Overwatch 2 is shifting its PvE mode away from its original plans

Overwatch 2 beta event

The Overwatch 2 team is taking PvE in a seasonal direction

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Blizzard is changing its plans for the long-awaited Overwatch 2 PvE mode. In a developer update today, the company confirms that it’s scrapping its original plans for the mode, pivoting its PvE side into the seasonal content structure of the game.

Back in 2019, Blizzard Entertainment officially unveiled Overwatch 2, a follow-up to its 2016 hero shooter. Alongside updates to the PvP multiplayer side, there was a PvE mode shown off. Players would choose a hero, squad up, and tackle missions where they could level up talents and maintain some level of long-term progress.

This mode felt like a big reason for the “2” in Overwatch 2, but it eventually fell by the wayside. Overwatch 2 launched last year without its new PvE mode, and the question of when it would arrive has floated around until now.

In today’s Overwatch 2 Dev Chat, executive producer Jared Neuss says it seemed like there was “no end in sight” and the team faced a difficult choice: leaving the original vision for the PvE mode behind.

“With everything we’ve learned about what it takes to operate this game at the level that you deserve, it’s clear that we can’t deliver on that original vision of PvE that was shown in 2019,” said Neuss. “What that means is that we won’t be delivering that dedicated hero mode, the talent trees, that long-term power progression. Those things just aren’t in our plans anymore.”

Neuss says it’s “been difficult” for the team, as many “poured their heart and soul” into the mode.

PvE goes seasonal

There are still plans for some amount of PvE, though, as game director Aaron Keller outlines.

“Going forward though, rather than doing a big, one-time PvE release, and rather than pouring all of our efforts into these singular releases, we’re planning to make co-op gameplay and co-op experiences just part of our regular live roadmap,” said Keller. “So we want you to be able to experience it more often, and with more variety than we had originally announced.

“We’re going to be releasing our first major story-based event, featuring a new set of missions, and it’ll kick off a brand new story arc for Overwatch,” Keller continues. “And beyond that, we have a lot more co-op features planned. Some canon, and some very-not canon. We just want to give ourselves flexibility to explore the universe of Overwatch and its cast of heroes and villains, as well as just try new things. We’re going to continue to find the most exciting ways of bringing new experiences to the running game on a frequent and consistent basis.”

In an interview with GameSpot, Keller elaborates on some of these plans. The Overwatch 2 team plans to roll out story content starting in Season 6 (we’re currently on Season 4, heading into 5) with the “start” of a big narrative. The team is also planning for multiple cinematics to arrive this year, either setting up the story for Season 6 or to “further some of those characters” that they’re working on.

The road ahead for Overwatch 2

Blizzard outlined a roadmap for the year ahead, with new limited-time events, heroes, maps, and more. According to Blizzard, the PvE Story Missions will have in-game cinematics that “push the narrative arc of Overwatch forward” for the first time since the original Overwatch‘s release.

Graphic via Blizzard

While it sounds like pieces of what was developed for PvE will still be incorporated back into Overwatch 2 and its new designs for co-op, it’s hard not to be disappointed in this. Overwatch 2 has had PvE events before. The hope for Overwatch 2‘s new PvE mode was that might take those ideas forward and expand them alongside its story. With this change, we’re still getting some movement on the narrative front, but the 2019 vision of talents and Hero Missions are not coming along for the ride.

Overwatch 2 Season 6 and its new vision for PvE will go live later this summer.

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Eric Van Allen
Senior Editor - While Eric's been writing about games since 2014, he's been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.
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