Overwatch 2 is scrapping the co-op PvE mode that was originally billed as a big reason for the sequel to exist in the first place.
In a livestream accompanying the new Overwatch 2 roadmap, Blizzard confirmed that the original plans for a separate, distinct "hero mode" with open-ended progression and talent systems will now be replaced by regular "co-op gameplay and co-op experiences" baked into the live-service experience.
"With everything we've learned about what it takes to operate this game at a level you deserve, it's clear that we can't deliver on that original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019," said executive producer Jared Neuss. "What that means is that we won't be delivering that dedicated Hero mode with talent trees, that long-term hero progression. Those things just aren't in our plans anymore."
Game director Aaron Keller added that "the original vision for Overwatch 2" was changed to "get something in front of players sooner."
"We made a commitment to always prioritize the live game and to all of the people playing it, and to devote all of our development efforts there," said Keller. "We want you to experience it more often and with more variety than we originally announced."
#Overwatch2: A Look Ahead ✨ Join us as we share more details about everything we have planned for 2023, including new events, PvE, new Heroes, new maps, & more.👀 https://t.co/FEyTC2p7eL pic.twitter.com/lGd1uABbfNMay 16, 2023
The first major story-based event will "kick off a brand new story arc for Overwatch" sometime in 2023 as part of season 6. Keller also said they have "a lot more co-op features planned, some canon, and some very not canon."
Way back when Overwatch 2 was first announced in 2019, we agreed that the co-op PvE mode was the thing that made "Overwatch 2 stand out from the original game." The fact that it's being completely gutted with only a shell of its original design being shoe-horned into the live game is undoubtedly disappointing to fans who've been awaiting its release for years.
According to the roadmap, Overwatch 2's next three seasons will introduce these new story-based PvE missions, as well as a brand-new support hero, a new tank hero, reworks for Sombra and Roadhog, a new limited-time event called Questwatch, and more.
For everything on the horizon, here's our comprehensive guide to new games of 2023.