With this years Blizzcon now concluded, we can now take a minute to look at what blizzard brought to the table. I don’t think that anyone expected Blizzard to come into 2019’s iteration of their event empty handed, not two years in a row at least. Their was a lot of expectations circling around the big event, lots of speculation as to what their software lineup would look like, I was personally very intrigued to see what Blizzard had for us especially considering how hefty of a coming soon list Riot games unveiled just a few weeks ago. As a fan of Blizzard software, Diablo 4’s unveil while unsurprising blew me away and had me craving a replay of Diablo 3, World of warcrafts newest expansion Shadowlands got me excited to start planning a return to Azeroth as I always do upon expansion drops. However the big unveil for me was of course the unveil of Overwatch 2, the original Overwatch is my most played game of all time and consistently manages to bring me back into its ecosystem because of just how addictive its gameplay is. Overwatch is fundamentally the pinnacle of consumer friendly Games as a service products, as over the years it has been consistently updated with quality of life patches alongside a steady flow of content updates. I never in my right mind expected Blizzard to be so bold as to come out of the gates of Blizzcon with a direct numbered sequel to Overwatch as I could never fathom what Blizzard could possibly do to justify it. Yet what was unveiled to us at Blizzcon is a absolutely consumer friendly move that is also conducive to Blizzards ultimate goal of generating as much revenue as possible. So what is Overwatch 2?
The original Overwatch is adored by fans for being a fantastic multiplayer PVP experience that is bolstered by a cast of unique and fun to play heroes. The games universe is full of history and lore, lore that is occasionally explored in beautifully crafted cinematics, yet none of that is ever actually explored in the game due to its sole purpose of being a competitive multiplayer experience. So the core idea behind Overwatch 2 is to take the mechanics and characters that people are already acquainted with and craft a narrative focused campaign around it. Blizzards main focus with Overwatch 2 was to develop the PvE experience that fans have been craving since the original Overwatch launched years ago. They truly understood what fans desired from the future of the Overwatch universe and they demonstrated this by unveiling an all new cinematic that left me in tears because of just how much love and care was put into it. A cinematic that took what fans have been wanting to see for years and finally made it a reality, they turned Overwatch into a team, they crafted interactions and bonds between characters that we have never truly gotten the opportunity to see interact with eachother. It was the perfect love letter to fans, and a great way to get them ready for the future of Overwatch. Yet Blizzard wasn’t merely content to just push out a campaign and be done with it, Overwatch 2 is looking to be a pretty big shakeup atleast when it comes to PvE. Characters have levels and unlockable abilities, campaign levels feature 4 player Co-Op on your mission against the forces of evil. Overwatch 2 promises to be a beefy PvE experience supplemented by the already perfected PvP experience.
Naturally when you put 2 at the end of a title, it’s a pretty safe assumption that the predecessor will be taking a back seat in the future to make room for the next iteration. However I was genuinely stunned to discover that Blizzard plans to have both titles exist simultaneously, any fans of the original Overwatch who are not interested in a PvE experience wont be required to purchase the sequel in order to continue playing new Overwatch PvP content. PvP players from both Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will be put into the same pool, content updates will roll out to both titles simultaneously, this includes new characters, new maps, new modes. In my opinion this is a absolutely genius move on Blizzards part, it allows those who crave a PvE experience to receive exciting content, while allowing those not interested to continue on as if nothing ever happened. This also keeps the player base from being fragmented between Overwatch and Overwatch 2. It was something I never would have expected to come from a developer who is in the cradle of Activision one of the least consumer friendly publishers in the industry. Yet somehow, They managed to do the impossible.
Personally there is nothing I would love more than to jump into a lovingly crafted narrative featuring characters that ive spent years playing as yet not really knowing much about them other than their occasional voice line. And there is another piece of me that is relived that the PvP appears to be relatively unchanged because in my mind any attempt to revitalize it or to innovate the formula this early on in the franchises life cycle would be a detriment to an experience that has proven itself good enough to become its own Esports league. The idea of the multiplayer pools will be identical between titles is interesting to me because that begs the question of, “Is this the future of videogame sequels?” Is it sustainable for say Call Of Duty to follow this path that Overwatch has started? Its obviously too early to tell what consequences this will have on the industry as a whole, however if this sequel proves successful I have no doubts that we will start seeing its influences trickle into other popular franchises. Im personally unable to contain my excitement for this sequel however, Blizzard found a way to deliver on fans desires without compromising what makes Overwatch special. There is no doubt that this game will be a day one purchase for us here at D-Pad Dudes. But what about you guys? Are you excited for Overwatch 2? Do you have a different viewpoint on the shared PvP experience? Let us know in the comments!