During BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard announced Overwatch 2. The sequel to Blizzard’s popular hero-focused first-person shooter sees the return of familiar mechanics and characters, but also adds numerous changes to the Overwatch formula.
The Overwatch segment of BlizzCon began with a reminder of what has happened so far, with Winston recalling Overwatch to kick off the events of the first game. Clips from the various animation shorts released since launch were shown, focusing on the colorful cast of characters that fans have come to know and love.
Jeff Kaplan appeared on stage to express his feelings on leaks, before recounting the work that has gone into creating the series. He eventually stepped aside to show a new cinematic. Winston is seen holding a photo of the Overwatch team, having attempted to recall the team, while Mei sits nearby. “Do we have enough people for this mission,” she asks. Winston comforts her, saying they’ll be fine if they stick together. Tracer, captain of the ship, announces they’re approaching Paris, and arrive to see a Null Sector invasion happening.
Null Sector is an Omnic extremist terrorist group that operated primarily in the UK. Winston, Mei, and Tracer arrive to defend the people of Paris, who are a bit bemused that an ape is fighting robots. Mei lends a hand by freezing enemies, and Tracer also darts about. Suddenly, a giant Omnic appears and begins tearing through the city, igniting a massive explosion.
Mei is hurt and all seems lost. Without the Overwatch team’s backing, Winston decides to hold the line so Tracer and Mei can escape. He squares up against the giant Omnic mech, but then Genji appears, deflecting incoming fire. A truck appears and Reinhardt erupts out of it, with Brig by his side. Echo is shown flying around supporting them, as is Mercy.
Mei’s backpack is used to freeze the giant Omnic, with Genju using his blade to destroy it in mid-air and freeze the bot. The characters reunite, with some meeting for the first time. “Does this mean Overwatch is back?” someone asks. “Yes, we are,” Winston replies.
Gameplay was then shown. Overwatch 2 will have story missions, and players will battle the Omnic invasion across the world. Hero missions, highly-replayable co-op, RPG mechanics such as leveling up heroes and unlocking abilities have been included, as has ability customization.
“Play an active role in the next chapter of the Overwatch saga through a series of intense four-player missions. Fight back against Null Sector, uncover the motives behind the Omnic attacks, and confront a rising wave of new threats.
“The battle continues with Hero Missions. As escalating crises break out around the world, encounter an ever-changing array of scenarios with a range of diverse and dangerous enemies. Level up your favorite heroes and earn powerful customization options to help beat the odds.
“It’s up to you and your friends to stop Null Sector, the elite forces of Talon, and other enemies of Overwatch from carrying out their plans. Each enemy faction features a unique mix of units with their own strategies and strengths, challenging you to adapt your approach every time you play.”
A new PvP mode called “Push” and new maps were shown, as was a new look for the characters.
“In Push, a new, symmetrical map type that will launch with Overwatch 2, teams battle to take control of a robot that begins in a central location, then push it toward the enemy base. Either team may take control of the robot at any time. The team that pushes the robot furthest onto the enemy side wins the game.”
Kaplan emphasized that Overwatch 2 is still a 6v6 team-based competitive experience, like the original. Push is described as a “core competitive game mode, which means it’ll appear alongside the other modes in Quick Play, Competitive, and will be played in the Overwatch League.
New heroes were also teased, with Sojourn shown, but further details were not revealed. Kaplan said there will be “multiple” heroes that will come to the game. He also said that, “for us, sequels make us nervous, so what we’re hoping to do is redefine what a sequel means.”
Explaining further, Kaplan said original Overwatch players will get to play on all of the same maps as Overwatch 2 players, including new ones, and with all the same heroes as Overwatch 2 players. It is a shared multiplayer environment where “no one gets behind.” It seems those that don’t get the new game will still be able to play on the new multiplayer content, but not the PvE content.
“Current Overwatch players will battle side-by-side with Overwatch 2 players in PvP multiplayer; they’ll also be able to play Overwatch 2 heroes and maps.”
All unlocks such as skins, emotes, voice lines, and other cosmetics will also carry over. “Your accomplishments and loot collections will be carried forward to Overwatch 2. That means you’ll keep your skins, player icons, sprays, emotes, and more,” the official website says.
Overwatch 2 characters will have new looks: “Overwatch 2 evolves the look and feel of the world, with more dynamic environments, larger scale battles, additional in-game storytelling events, and improved atmospheric effects and shadows,” Blizzard says.
In June 2019, a report suggested Blizzard cancelled a Starcraft first-person shooter in order to focus on developing Diablo 4 (which has also been announced at BlizzCon 2019) and Overwatch 2. However, Blizzard has not confirmed whether that is true.