Overwatch 2: everything we know about Blizzard’s next team-based shooter

From modes and new heroes to a full PvE experience, Blizzard is packing heaps of content into Overwatch 2

When is the Overwatch 2 release date? Blizzard has revealed the sequel to its 2016 team-based hero shooter, and although the release is still a mystery, everyone is teething for an answer.

The PvP faithful have a new mode to look forward to that’s a spin on the ‘push the payload’ format, and there’ll be a bunch of new heroes ready to join the roster. On the PvE side of things, there are story missions to advance the game’s narrative and hero missions that give you the option to change your character’s abilities. If you’re not sure about buying Overwatch 2, you’ll be glad to know that if you own the original you can play the new PvP content. While there is some crossover, though, Blizzard does maintain that this is a sequel and not a Fortnite Chapter 2 update situation. However, it’s reported that Overwatch 1 and 2 will eventually merge clients.

Throughout this Overwatch 2 guide we’ll go over everything we know, from the Overwatch 2 release date to the various new modes and who can access them – plus, what we learned from our interview with Jeff Kaplan about Overwatch and Overwatch 2. So, now that’s all out of the way, here’s everything we know about Overwatch 2.

Overwatch 2 release date

The Overwatch 2 release date will be in 2022 at the earliest. Hopes that we’d see Overwatch 2 in 2021 were dashed in a February 2021 financial call in which Dennis Durkin, Activision Blizzard CFO, revealed that we won’t be seeing the follow-up to Blizzard’s 2016 team-based shooter this year.

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There was no release date announcement during BlizzCon 2021 as many had hoped for, but we did get a Behind the Scenes trailer, updating us on the game’s progress, and an insight into the development of a few of the new Overwatch 2 maps.

Overwatch 2 trailer

Alongside the Behind the Scenes video, we have been treated to two trailers on Overwatch 2’s announcement; a story trailer, and the gameplay trailer below, which gives us a quick tease of the game’s new Push mode alongside the player customisation available in Hero Missions.

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Overwatch 2 gameplay

The first snippet of PvP gameplay we’ve gotten is the new Push mode. It works a lot like the traditional Escort mode and tasks one team with moving a payload from one point to the next. The other team, meanwhile, have to stop the other team from progressing. The main difference here is that the payload has a robot to do the moving for you, so you don’t need to play around having teammates on the payload. The mode will feature in Quickplay and Competitive, though there are some details we don’t know yet – such as if the big robot has any health or can be affected by player abilities. This mode will be playable on Overwatch 1 alongside its sequel.

Not all of Overwatch 1’s game modes will turn up in the sequel. In the Behind the Scenes video, Jeff Kaplan mentions that “maybe 2CP doesn’t exist in Overwatch 2, and maybe there’s a new, cool game mode that replaces it”.

The big new addition is Overwatch 2’s Story and Hero missions, which bulk out the PvE side of the game. As the name suggests, Story Missions focus on expanding the game’s story and lore, whereas Hero Missions feature the same player versus waves of bots format we’ve seen in seasonal events for Overwatch 1, with multiple different mode types, such as ‘Wall of Death’, ‘Scavenger Hunt’, and ‘Kill Quest’. These missions focus more on character customisation, such as Overwatch 2 talents. They are, however, limited to Overwatch 2 and won’t be playable through the original game.

When we spoke to Jeff Kaplan, he expressed his excitement at the PvE element of Overwatch 2, specifically how players can “band together [and] be appreciative of their teammates”, and how since players will be fighting Null Sector robots instead of other humans, “we can make you win more than half the time”.

Overwatch 2 maps

We’ll also be getting a collection of new maps. There may be more, but there are currently six confirmed, and they are based on Toronto, Gothenburg, Monte Carlo, Rome, New York City, and Rio De Janerio.

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Overwatch 2 story

We’ve only caught a glimpse of Overwatch 2’s story so far, but there are a few things we can gather. Overwatch 1’s story typically focuses on the collapse of Overwatch, often looking back at what happened to the freedom fighters and the Omnic Crisis, which was a rebellion by robots against their human creators. This time, however, it appears the story looks forward to the second Omnic Crisis and the potential reunion of Overwatch.

Overwatch 2 characters

We also learnt during BlizzCon that we’ll be welcoming new Overwatch 2 heroes to the roster. We expected Echo to be making her debut in Overwatch 2, but she’ll be joining us early as a new Overwatch hero.

We’ll definitely have to wait until Overwatch 2 for new hero Sojourn, on the other hand, who will be “right at the centre” of Overwatch 2’s storyline. We now know she’ll be wielding a devastating railgun, that can “rip through enemies” if you’re accurate enough with it.

Overwatch 2 Loot Boxes

Will Overwatch 2 have loot boxes? In our interview with Jeff Kaplan, he explains that for Overwatch 2, “we’re exploring different options that move us away from loot boxes”. He also praises battle passes as “a fun engagement mechanism”, specifically referencing Diablo 3’s ‘season journey’ – which is a non-monetised battle pass – as “an awesome system.” While we’re not sure what they have in store for us, it looks like Overwatch 2 is not necessarily going to have the same loot box system as the original game.

And there you have it, everything we know about Blizzard’s next team-based shooter – from the Overwatch 2 release date to what modes you’ll be queuing into. It looks like we won’t be playing it for a while yet, but we’ll be sure to update this guide with more details as they emerge.

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