While E3, Gamescom, and GDC have all been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with cancellations, postponements and digital alternatives all happening for these various events in the past month, Blizzard isn’t sure yet what it’s going to do about BlizzCon 2020.
In a post on the event’s website, Executive Producer Saralyn Smith gave an update on the convention, which is typically held annually in November. In the post, Smith said that while Blizzard is still actively making plans to hold the event later this year, the company is prepared to pull the plug on it at a moment’s notice should the coronavirus pandemic not be under control seven months from now.
“While we’re all hopeful things will look better later in the year, the bottom line is that at this point it’s too early to know whether BlizzCon 2020 will be feasible,” Smith said. “The health of our community, employees, and everyone who helps with the show is our top consideration. It might be a few months before we know for certain if or how we’ll proceed, but as soon as we have a meaningful update, we’ll share it.”
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At last year’s BlizzCon, Blizzard revealed Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, long-awaited sequels to some of its most popular franchises. According to Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan, fans would probably not be hearing much about Overwatch 2 until this year’s BlizzCon, as that game is still in some relatively early stage in development, to the point where Blizzard has no clear idea when the game will actually be coming out. Generally, BlizzCon is where the company gives most of its substantial updates on its projects every year, so should the event not happen, Blizzard will have to look for a new means to let fans know more information on games like Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2.
In more recent Blizzard news, Overwatch is getting its 32nd hero in the form of Echo, a character who has been teased in lore dating back to 2018’s BlizzCon. She’s a damage character with the ability to transform into other characters, and is coming to the main game next week on April 14.
Just before Echo was revealed as the next playable character, Michael Chu, the lead writer on the Overwatch franchise, left Blizzard after working at the company for 20 years. This was just as Overwatch 2 was set to finally bring an earnest story to the series that has long coasted by on short stories and digital comics rather than a clear plot with forward momentum. As such, when the game launches, it will change the way fans interact with the world of Overwatch, which has largely been through fan creations and headcanons. Fan creators have conflicting views on this, as some have grown very attached to the versions of characters they’ve imagined and worry that Blizzard making a real story for this universe will make it harder to create fan works around them.