Director Jeff Kaplan also says the game is “absolutely a sequel”.
If you happened to be hibernating throughout the weekend, Blizzard Entertainment announced that Overwatch 2 was in development. It confirmed new PvE missions, replayable Hero Missions, abilities and whatnot. There’s also a new PvP mode called Push along with new heroes like Sojourn.
Here’s the catch though: Overwatch 2 will actually be an update to the current game’s launcher. All PvP modes and heroes will be available to legacy owners, and their collection of cosmetics will carry forward. The new PvE missions will be the main differentiating factor. That and the updated looks for all the current heroes.
Is it really a sequel in that respect? VG247 was at a BlizzCon group interview and spoke to director Jeff Kaplan, who explained the process of visualizing a sequel. “When we came up with the idea, we said ‘What would a sequel to Overwatch look like?’ Obviously there’s the big points like we want this story experience, we want this highly playable co-op PvE that we’re calling Hero Missions, we want to build a progression system with talents behind it, and we were thinking if it’s a sequel to the game, what else does it need?
“We wanted to create new PvP modes so we created Push. We also wanted to have multiple maps of that mode – Toronto is the only Push map we have, but beyond that, we want to have all-new PvP maps for all our existing modes – Control, Escort, Assault. What would any sequel do? As we got going, we started to add new looks for all the characters that we’re extremely proud of, we built a whole new interface, we upgraded the engine. We are building a true sequel.”
It was then that the topic of legacy owners potentially feeling left behind with the new game’s release. This motivated the developer to connect both games and ensure that progress carried over while new heroes/modes were free for all.
“We made a bunch of decisions to make it so nobody felt left behind. I’m sure we’ve all played games where we were enjoying it immensely and a sequel came out, we were not allowed to play that sequel, and all the progression that we had didn’t come forward with us. It just felt like a bummer. I almost want to challenge everyone back: why is it okay if we do the wrong thing by the player? Which is not give them the new maps, not pull the progression forward, is it okay to call it a sequel? But if we let everyone play, ‘Oh, it’s just a mode that you’re getting’.
“I don’t subscribe to that at all – I think the game is absolutely a sequel. It’s a huge game, and I think not only are we trying to do right by our players – current Overwatch fans who aren’t interested in Overwatch 2 – I’m hoping that we’re doing right by players of games that have sequels that are nothing to do with Overwatch. I hope we actually influence the industry a little bit. Progression can come forward with you, and players of the earlier version can play the new version with people. It’s all semantics, but I really believe we’re doing the right thing by our players,” said Kaplan.
Overwatch 2 doesn’t have a release date – and Kaplan has no idea when it’s coming out – but it’s in development for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch. As always, stay tuned for more details.