Overwatch 2 will be replacing the original game when it releases later this year. The messaging regarding the future of the Overwatch series has always been a bit confusing. Despite the inclusion of an all-new and certainly not insignificant PvE mode with Overwatch 2, many have felt that the overall game is just a marginal update or expansion to the previous game. Of course, there are all kinds of reasons for releasing new clients, rebranding, and so on, but fans are still a bit mystified by the whole game especially as other titles have managed to maintain longevity through consistent updates.
In a Reddit AMA, it became clear what the future of Overwatch will look like. Game director Aaron Keller explained the game's Early Access label and confirmed that it will replace the original Overwatch. Of course, Overwatch 2 will be free-to-play, so it makes it very accessible and won't split the player base. It seems like the Overwatch 2 roadmap suggests that the game will have a much more clear cut, sustainable live service future in comparison to the first game, meaning this may be a chance for the series to start anew and rectify some mistakes.
"We're using the term 'Early Access' to indicate this is just the start of many new things coming to the game," Keller said. "We're launching with new heroes, maps, and features, but there are even more of these coming seasonally—every nine weeks. We recently released a roadmap detailing some of this content, with a new hero coming in Seasons 1 and 2, and a new map in Season 2. Additionally, larger pieces of the game that have always been a part of the vision for OW2 will be released to the game as part of the live service, including the launch of the PvE campaign next year. When OW2 launches on October 4, it will be a replacement for the current Live Service."
With Overwatch essentially coming to a permanent end, it does seem almost strange to call this Overwatch 2, given the sequel is essentially cannibalizing the original game. Unlike something like Call of Duty: Black Ops to Black Ops 2, which featured a major leap in mechanics, setting, story, weapons, modes, graphics, and more, the leap to Overwatch 1 to Overwatch 2 has been more of a natural evolution.
Overwatch 2 will launch as a free-to-play game on October 4th, 2022. Are you excited for the sequel? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.