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Is Overwatch 2 a separate game?

What are Overwatch 2's differences and when is it being released?

Overwatch 2 was announced at BlizzCon 2019. As you might expect, the reveal was met with huge excitement from the series’ large and dedicated community – but some people are confused as to whether the sequel is a separate game or merely an expansion on the original Overwatch.

Some of the confusion has arisen because developer Blizzard says it wants to ensure the two games are compatible – they will share the same roster of characters and maps, for instance. While it’s admirable the company doesn’t want to leave players of the first game behind, it has caused some people to be confused on what’s actually included in the new title.

For a start, there’s a proper story mode, which will add significantly to the PvE segment of Overwatch. This will be exclusive to Overwatch 2, so fans of the lore or of online co-op will likely need to pick up the sequel if they want more. However, the PvP portion of the sequel will remain aligned to the first game.

So, is Overwatch 2 a separate game?

Short answer: yes. Long answer: sort of.

Overwatch 2 is a separate game in the sense that it will be available as a standalone package, both in brick-and-mortar shops and on Battle.net. It will include new content – the new Story Missions mentioned above, as well as Hero Missions and new modes and Heroes, starting with Sojourn – but it will also contain the entirety of the first game. So if you never played Overwatch and you buy Overwatch 2, you’ll get all the maps, modes, and characters included in the first game.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Because Blizzard didn’t want to leave players of the first game behind, those who do not buy Overwatch 2 will still get to play all the new game’s PvP maps, modes, and characters. The developer states: “Current Overwatch players will battle side-by-side with Overwatch 2 players in PvP multiplayer; they’ll also be able to play Overwatch 2 heroes and maps. Additionally, any unlocks that Overwatch players earn on their accounts will be transferred to the sequel, which means players will keep their skins, player icons, sprays, emotes, and more.”

So, to summarise: yes, Overwatch 2 is a separate game in that it will come with a new box, disc, download file, menu screen, and so on. It will also contain Story Missions and Hero Missions that you will not be able to play in the first game.

On the other hand, Overwatch 2’s new PvP content – Sojourn, the Toronto map, the Push gametype, and more – is not separate and will be playable to owners of the first game.

I’m off for a lie down.