When Overwatch 2 launches in early access on October 4, story-driven PVE content will not be available. Rather than releasing a full new campaign all at once in time for release, Blizzard has now detailed a gradual rollout set to begin in 2023.
Through its surprise reveal of Overwatch 2 all the way back in 2019, Blizzard immediately highlighted a more expansive PVE experience in the works for the upcoming sequel. From unique hero talents to a rich progression system and a highly replayable mission structure, a range of core upgrades and new features were on display.
Now three years removed, however, and without any updates in the interim, fans will have to continue waiting patiently for any significant narrative developments.
With the game set to launch on October 4, we know for certain this free-to-play, early access build is exclusively focused on the PVP component. Game Director Aaron Keller clarified as much during a recent developer Q&A, outlining plans for PVE moving forward.
As the hero-shooter pivots to adopt a seasonal model, it’s impacting not only the release schedule of multiplayer content, but also how Blizzard looks to tell the story of Overwatch in the years to come.
Overwatch 2 PVE content not launching until 2023
Under the new structure, PVE content will be drip-fed as part of seasonal updates. While an exact timeline is unclear at this stage, Keller confirmed PVE the first sample of gameplay will arrive at some point in 2023.
It’s also yet to be revealed just how much PVE-specific content players should come to expect in said seasons. While we know some may deliver a handful of “PVE maps,” there’s no telling if we’ll receive full campaigns, singular chapters of an ongoing story, or just individual levels thrown out haphazardly.
As for how players will access this ongoing PVE content, Blizzard wasn’t eager to announce its plans just yet. “We’re not ready to talk details or the business model behind it,” Keller said. Thus, it’s unclear whether new campaign experiences will be part of the free-to-play model or locked behind a separate paywall.
One thing we do know, is not to expect a premium PVE release with the scope of a full game launch.
“Rather than saving up all the content we make and putting it into one big box that you sell for $60, we’ve shifted our model,” Keller continued. “It’s really important for us to continue to put content out.”
The focus of Overwatch 2’s ongoing narrative
Picking up with the Overwatch team a few years after the original game, Blizzard’s goal is to finally “move the overall story forward” with the upcoming sequel.
Not only will this PVE content look to tie up various loose ends and advance through new beats, but fans can also expect a deeper level of engagement with the hero-shooter’s ever-growing cast.
Including over “25,000 voice lines,” as Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie explained, characters are set to paint the picture in much greater detail than ever before, as well as interact in all-new ways.
There’s no telling what we may see first once the narrative side of Overwatch takes to the spotlight in 2023, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted here as further details emerge along the way.