Overwatch 2 first launched in October 2022, and in the nine months since, every few weeks another announcement marks "the final nail in the coffin” for Blizzard’s mess of a sequel. This week is no different, with the announcement that there will be a paid element for the upcoming Story Missions, themselves a replacement of the promised (and later canceled) larger story mode of the game.
At this point, if Overwatch 2 is in a coffin, it is a coffin made entirely of nails.
Ever since the initial announcement that Blizzard’s incredibly influential and well-loved FPS/MOBA would be getting a numbered sequel fans have felt that Blizzard has not had the interest of players at heart. The original game was a live service title not in need of a full sequel.
The beta and then initial launch of Overwatch 2 was full of messy changes to the game’s core formula, lots of balance changes that ruined many heroes' playstyles, and a confusing beginner experience that felt more restrictive than welcoming. Every subsequent patch and new announcement felt like a combination of small attempts to gain back the love of fans while also adding more problems to the pile.
All the while, diehard Overwatch fans who have been invested in this game’s world for years held on hope for Overwatch 2’s lofty promises, specifically the ambitious Hero Mode and story-focused missions.
On May 16, Overwatch 2 announced that this promise would never come to fruition. With the complete cancellation of Hero Mode and the downsizing of many of the promised PvE elements of the game. This felt like a betrayal to the fans who have stuck with Overwatch and Overwatch 2 through so many changes, many of them unwelcome. The only silver lining was that some Story Missions would indeed be coming, and they would be coming soon.
The most recent announcement from the Overwatch 2 team confirmed this. Revealing the first three Story Missions would be playable as part of Season 6 launching August 10. But like all good Overwatch 2 news, it comes with a massive caveat. There is an admission price.
Access to the Overwatch 2: Invasion Story Missions will cost players $15, which gives them “Permanent access” to the missions. While there was initially speculation that this would mean Story Missions would be free to access for all players during the season and then would be lockout to any who don’t purchase the Overwatch 2: Invasion Bundle after the season ends, it has since been confirmed that Story Missions will not be accessible unless players purchase the bundle.
Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game and development does need money, but its battle pass and store are already indicative of a game run by microtransactions that the added cost of Story Missions feels like a slap in the face. Not only does it feel wrong to charge players for the middling replacement for a promised mode that will never exist, but the players who will spend that money are the game’s most devoted fans. The ones who have stuck with it through the few good times and the many bad times, hoping and trusting that Blizzard would be able to right the ship.
While there is no way to know how these decisions are made, this money-grabbing decision is very much in line with how the higher-ups in Activision Blizzard tend to run games these days (just look at Diablo Immortal.) It’s hard not to feel for the developers, who clearly care about the game’s community, as evidenced by olive branches like the recent Pride event.
As the past several years of Overwatch have proved, this game will likely not die due to this single decision. But the death of Overwatch 2 will not be like its predecessor’s. There won’t be a flip of the switch that succinctly marks its end. It will die slowly, as fans become fed-up with questionable decisions that only make the game they are so passionate about worse, until the point it is unrecognizable. It will be a death by a thousand nails.