When the sequel to the original Overwatch was announced at Blizzcon in 2019, the main promise Overwatch 2 would deliver was the highly-anticipated PvE hero campaign mode that would explore every hero’s lore/background in a fun, narrative-driven multiplayer experience, unlike any other FPS game on the market.
Fans expected every hero to be reworked for PvE and given talent trees and progression systems, allowing players to dive into new abilities in an exciting twist from the PvP experience players were already familiar with. It goes without saying that this promised PvE mode was ambitious and was used as one of the main appeals of the shift from the original Overwatch into Overwatch 2. So why has Blizzard now pulled the plug on their long-awaited PvE mode?
In a major shock to fans, Blizzard has officially confirmed that the eagerly-awaited PvE component will not be released and has been halted in development. Overwatch 2 Game Director Aaron Keller has said the Overwatch 2 team are working in a different direction, having detailed a roadmap for upcoming seasons with a new hero, maps, and some small-scale story-based missions and events, like the limited-time Starwatch Galactic Rescue event testing the PvE waters.
Keller claims that this decision has been made for the good of the game and to prolong Overwatch 2’s longevity. Still, no doubt, this decision will frustrate its already-dwindling player base. Many players feel Overwatch 2 has been a cash grab, with not many gameplay changes and the inclusion of buyable Battle Passes and previously-free skins now costing real money.
In an Overwatch 2 developer live stream, Executive Producer Jared Neus explained that the original PvE teaser seen in 2019 was no longer possible. He continued that the development team really struggled with pulling together the “effort to pull off all that [content] together into a Blizzard quality experience,” with no end of sight or defined end date” with the development of the PvE content. Never fear, though; co-op PvE content is still on the way, just not how it was originally planned!
Going forward, Keller tells fans not to lose hope yet. He said they are “planning to make co-op experiences and co-op gameplay part of their live roadmap” and synergize with their already-available live PvP offerings.
The now-public Blizzard schedule confirmed that the first set of PvE story missions will be released in Overwatch 2 Season 6, which should begin on August 15, provided everything goes smoothly. Keller claims there will be story-canon missions and plenty of non-canon events in the future, offering plenty of variety for fans to get stuck into. The developers want to give themselves complete flexibility and free reign when it comes to exploring the Overwatch universe, so fans can expect some quirky content in the future.
Following the live stream, Jared Neuss took to Twitter to clarify that new cinematics, co-op events, and single-player Hero Mastery missions are also on the way.
The roadmap also detailed Season 5 of Overwatch, coming June 13, which will bring several new events: Questwatch, Mischief and Magic, and the return of the Overwatch Olympics, the Summer Games. Players will also see the return of the beloved “on fire” system for when they perform well in a game. Alongside the co-op story missions in Season 6, players can expect another new Support hero after Lifeweaver, a new map called Flashpoint, and plenty of hero changes. Without divulging too much, Season 7 of Overwatch will bring a new unnamed Tank hero, a new -co-op event, a new control map, and even reworks to Roadhog and Sombra!
While it is disappointing to many that the Overwatch 2 PvE campaign mode is no longer happening as expected, fans have plenty to look forward to, with lots of fresh content, events, and more coming to the game in future seasons. It is also good to see that Blizzard isn’t scrapping the PvE potential altogether. Instead, they are doing smaller-scale missions, hopefully packed with universal lore and action.
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