Overwatch Archives 2020 is bringing back all three backstory missions with new challenges

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Archives, the annual Overwatch event, is a hotly anticipated limited-time mode that gives players a chance to delve into the backstory of their favorite heroes. This year, however, there is no new Archive mission - and that's likely due to production on Overwatch 2. But that doesn't mean Archives 2020 is an event you should miss, as Blizzard is shaking up the old missions quite a bit.

Archives 2020 runs from March 12 to April 2 (a month earlier than the previous three Archives events) and it's bringing back all three co-op missions: Uprising, Retribution, and Storm Rising. And while there's no new story mission, all three PvE brawls will have unique twists in the form of modifiers that will likely change the way you approach them.

Uprising, the first Archives event which saw Tracer, Mercy, Reinhardt, and Torbjörn facing off against Null Sector on King's Row, has two new mission modifiers. In Molten Cores, enemies drop lava when they die, and in Glass Cannon, all players have 50% less health and increased damage.

Moira, McCree, Reaper, and Genji seek to capture a Talon operative in the second Archives event, Retribution, which is also boasting two unique missions. The Surgical Strike mission tests your accuracy, as only critical hits will do damage to enemies, while the Close Quarters mission focuses on mobility - enemies can only be damaged if a player is nearby.

Last year's Storm Rising, which is probably best known for giving Tracer a motorcycle, saw Tracer, Winston, Mercy, and Genji trying to capture a wealthy omnic in a Cuban city packed with Talon muscle. This year, you can try your hand at the co-op mission with two frankly wild modifiers: Blood Moon Rising, which bans support heroes and reduces healing (you'll heal yourself by doing damage) and Storm Raging, where enemies are enraged and killing them spreads it.

If you're interested in these PvE brawls but aren't a fan of the characters associated with them, don't fret. There's an All Heroes mode for each brawl that will let you play through the story missions as any character from Overwatch (except for Blood Moon Rising, where you can't choose a support hero).

As is typical with Archives events, you'll be able to grab limited-time awards by winning games. This year you can get a Holi Symmetra skin, a Rustclad Torbjörn outfit, and a bear costume for Mei (all of which are Epic skins). There's also five new Legendary skins and a slew of emotes, sprays, and icons available during Archives 2020. 

I'll be honest, I certainly raised an eyebrow when I saw that this year's event would not include a new Archives mission, as they're a fantastic peek into our heroes' pasts that help us understand what drives them. However, it is nice to see that Blizzard, which is obviously very busy with Overwatch 2 production, still has some fresh ideas ready to implement for the OG Overwatch title. Plus there's a wicked Pharah skin, so count me in.

Overwatch Archives 2020 runs from March 12 to April 2. 

We're considering the sequel one to look out for, so check out Big in 2020: Overwatch 2.

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.