/6 - A Tweet from PlayStation Brazil said Overwatch 2 would be coming out sometime in 2020. The Tweet was deleted the same day and there's been no other confirmation of a 2020 release date at the time of writing.

Unfortunately, so far there’s not much word on when the game will actually be released, and it could very much depend on just how significant an overhaul Overwatch 2 is.

Historically, new games announced at BlizzCon are often a fair way out – Overwatch itself was announced at BlizzCon 2014 and not released until May 2016, while new World of Warcraft expansions are typically first revealed roughly nine months in advance.

The one clue we do have came in the form of a leak from the PlayStation Brazil Twitter account, which in a now-deleted Tweet stated that the game would be coming to PS4 in 2020. While it’s not a specific date, if it’s accurate it at least means players should have their hands on the game by the end of the year.

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Exactly when players may first get a chance to try out the game remains to be seen, although it’s likely that there will be some form of beta testing prior to the official launch. Overwatch itself remained in beta for a little over sixth months, although it’s unlikely that its successor will require quite so much testing.

There is precedent for a much quicker turn-around for modern titles, although not from Blizzard themselves. In October 2019, Epic Games made their own major overhaul to their enormously popular battle royale Fortnite, introducing ‘Chapter 2’. Despite coming with an all-new map, new weapons, and more, there was no waiting after an announcement or extended beta period – the overhaul simply arrived with Fortnite's "The End" event.

While Blizzard have historically preferred more drawn out releases for major products, exactly how long before a beta test may appear, and how long after that the game is fully released, depends heavily on exactly how much new content will be coming with Overwatch 2.

Blizzard
Blizzard
Leaks suggest Overwatch commander Sojourn could also be joining the game as a new hero.

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What game modes will Overwatch 2 have?

The major new element that Overwatch 2 is set to offer will be a story-based, PvE modes – finally satisfying two of the major areas in which many fans of the original title feel it to be lacking.

Details of exactly how the new PvE content will work remain limited, although the story is set to advance from the Overwatch ‘Recall’ demonstrated in the very first animated short of the same name.

Blizzard state that Overwatch 2 will offer ‘highly replayable’ co-op hero missions, and the PvE game modes will allow players to customize their heroes with a variety of talent options as they level up through a new progression system.

On the multiplayer side of things, Overwatch 2 is set to offer a new game mode called ‘Push’, a kind of reverse tug-of-war in which each side tries to claim control over a neutral objective and push it into the enemy base.

Blizzard have stated, however, that multiplayer features such as the new game mode, new heroes, and the new character models will be available to players in original Overwatch and not limited to owners of the sequel.

Blizzard
Blizzard
Overwatch 2 will introduce hero talents for PvE modes.

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Will Overwatch 2 be free to play?

One of the major questions for prospective Overwatch 2 players looking forward to the game is of course what it will cost them. Unfortunately, Blizzard haven’t yet shared any real details on the price.

There were some rumors prior to the game’s official announcement that the publishers were considering a switch to a free-to-play model, which would allow players to acquire the sequel with no up-front cost.

Recent years have seen an increasing shift towards a free-to-play model for major titles, with many of the world’s biggest games now being available for free. This is especially true when it comes to Overwatch’s esports competitors, with the biggest titles like League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 all free to play

Unfortunately for fans hoping not to have to drop any cash to try out the new game, while Blizzard haven’t confirmed the monetization model, they did make mention of the fact that Overwatch players who don’t own Overwatch 2 will still get access to new heroes and modes in multiplayer, heavily implying that not everyone will automatically be able to play the sequel.

Exactly what the cost of Overwatch 2 will be remains to be seen. In the UK, GAME are currently listing a pre-order at £54.99 – the typical full price for a new triple-A title – although it’s very possible at this stage that this is simply a placeholder.

Blizzard
Blizzard
The Overwatch 2 logo.

Will Overwatch 2 be on next-gen consoles?

With the PlayStation 5 expected to be released in time for the 2020 holiday season – and an Xbox competitor likely on its way for a similar time period – fans looking forward to the console upgrade may be hoping to play Overwatch 2 on the new hardware.

With no release date confirmed for Overwatch 2 yet, it’s hard to say whether Blizzard will be specifically targeting the next generation of consoles at launch, but regardless it seems fairly likely that they’ll be looking to cater to as many players as possible.

Blizzard have previously brought older games to new-generation consoles post-launch, with Diablo 3 having originally been released for Xbox 360 and PS3 before coming to Xbox One and PS4 later. More recently, Overwatch itself was released for Nintendo Switch.