Overwatch 2's Ambitious Story Mode Is Getting Gutted Into Something Smaller

Genji is seen wearing his hoodie and holding his sword.
Genji is seen wearing his hoodie and holding his sword.

On May 16, Blizzard outlined its future plans for Overwatch 2, offering new information on the long-awaited story content revealed back when the sequel was announced in 2019—though some parts of it won’t be released as they were initially unveiled.

Overwatch 2 is in the midst of its fourth season, which added Lifeweaver, a new support hero who has already seen several tweaks since launching in April. The studio held a Twitch stream where the team discussed the hero shooter’s future as far as season 7 (the game is in season 4 now). Some of the changes are small, such as reintroducing the “on fire” status that highlights when you’re doing well in a match, while others are much larger, like the oft-promised PvE story content players have been asking for.

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When Overwatch 2 season 5 begins, the team will introduce a new limited-time event called Mischief & Magic, which, similar to the recent Starwatch event, seems like a themed reskin of the game offering a fantasy vibe instead of Starwatch’s sci-fi lean. The popular Summer Games event that focuses on sports and summer wear will also make a return in season 5, then the creator workshop mode that lets players make custom game modes will also make a return. On top of all of this, we’ll also be getting a new animated cinematic focusing on Sojourn and her dog Murphy, who is good and perfect.

The Overwatch 2 roadmap shows plans for seasons 5-7.
The Overwatch 2 roadmap shows plans for seasons 5-7.

Overwatch 2 PvE mode changes

Season 6 is where the version of Overwatch 2 Blizzard announced back in 2019 finally starts to kick off, as the team will finally add story missions as part of its seasonal rollout. Game developer Aaron Keller says these missions will kickstart a new story arc within the Overwatch universe. Also planned for season 6 is a new support hero, a new event called Flashpoint, and Hero Mastery, which will give you hero-specific training modules to run through solo.

Notably, some key aspects of the originally pitched PvE content won’t make it to the live game. This includes removing the dedicated hero mode and talent trees that would’ve let players customize their character’s abilities to do silly twists on established attacks, like changing Mei’s Cryo-Freeze into a rolling snowball that does damage to enemies as it rolls over them. Keller says this largely came as part of the Overwatch 2 team prioritizing the live game and devoting resources to that.

Blizzard laid out the broad strokes of what to expect from season 7 and beyond, including a new tank character, another collaboration similar to the One Punch Man event, a new Control map, a new Winter event, new Hero Mastery Missions, reworks for Roadhog and Sombra, the return of “fan favorite” modes, new cinematics, the return of competitive Mystery Heroes, and a lore codex so you can keep track of the story that will hopefully matter after more of the story actually starts rolling out.

There’s some stuff to be excited about here, but as an Overwatch fan who really enjoys the lore and the characters, I’m pretty disappointed to hear Blizzard doesn’t seem to be prioritizing its PvE content at all. I’ve put over 1,000 hours into the game over the years and still love its competitive mode, but it sucks to hear that after all these years waiting, Blizzard has more or less said that the sequel, which was initially pitched as a story-forward moment for the series, is shifting its approach.

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