Overwatch 2 will fully replace Overwatch when it launches in October, as the first entry in the hero shooter series will become unplayable.
Developer Blizzard has clarified its plans to shut down the game after Overwatch 2 launches at a developer AMA in reddit (opens in new tab). When asked what the release of the sequel would mean for Overwatch, game director Aaron Keller was clear: “when [Overwatch 2] launches on October 4, it will be a replacement for the current live service.”
The launch of Overwatch 2 will replace the original wholesale game. The sequel – with its major balance tweaks, map changes, and shift from 6v6 to 5v5 matches – will be the only way to play the Overwatch series.
The game’s ultimate fate has been a point of confusion for some time now. As PC player (opens in new tab) highlights, a tweet (opens in new tab) submitted by the official Overwatch account in 2019 stated that “Overwatch 1 players and Overwatch 2 players will play side-by-side on the same maps”, suggesting that the two games would be live simultaneously. It looks like it was wrongly suggested or Blizzard altered the course of the series during the development of Overwatch 2.
more to come
The Reddit AMA also revealed what will happen to Overwatch 1 content that will not be included in Overwatch 2 at launch. systems designer Gavin Winter said (opens in new tab) maps such as Temple of Anubis and Hanamura will be available to play in custom games, but will not be included in other modes at launch.
“I have some ideas that I would love to try out when it comes to repurposing them for potential new game modes, but those ideas may only see the light of day in the distant future given our current plans,” Winter said. “If we could find a way to give them a new mode, we’d like to do extensive testing in Arcade or other formats where we can get feedback from the community.”
Elsewhere in the AMA, Keller clarified why Overwatch 2 will launch with just three new heroes, two of which – Sojourn and Junker Queen – have already been revealed in the Overwatch 2 beta. Keller said (opens in new tab) development resources were initially split between the PvE and PvP components of Overwatch 2, but as the development of co-op content dragged on, the competitive side of multiplayer took a hit as well.
“To be clear, there is no secret vault of full heroes and other content that we are saving for future seasons,” Keller said. “As we continue to iterate on the PvE side of the game, this has meant that the timeline for PvP content and features has been longer.”
More heroes are on the way, however. As the recently released Overwatch 2 roadmap revealed, Blizzard plans to introduce a new hero with each seasonal update. They will be released every nine weeks after the game launches on October 4th.