'Overwatch 2' release date: Blizzard's sequel can't demand a premium price
Overwatch is getting a sequel. Blizzard Entertainment ended the November 1 opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2019 by announcing the next chapter of its popular team-based shooter: Overwatch 2. But the glimpses of gameplay we’ve seen so far suggest it’s somewhere between being a regular game update and a full-fledged new title.
Blizzard didn’t reveal a release date or price tag for Overwatch 2, but it will almost certainly not be free. Blizzard highlighted that the sequel will be a “shared, multiplayer environment” where owners of the original game can play alongside Overwatch 2 gamers. That could be a solution to not force another payment on fans that don’t want to shell out for a sequel. But if Overwatch 2 wants to succeed, it cannot cost anywhere near $60.
From what Blizzard has divulged, Overwatch 2 will be primarily made up of a new story-based player-versus-environment mode and a new “Push” PvP mode with new heroes and cosmetic changes. That sounds a lot like the free seasonal events Blizzard has released over the last three years. In fact, everyone who already owns Overwatch will get access to a portion of the sequel at no cost.
Overwatch 2 will ship with a “significant engine upgrades” to support larger maps for its co-op missions and overall visual improvements. Since both versions of the game will eventually be playable under one roof, the original will need to merge with the Overwatch 2 client.
That means the only thing the existing game won’t offer is the PvE mode and potentially the new heroes. This may not go over well with fans, as Blizzard has consistently added to the roster for free since Overwatch’s 2016 launch.
As it stands, Overwatch 2 seems like a glorified PvE story mode with slightly updated graphics. Asking a full $60 for that would be nothing short of a blatant cash grab, likely to upset players who actually want the PvE mode and repel anyone who only plays Overwatch for the PvP action.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about Overwatch 2. Blizzard has only showed off the Rio de Janeiro and Toronto co-op missions, and the game could be more than a year away, which could mean substantially more content in the works. But asking anything more than $15 to $20 for what we saw at Blizzcon would be a Fallout: 76-subscription-service-level misfire.
Overwatch 2 is expected to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One… eventually.