In a new turn of events, Blizzard Entertainment has revealed a major shift in its development strategy for Overwatch 2, particularly with the cancellation of the game’s PVE mode originally announced in 2019. The decision underscores the team’s commitment to enhancing the live game experience, focusing on PvP, and expanding the game’s narrative content.
During the livestream, Blizzard explained its future plans for Overwatch 2, which is currently in its fourth season. The team discussed additions and modifications coming up to the seventh season of the game, ranging from minor tweaks such as reintroducing the “On Fire” status to more substantial changes, including the addition of new heroes and events.
Season 5 will see a new limited-time event, Mischief & Magic, offering a fantasy-themed revamp, similar to the last Starwatch event. A new animated cinematic highlighting Sojourn and her dog Murphy is also planned, along with the return of the Summer Games event and Creators Workshop mode, which allows players to design custom game modes.
Season 6 is expected to be a milestone for the Overwatch 2 team as it finally adds story missions, igniting a new narrative arc within the Overwatch universe. Blizzard’s updated roadmap also outlines the introduction of a new support hero, a new event called Flashpoint, and Hero Mastery, which will provide hero-specific training units.
However, the original vision for the PVE mode, which included a custom hero mode and talent trees allowing modifications to a character’s ability, would not be realized. The development team, under the direction of game director Aaron Keeler, chose to drop these elements, citing the need to prioritize resources for the live game.
Executive Producer Jared Neuss admitted that the PvE experience had not progressed as hoped, leading to a “difficult choice”: continue developing the PVE mode, which seemed to have no end in sight, or reduce Overwatch 2’s focus on PVE. Neuss clarified that they couldn’t offer the PVE Vision that was originally shown from 2019 and stated, “We’re not going to offer this custom hero mode with talent trees, this long-term power-up. Those things aren’t in our plans anymore.”
In place of the now-cancelled Hero Missions, Blizzard plans to release stand-alone story missions that feature cutscenes designed to push the narrative arc forward. However, what these missions will look like, whether they will allow co-op or are intended for replayability, remains unclear.
The first series of story missions are set to launch in Season 6, starting in August, according to Blizzard’s updated roadmap. This includes a new support hero and a limited-time event called “Questwatch”. Seasons 6 and 7 also contain a host of new content, including new tank heroes, co-op events, character reworks, and the return of competitive mystery heroes.
Despite the disappointment with the cancellation of PVE mode, Blizzard remains committed to providing a quality gaming experience, and promises more gameplay and co-op experiences as part of their live-action roadmap. The team aims to explore the world of Overwatch and its cast of heroes and villains, while giving themselves the flexibility to try new things and keeping the game engaging for its players.