Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan discusses Overwatch 2 plans: battle pass, loot boxes, more

by Michael Gwilliam

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With production on Overwatch 2 well underway, the development team is considering some changes to the way cosmetics are earned in the sequel.

In Overwatch, cosmetic items such as skins, emotes, voice lines, sprays and highlight intros are all earned through loot boxes. Every time players rank up, win three arcade games or fill on a high-demand role there’s awarded with a loot box containing an assortment of four items. Additionally, players can also buy them for real-world money. However, that could soon be coming to an end.

In an interview with PCGamesN, Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan was asked about changing the monetization of Overwatch from such microtransactions to something like a battle pass system.

Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch 2 will feature PvE story missions.

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“Well, we have made a lot of changes to loot boxes and how they work over the years, so we’re definitely open to change,” Kaplan stated, referencing how players have multiple ways to earn them now than they did when the game first launched.

“Overwatch 2, in terms of business model, we’re exploring different options that move us away from loot boxes, but I think that will be more for Overwatch 2 than the core game. I would never rule anything out.”

Unlike the first title, Overwatch 2 will have multiple PvE story missions and ability upgrades that won’t be present in the traditional PvP modes. Could those unique gameplay experiences be tied to some sort of battle pass system?

"Push" is a new game mode coming to Overwatch 2.

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While Kaplan didn’t elaborate in great detail, he did, however, reveal how he felt about battle passes.

“I think battle passes are cool. Putting monetization to the side, a battle pass is a fun engagement mechanism,” he explained and praised another Blizzard title for how it handled the concept. “If you look at a game like Diablo 3, they have what’s called the Season Journey, which is, in essence, a battle pass.”

Overwatch has implemented some battle pass-like elements in the past with special challenge mini-events that require players to win nine matches to unlock a skin.

Blizzard Entertainment
The Brick Bastion skin required players win nine games to unlock.

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“It’s not monetized in any way, it’s just a bunch of cool content – these are the things you should be doing in the game and if you do, we’re gonna reward you. I think that’s an awesome system,” he added.

Given how Overwatch’s developers like to tackle problems in unique ways, such as implementing a hero rotation system instead of allowing team to ban certain characters, it will interesting to see what the future holds for the sequel.

Sadly, there’s still no release date in sight, but with Echo being the last hero for now, the team is focused on developing the OW2, so hopefully we won’t have that much longer to wait.