World of Warcraft’s latest expansion and Diablo 4 may be hogging most of the spotlight at this year’s Blizzcon, but it’d be a mistake to ignore the latest developments in the Overwatch universe.
The highly-popular team and hero-based multiplayer shooter has been around for just over three years now, and it’s seen plenty of updates over that timeframe. New heroes, new maps, and holiday events are just a few examples of the sort of content Overwatch players have received.
If you’ve enjoyed that content so far, we have some great news for you now: Blizzard has revealed Overwatch 2, and it aims to respect the past while building a new foundation for the future.
For example, Overwatch 2 will feature the same heroes as its predecessor, and players of both games can hop into competitive multiplayer matches together. Further, all of your well-earned skins, icons, sprays, and emotes from the first game will carry over to the sequel. If that’s not enough, Overwatch 1 players will have access to all of Overwatch 2’s heroes and maps.
So, that’s the “respecting the past” part, but what about that foundation for the future? That’s where Overwatch 2’s new features come in. In addition to an improved roster of heroes and maps, the game is also receiving a flood of cooperative, PvE-oriented content (a franchise first, at least on this scale).
The cooperative content is comprised of Story Missions and Hero Missions, both of which aim to flesh out Overwatch 2’s narrative and provide some additional context to the world and its many characters. These missions will be “high-stakes” four-player content that progresses along a linear overall storyline, which focuses on the growing omnic threat.
Hero Missions will likely still have some story elements, but they are isolated from the main campaign. These missions force players to defend cities against robot invasions, take on elite Talon agents, and battle various other “villainous forces.”
This mode also introduces hero-specific level-up options, allowing players to pick talents for their characters and customize their abilities. To be clear, those customization options only seem to be available in co-op; likely for balancing reasons.
Gameplay updates aside, Overwatch 2 is also getting some improvements on the visual side of things. Environments will be bigger and more dynamic than ever before, and maps will get “additional in-game storytelling events,” whatever that means.
Atmospheric effects and shadows will look better, and every hero has been upgraded with “better detail” and higher fidelity models. These changes are especially noticeable if you look at each character’s hair in the before-and-after section of Overwatch 2’s website.
Overwatch 2 is not available for pre-order yet, and it does not have a release date yet. Frankly, we’re not even sure how the game will be monetized — Blizzard might treat it as a completely stand-alone experience, or maybe it will be a paid expansion for the core Overwatch game.
Only time will tell, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information comes to light. In the meantime, feel free visit the official website for more details.