Feature Article

Overwatch 2: Redesigns, Modes, Maps, And More

Overwatch 2 introduces several PvE modes, a “talent” system, and Sojourn, its first Canadian hero.

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Overwatch 2 was announced during BlizzCon 2019’s opening ceremony. It’s a sequel to Blizzard’s popular team-based first-person hero shooter from 2016, but as evidenced by its announcement cinematic and gameplay reveal trailer, the upcoming Overwatch 2 will have fresh things to offer players old and new.

After its official reveal and presentation, game director Jeff Kaplan and assistant game director Aaron Keller took the Mythic Stage at BlizzCon 2019 during the future of Overwatch panel to talk Overwatch 2 game modes, maps, and heroes.

For a specific topic, use the table of contents above, otherwise just scroll through for all the info, rumors, and other details we know about Overwatch 2 so far.

Overwatch 2 Specs

Overwatch 2 is still actively in development, so the team doesn’t have a release date or even release window in mind, but it was confirmed at BlizzCon 2019 that it will come to all platforms that currently support the first Overwatch, including the Nintendo Switch.

  • Release date: N/A
  • Platforms: PC (Battle.net), Switch, PS4, Xbox One
  • Genre: First-person shooter

Game Modes

At BlizzCon 2019, Kaplan showed off a brand-new game mode called Push, described as a “core game mode” playable in both quick and competitive play, and which will also be featured in the Overwatch League. Early gameplay footage of Push mode on the new Toronto, Canada map showed two teams fighting to escort a robot into enemy territory. The team that pushes the robot furthest into the other team’s territory before time is up will win the match. As the robot moves down the linear path towards enemy lines, it’ll occasionally come up against barriers that must be pushed to unlock checkpoints. This momentarily slows the robot down, but the checkpoints they unlock also unlock new spawn points.

Currently confirmed game modes new to Overwatch 2 include:

  • Push

New Maps

Overwatch 2 will have all-new PvP maps for Push mode, but also for every current “core” game mode. The team wants to ensure players have a “totally new experience” thanks to the new maps, which are also coming to the original Overwatch as well.

Currently confirmed maps new to Overwatch 2 include:

  • Gothenburg
  • Toronto
  • Monte Carlo
  • Rio de Janeiro

Story Missions

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Story Missions are a new feature in Overwatch 2. They will be heavily curated PvE missions where players will only be able to select from a limited, contextually-relevant roster of characters. Every single story mission will have its own cinematic intro and outro video.

Hero Missions

Hero Missions are another new PvE feature, designed to be “deeply replayable” thanks to three factors outlined by Overwatch 2’s directors: varied locations, which will take players across new maps and old; constantly changing objectives, which will keep the gameplay fresh and varied; and different enemy groups, such as Null Sector, Talon, and “other threats.” Certain objectives or enemy types may demand certain types of heroes to counter, allowing more hands-on time for players stuck playing their main in PVP, Kaplan explained at BlizzCon 2019.

Item System

The newly-introduced item system is exclusive to Story Missions. Rather than a loot system like Diablo, Overwatch 2’s item system will supposedly work in much the same way items do in games like Apex Legends and PUBG, according to Kaplan: temporary item pickups that you can use for the duration of the mission. These include things like a corrosive grenade, a healing station, or a barrier fence. Items also come in tiers, like Legendary.

Talent System

Overwatch 2 will introduce a new progression system designed exclusively for Hero Missions. It will allow heroes to level up and unlock Talents that give them additional perks in combat and is meant as a strictly PvE, non-competitive mode feature. A series of Talents for Tracer were shown off at BlizzCon 2019, but Kaplan warned that the progression system is still very early in development and could change a lot.

Unlockable Talents for Tracer, part of Overwatch 2's new PvE-exclusive progression system.
Unlockable Talents for Tracer, part of Overwatch 2's new PvE-exclusive progression system.

The example abilities shown off for Tracer include:

  • Level 1:

    • Adaptive Reload (Pulse Pistols reload when using any ability)
    • Chain Reaction (Pulse Bomb causes secondary explosions on enemies that are damaged by it)

  • Level 10

    • Flash (Blinking through enemies damages them)
    • Hindsight (Recall causes damage to all recently damaged enemies)

  • Level 20

    • Vortex (Enemies are pulled toward the point of Recall and snared)
    • Speed Kills (Killing blows speed up your cooldowns)

New Heroes

Sojourn, Overwatch's first Canadian hero.
Sojourn, Overwatch's first Canadian hero.

Overwatch 2 will introduce new playable heroes, including both characters that are brand new and “characters you’ve been waiting for.” It will also carry over every hero from the first Overwatch.

Currently confirmed heroes new to Overwatch 2 include:

So far, Sojourn is the only new character announced for Overwatch 2. She is the first Canadian hero and has a role “right at the center of the story of Overwatch 2,” according to Kaplan. According to the BlizzCon 2019 panel, some heroes will even be introduced all at once, similar to how Mei, D.Va, and Genji all rolled out at the same time during the Overwatch beta.

Echo was also shown in the Overwatch 2 cinematic and gameplay trailers, but Kaplan did not confirm if she would be playable.

Skins And Progress

Kaplan confirmed that all progress and cosmetics earned in the first Overwatch will carry over to Overwatch 2. According to Kaplan, "We want to make sure that all Overwatch cosmetics come forward with you into Overwatch 2. So all of your progress matters. Nothing is getting left behind, no one is getting left behind."

What Overwatch 2 Means For Current Players

In an effort to keep the Overwatch community united, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 players will be able to play the traditional PvP mode together. The original Overwatch will also receive new maps, new heroes, and the new competitive mode, Push.

Hero Redesigns

Overwatch 2 is not being designed in a new engine, but it is a “greatly updated” version of the Overwatch engine. Overwatch 2 will have new HUDs for all heroes, and perhaps most importantly, brand-new redesigns for all existing heroes. The team wants Overwatch 2 to “have a new look and feel fresh and awesome,” according to its BlizzCon 2019 panel.

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