It sounds like the leaks from Metro last week were accurate, as Activision Blizzard has officially announced Overwatch 2 won’t be launching in 2021. Neither will Diablo 4, but I am less concerned about that. Apologies to anyone who is.
News of this came from the company’s latest earnings call, which said neither game is expected to launch this year. Delays are pretty common these days as developers are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. So this isn’t terribly surprising. The team needs more time to get the games in working order and that’s okay.
But man, it makes me wonder what plans, if any, Blizzard has about the state of the first Overwatch game we’re playing now. Right now, major content rollouts for the original are at a standstill, as the company has been upfront that it’s holding off on new playable heroes and story events until Overwatch 2. The sequel will have a cooperative story mode, which is why OG Overwatch didn’t receive an Archives story event in 2020. Echo was the 32nd hero added to the game when she launched last year, but Blizzard has already confirmed she will be the last. The studio has said it wants to make Overwatch 2’s launch a big event for players, which means releasing a handful of new heroes at once to really shake things up for the sequel. Can the original Overwatch sustain itself on cosmetic events between now and Overwatch 2? Probably. But it does mean the content drought is going to be a little bit more painful between now and then.
Guess I’ll just have to put another thousand hours into the first one.
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Blizzard has confirmed it will be showing more of Overwatch 2 at BlizzConline, the digital alternative to the company’s usual annual convention. The event will take place in just two weeks, running from February 19-20. We don’t know just what the team plans to show, but if I can make one request, it’d be that you show me Soldier: 76’s redesign for the sequel and let the man take his mask off and be sexy gay grandpa. Thank you.
For what it’s worth, Blizzard has been doubling down on Overwatch lore content in the midst of the game’s content freeze. Including a comic series starring Tracer, a short story about Symmetra and Zenyatta, and there’s apparently a novel following Ashe and McCree in the works. The focus on story in Overwatch 2 means a series that has largely thrived through fan works is about to get some meaty canon material. Which is both exciting and worrying to the series’ fandom after five years.