Overwatch 2 release date speculation – Sojourn, beta access, and more

With the first beta under way, here's everything you need to know about the potential Overwatch 2 release date so far, including new modes, heroes, and more

Overwatch 2 release date: Winston standing alongside Echo, Mercy, Tracer, Reinhardt, and Brigitte

When is the Overwatch 2 release date? Blizzard has revealed the sequel to its 2016 team-based hero shooter, and although the precise released date is still a mystery, everyone is teething for an answer and we do at least have a rough window. While the devs had plans to keep the Overwatch community up to date with the game’s development, the departure of game director Jeff Kaplan, among other developments at Blizzard put a temporary stop to this.

In March 2022, Blizzard announced their plans to decouple the PvP features of the FPS game from the PvE systems. This change makes it possible to get Overwatch 2’s PvP game mode into the hands of players right away, starting with an Overwatch 2 beta in the last week of April. The Overwatch 2 release date might not arrive any time soon, but there may be more beta periods in store for the community. The PvE side of Overwatch 2 still exists, but this portion of the game isn’t ready to be shown just yet.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Overwatch 2, you may not know about the new heroes coming to the game, or the hero reworks to rebalance certain characters. Here’s everything we know about Overwatch 2’s release date so far, including the recent PvP and PvE split, every new hero, and more.

Overwatch 2 release date speculation

Our best guess is that the Overwatch 2 release date will be in late 2023 or even 2024. Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch 2 wouldn’t be launching until 2023 during their third quarter earnings call last year, as reported by VGC, so we can safely assume that’s the earliest it will arrive. The hero shooter never received a firm release date when it was first revealed at BlizzCon 2019, however, fans have been eagerly awaiting updates at every BlizzCon since.

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BlizzCon 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but it was reintroduced as a virtual event in 2021. This event gave the community a sneak peak at the game so far in a Behind the Scenes video, as it touched on the changes to PvP, some of the PvE systems, and some changes to the heroes so far.

OVERWATCH 2 BETA

The Overwatch 2 beta is currently live and runs from April 26 until May 17. There’s a chance the beta could be extended, but Blizzard usually makes the final call towards the end of the beta period. There was a period at the start of the beta where you could get guaranteed access to the Overwatch 2 beta by watching the game live on Twitch for four hours, but now the only means of accessing it is by heading here, opting in, and hoping you’re selected.

Overwatch 2 gameplay changes

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.

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”.

Related: Here are the best multiplayer games on PC

The big new gameplay 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, but 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 back in 2020, 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 release date: Sojourn firing her arm cannon at an enemy off screen

Overwatch 2 HEROES

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 instead she joined us early as a new Overwatch hero.

New addition: learn about Sojourn’s abilities in Overwatch 2

Sojourn is the newest Overwatch 2 hero – as one of the original Overwatch members, she’s familiar with the main cast of characters and is capable of dealing plenty of damage. She comes equipped with a rapid-firing energy rifle and a railgun that has the potential to rip enemies to shreds when fully charged up.

Overwatch 2 maps

We’ll also be getting a collection of new maps. There may be more, but there are currently six confirmed Overwatch 2 maps, and they are based on Toronto, Gothenburg, Monte Carlo, Rome, New York City, and Rio De Janerio.

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.

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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 above, which gives us a quick tease of the game’s new Push mode alongside the player customisation available in Hero Missions.

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 a speculative Overwatch 2 release date window, to what modes you’ll be queuing into. Now that the first Overwatch 2 beta is under way, you can expect to hear a lot more about the game’s development as Blizzard collect player data from around the world.