As has previously been understood, Overwatch 2 will replace the current game at launch. In essence, current owners of Overwatch will download a patch and the game will become Overwatch 2, with all the associated changes to multiplayer. For example, the game will change to a 5v5 format and introduce various balance alterations. The promised PvE campaign mode is slated to release in 2023.
The clarification came via a Reddit AMA. In a post from the Overwatch 2 Game Director, Aaron Keller, stated that the game’s launch on October 4th represents the beginning of Early Access. He added, “We’re using the term Early Access to indicate that this is just the start of many new things coming to the game.” The plan to replace the original Overwatch also fits in with the new free-to-play model. Larger content updates will come seasonally, every nine weeks, according to the roadmap Blizzard recently put out. Season 1 will feature Sojourn and Junker Queen, as well as a new map. You can find more details of the game’s launch in GameSpot’s guide everything we know about Overwatch 2 and our interview with Aaron Keller.
Any news about Overwatch 2 occurs in the context of sexual harassment and abuse allegations, as well as unionization efforts, at developer and publisher Activision Blizzard. Microsoft recently agreed to recognize a union after they acquire Activision Blizzard. In the meantime, however, the shareholders voted to keep CEO Bobby Kotick on the board of directors. Despite the demand from many employees that he should resign, it seems that he will stay on until 2023.