As part of its attempts to be more communicative about Overwatch 2, the team at Blizzard hosted a Reddit AMA where fans were able to ask questions about the upcoming sequel and the state of the live game available now. We combed through the team’s answers, so you don’t have to (although there are more answers that aren’t really news but give some fun insight into the making of Overwatch and its sequel). Here are some of the highlights:
A ping system
Overwatch doesn’t have a ping system like some multiplayer games like Apex Legends do that lets you highlight locations, points, and enemies all with the touch of a button. It’s an effective tool for communicating with your team without having to use voice chat, which can be a nightmare when you’re playing with randos. While the team isn’t announcing anything yet, it does have a prototype for a ping system in the works internally. Whether it will make it to the live game is another question entirely, however.
“We’ve definitely considered this,” Project Lead Aaron Keller said. “In fact we have a [prototype] of it running internally right now. We don’t make a habit of promising things to players until they are actually announced and I’m not going to break that tradition right now (I’m sure I’ll blow it at some other point in this AMA), but it is something that we are excited about as a team and are working through issues currently.”
Catching fans up on the story
Overwatch’s story has been explored outside of the game through comics, animated shorts, and novels. But Overwatch 2 will have a campaign that finally moves the story forward in a substantial way. A fan asked if Blizzard was going to implement something into the sequel that would help those out of the loop catch up on things, to which Keller said the team is looking for ways to include some of these pieces of worldbuilding in the game, whether that be in the form of some kind of recap of the events so far or if it would just be integrated into the storytelling. But it sounds like the Overwatch extended media train won’t stop just because the game is finally getting a story; as Keller said, there are plans to continuing delivering lore outside of Overwatch 2.
“We are looking at this from a few angles,” Keller said. “The first is how to include more of this content inside of OW2 itself either through storytelling in the game or through other systems that could contain and deliver this lore(whether its past OW or current OW2 story. The second is looking at ways of bringing people up to speed with media outside of the game. Both are really exciting and I can’t wait for people to see it!”
Still no real answer about cross-play
Blizzard’s responses to questions about cross-play in Overwatch have been non-committal at best. And that didn’t really change during the Reddit AMA when a fan asked about the possibilities of the Overwatch player community across PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC coming together. However, it does sound like cross-play is more likely than cross-progression, which would allow users to keep their cosmetic unlocks and stats across each system. According to Technical Director John Lafleur, cross-play would be easier to integrate, so if these two systems are ever put in place, that would likely come first.
“We’re pretty excited about the possibilities of cross-play and cross-progression, but we don’t have anything to announce, today,” Lafleur said. “However, given the additional complexities of cross-progression, it would probably make most sense to tackle cross-play, first and then explore progression as a potential add-on, if we go this route.”
The team wants a worldwide launch for Overwatch 2, if possible
When the original Overwatch launched in 2016, it was on every platform (other than Switch, which would come in 2019) and in all regions Blizzard projected it for. The team hopes to accomplish this again with Overwatch 2 when it comes out, but since the game doesn’t even have a release date yet, whether that happens remains to be seen.
“As a live ops engineer I loved shipping Overwatch on all platforms and in all regions at the same time, it was a huge challenge and was very exciting,” said Lead Software Engineer Bill Warnecke. “It’s definitely our goal to do the same for Overwatch 2, but of course I can’t promise that we [won’t] hit any blockers that prevent us from doing that.
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In case it wasn’t clear, Two Capture Point is going away
Blizzard has already said Two Capture Point isn’t going to be prominent in Overwatch 2 after some fans expressed a dislike for the mode and the maps built around it. A user asked if these maps could be reworked for other modes, to which Keller said that would require just about as much time and resources as making new maps altogether. So the team is looking at sequestering those maps in the game’s Arcade mode separate from its more competitive ones. And it has no plans to make any more Two Capture Point maps in the future.
“Each OW game mode requires very different maps,” Keller said. “Reworking the original 2CP maps into another game mode would probably be just as hard if not harder than building a whole new map from scratch with that particular art kit. As far as its future is concerned, we’ve talked about giving it a place in the Arcade and we don’t have plans to build any future 2CP maps.”
There’s going to be a beta
Overwatch 2 is an online multiplayer game, so it’s going to have a beta. Lafleur said as much but gave no further details on a timeline or window.
Some limited-time skins may come back
Overwatch has some limited-time cosmetics and skins that go away after a certain amount of time. Whether that be the end of an event or some kind of charity Blizzard is taking part in. While the AMA didn’t say all of these skins might come back, Overwatch League VP Jon Spector said the OWL side of things is looking at possibly bringing back skins tied to moments in the game’s esports seasons.
“On the League store side of things, we are considering bringing back some of the Overwatch League skins from years past. Personally I’m missing the Atlantic All-Star Mercy skin and want that :)”
No plans for a 120fps update for PlayStation 5
Earlier this year, Blizzard released an update that let Overwatch run at 120 frames-per-second on Xbox Series X/S, but not for PlayStation 5 (although I could have sworn it looked smoother on PS5, where I play, that day). This specifically is when running the Xbox One version of the game on new Xbox hardware, as the game hasn’t natively come to the Xbox Series line. Or the PS5, for that matter, as the only way to play it on that console is using a PS4 copy. And it turns out the team has no intention of making it happen right now. Lafleur said it would take a “non-trivial amount of time” to make changes for the PS5 specifically, citing the software development kit as a hangup. However, it sounds like Overwatch 2 may be getting some special treatment on PS5 whenever it launches.
“We don’t have any plans to [update the PS4 version on PS5], at the moment. We would have to invest a non-trivial amount of time to upgrade original Overwatch to recognize and separately treat the PS5 (it involves changing the platform SDK). Instead, we’re taking that time to focus on making OW2 the best we can on the next gen consoles.”
And those are some of the big takeaways from the Overwatch 2 team’s Reddit AMA. All of this follows news that the game will be taking out one of the tank heroes in each match, meaning teams will now consist of one tank, two damage, and two support heroes.