Following its appearance at the Xbox/Bethesda showcase earlier this week, Blizzard has now further detailed Overwatch 2 as part of its own dedicated event. That includes its plans for the launch of the PvP mode later this year, the removal of loot boxes, a roadmap for content to come post-launch–including new PvE content–and more.
As previously announced, the PvP component of Overwatch 2 releases on October 4, 2022 as a free-to-play game. This will kick off Season 1, which will feature all of the previously confirmed content–the switch to 5v5, new characters Sojourn and Junker Queen (who was featured in a new cinematic video you can watch below), the new Push game mode, major balance changes–but also other new additions. One of these is an as-yet-unrevealed Support character, as well as a new, customizable rarity of skin–Mythic–and a battle pass. (You can read much more about Mythic skins and all of the new changes in our interview with Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller.)
The addition of seasonal battle passes is a major turning point for Overwatch, as this will coincide with Blizzard ditching loot boxes. Despite being the way in which cosmetics and rewards have been distributed throughout the life of Overwatch, the new game does away with them completely in favor of both battle passes and a store from which you can buy content directly. Keller told GameSpot, “By losing those and moving over to a shop for Overwatch 2, it gives players the actual agency and the choice to go after what it is they want to have in the game.”
Overwatch 2 will get a new season every nine weeks (each with its own battle pass), with every other season introducing a new hero, which translates to one every four to five months. The seasons that don’t add a new character will instead have other types of content, like maps and game modes. This also signals a major change for the future of Overwatch, given that the irregular cadence of major content updates has long been a sticking point with the community.
Season 2 will launch on December 6 and include a Tank hero, map, and more skins, including another Mythic skin. In 2023, we’ll get the long-awaited PvE mode, details of which remain scarce.
Overwatch 2 will feature cross-progression, allowing players to bounce between the game’s platforms and continue making progress and using all of their unlocks. A new beta is coming June 28.
All of these announcements come as Activision Blizzard is dealing with lawsuits and allegations concerning sexual harassment and discrimination. Microsoft is also in the process of attempting to acquire the publisher, which would bring not just Overwatch and Diablo under the Xbox banner, but Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and other franchises as well.