Overwatch 2 was first unveiled to the world at BlizzCon 2019. It was a significant moment for the game franchise as well as Activision Blizzard. They had a cinematic trailer, characters had clearly changed, and the idea of the team-based FPS growing stale was starting to infiltrate the minds of many fans that had been playing since it first released in 2016. No one expected a sequel right away, but with development clearly underway there was an assumption that more news would be on the horizon as the months passed.
Fans, however, were in for a long wait on that news and signs of what Overwatch 2 would become. Details that did come out were sparse and lacking detail. Then game director Jeff Kaplan left the company in April. For some, the news set off alarm bells about what it meant for the future of Overwatch. But on Thursday, the Overwatch development team managed to answer a few of those questions with a showcase of what the multiplayer will look like. It’s been a long time coming, but Overwatch 2 appears to be taking shape. Here’s what we know about Overwatch 2 up to this point.
The biggest news out of the Thursday PVP showcase was that Overwatch 2 is moving away from the 6v6 combat style that has defined it since launch. They’re throwing all that out for a 5v5 structure and changing the meta to be two healers, two DPS, and one lone tank. This is going to change the game entirely, but how so remains to be seen. We already know that heroes are being reworked to fit the new system, but how will this impact strategies? It’s exciting news and something that we’ll be watching with anticipation as more details come out.
We’ve known about this for a little bit now. It’s a new game mode for Overwatch 2, but we finally got to see it in action and it’s hard to see how this is any different than a payload, but they swear it is. This is something that we may have to experience ourselves by playing it, because the general style of the game felt very much like an escort map. Even with the video we still need some more information on this one. At least the robot is cute?
Less Crowd Control?
One of the biggest complaints about modern Overwatch is how easy it is to be stunned. Crowd control abilities like Mei’s freeze, or McCree’s stun can make someone want to quit a game ASAP, and with fewer tanks that could become more powerful than ever. Developers have hinted, however, that some heroes may see altered abilities. We already know for certain, for example, that Mei’s freeze will no longer stop players in place. Most players agree Overwatch is at its best during freedom of movement so this is overall a good change as long as it’s balanced properly.
Further experimentation required.
All new abilities updates for Winston’s Tesla Cannon and Mei’s Endothermic Blaster coming to Overwatch 2. pic.twitter.com/adGLsGYLD2
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) May 20, 2021
New Maps And Engine!
The Thursday event showed us a lot of new maps and the new engine at work. It’s even more colorful than the current game and the darker shading is a definite improvement on the current visuals. That they managed to create an engine that somehow looks even better than the previous one is impressive. Combat also looks smoother and the new maps are going to play to that. There are more corridors and verticality. In the current meta, this would be really not fun, but the new hero changes will likely lend themselves to this new map design.
Story Mode On The Way
We already know this but a story mode is on the way in Overwatch 2. It will be player vs. environment-based and is supposed to expand upon the story and universe that has been established in the cinematics up to this point. What that story will look like we still aren’t sure. They’ve given us no details besides calling it player vs. environment and it is the part of Overwatch 2 that people will have to pay for.
PVP Updates Will Be In Overwatch 1
If you already have Overwatch you’re in luck, because all the multiplayer updates seen today are going to be pushed in Overwatch 1. That will, hopefully, be a free update, but the details of how that whole thing is going to work haven’t been explained yet. They have stated the two games will be compatible though.
We’ll learn more as time goes on, but it’s nice to finally have some details about Overwatch 2. Hopefully a release date and more is on the way as well. It’s been a long wait for hardcore Overwatch fans, but the time before the game sees the light of day can feel even longer now that we’re starting to know what’s coming.