After the beginning of Blizzconline, the 2021 virtual equivalent of the yearly Blizzcon, the Overwatch 2 team is planning on being more communicative about the anticipated sequel to Overwatch.
Jeff Kaplan, the game’s director, stated as such in a lengthy interview with IGN. While he can’t officially commit to monthly updates on Overwatch 2, the team wants to talk more about it from now on without going dark on it again. “We were discussing as recently as yesterday the opportunity of there maybe being some cool stuff we could talk about in March or April to keep people updated and to keep people going,” says Kaplan. “So it’s very front-and-center in our mind to communicate more.”
When Overwatch 2 was first revealed in 2019, the team made it clear to the community that expectations should be in check, and that more wouldn’t be revealed until the next Blizzcon. The team stuck to this plan. And even though Overwatch 2 isn’t coming out this year, they are eager to share more about it soon.
At the same time, Kaplan states the team wants to be careful about what they show. ” I think there’s a right time to get the audience hyped and build to launch,” elaborates Kaplan in the interview. “And there’s also a time where it’s like, ‘Hey, that was kind of not cool of you because it was too early and we’re not ready to have this yet.’ So I think we want to be very transparent with people.”
Keeping the community’s expectations in check has seemingly allowed the developers to focus on the game, which is — as is evident throughout the substantial behind-the-scenes look we got at Overwatch 2 yesterday — a pretty huge undertaking. It also seems to have helped set up expectations in the future, for Kaplan says that if the team does share more about the game in March or April, fewer fans will assume the team is gearing up to drop a beta or anything of the sort.
“Right now, we can sit down and have a night of Overwatch 2 and have it be a really fun experience,” says audio director Scott Lawlor in the Overwatch 2 presentation you can watch below. “I think we need some more time until we can say it’s perfectly polished in the way that we want it.”
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While the presentation showcases the upcoming new systems and interesting changes that the team is working hard to implement, it lacks what many were hoping for: a release date.
“Generally we don’t want people getting too excited about a date unless we feel really confident,” says Kaplan in the interview. “And the number one thing that we care about is the quality of the game. It’s one of the Blizzard values. Making sure the game is right is the most important thing to us at this time. So that’s what we’re really focused on: delivering on the expectations of what a sequel are. I think that’s core to us.”
Going forward, the team doesn’t plan to pull an Apex Legends, which was revealed alongside its release. As the team continues to reach internal milestones and conducts play tests with people involved outside of the team, the time will eventually come for an internal alpha build. While that will be more private, it’s likely that a closed beta “more in the public eye” will come after at some point. Kaplan says an open beta, like the one that came out for Overwatch ahead of its release, has “still not been determined.” Still, he has a hard time “imagining in the era that we live in, there not being some sort of open beta happening at some point, but nothing’s committed to yet.”
We’ll have to wait and see what we learn of Overwatch 2 in the near future. After watching the presentation, I’ve found myself excited about Overwatch for the first time in approximately three years. It’s a good feeling. The game’s reveal at Blizzcon 2019, as Kaplan confesses in the interview, didn’t communicate the game as a proper sequel despite the team’s intentions. But I personally find it difficult to doubt it now, for so many enticing new features and ideas are communicated in the presentation. If Overwatch 2′s next appearance is anything like the one we just got at Blizzcon, it won’t be long before I can see myself putting another 1000+ hours into an Overwatch game.
“I’m somebody, if you look back on my career personally, I’ve made expansions, I’ve made patch updates. I have a very clear picture in my mind of what the difference between an expansion and a patch is versus a sequel,” states Kaplan. “And our goal was always to make a sequel.”