Reported Overwatch League Changes Imply Overwatch 2 Will Be Out By April

Why delay your tournament if you aren't trying to launch alongside something?

While Blizzard said that the company had, and I quote, “no idea” when Overwatch 2 would be coming out during last year’s BlizzCon, some reports coming out of the Overwatch League’s next season, as well as word from a leaker with some established credibility might give us a hint about when the sequel is finally coming.

The short version of the story is that it sounds like Blizzard might be releasing Overwatch 2 before April. The reasoning for this is two-fold. The first is a report from esports site GGRecon says that its sources have confirmed that Blizzard and Overwatch League have proposed a change in format for the 2021 season of the competitive league. The suggested changes include pivoting to a tournament style set up, as well as the inclusion of three Asian Contenders teams, but the main point for any fans that aren’t actively watching OWL (me) is that this proposition includes delaying the beginning of the season until April. This would be about two months later than Overwatch League typically begins, with new seasons usually kicking off in February.

Following GGRecon’s report, Overwatch streamer and notable leaker in the game’s community Metro tweeted out that this delay is to allow the League to begin with competitors playing Overwatch 2, which also implies that a beta for the sequel is likely in the works to launch during BlizzConline. After the beta, the full game would likely launch, as the original Overwatch’s beta lasted until the full game’s launch date in May of 2016. This would give both viewers and competitors time to acclimate to new heroes and maps, and allow Blizzard to really hit the ground running with the sequel in a major way. For those that don’t know, Metro leaked Overwatch 2’s existence before its official unveiling at BlizzCon last year, down to specific ability upgrades that would be featured in the game’s campaign. His leaks were eventually corroborated by an ESPN report, all culminating in a reveal of the sequel that matched his descriptions. This was after he’d already leaked Ashe, a new character that would eventually be revealed at 2018’s BlizzCon.

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Whatever the case may be, we’ll know more when BlizzConline happens on February 19-20. When Overwatch 2 was revealed at last year’s event, Director Jeff Kaplan was clear that the team would be going quiet on the sequel for a long time, and that’s held true up to this point. We’ve not heard a word or seen a screenshot of Overwatch 2 since its original unveiling. Usually BlizzCon takes place in November, so in a world where the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t resulted in the cancellation of nearly every industry event in 2020, we’d probably be hearing more on it in the next week or so. The sequel is bringing a story mode, new playable heroes, and a visual update that will extend to the original game, as well.

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Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Georgia-based writer who still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.

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