Overwatch 2 will release on October 4.
Yesterday, Overwatch fans witnessed the roadmap for Overwatch 2. The new version of Blizzard’s beloved FPS game will be free-to-play, feature battlepasses as well as regular new contents to the game. Seasons will be nine weeks long and the first few seasons will see multiple new heroes and maps released. However, there is still a section of the community that feels Overwatch 2 could have been just an update to the original game in an interview with Gamespot.
Citing Overwatch 2 as the largest update to the game ever, Aaron Keller highlights the new heroes, new maps, new game modes and a reworked PvP system in the Gamespot interview.
We are doing things with Overwatch 2 that would be difficult to do without the context of it being a sequel. We are reworking the PvP experience for Overwatch; we're shifting from a 6v6 team format to a 5v5 team format--it's removing one of the tanks from the lineup. We're also introducing role passives for every hero, reworking and modifying a lot of the heroes in the game, [and] removing crowd control abilities from the game.
Overwatch 2 will feature a single tank in the lineup, a drastic change to the original 6v6 format. With the lower number of tanks, teamfights can be expected to be more frequent and will take place more often.
"The game is a little bit faster, each player has more freedom of movement in the maps, [and] there are less players to stop you," he said. "A lot of times it just feels like you have a bit more player agency. You can get more done, [and] you have a little bit more potential to even help carry your team if you want to."
As the game accepts more people into the beta, the developers hope the public’s perception of the game matches their own.
The amount of content it takes to run a free-to-play live service game is orders of magnitude more than what it takes to run something that you put into a box and sell.
One of the biggest differences between the two games is the cost of the game. Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game. The shift to the F2P model dramatically changes the developers’ approach to the game.
“We want to keep our community together as much as we can. And so rather than releasing another box that players would have to buy in order to opt into the experience, we'd rather open the game to as broad of a population as possible,” he explained about the move to go free-to-play. “Overwatch [is] a universe that welcomes everyone, and we want people to be able to play with as many of their friends as they want to. Overwatch is a game of teamwork and cooperation and strategy, and we feel like it's played best in a social setting with your friends. Removing the price as a barrier to entry is hopefully a way for you to be able to play with more of your friends and have a better experience with the game.”
He goes on to detail the challenges of running a free-to-play service, calling it a bigger challenge than just selling video games. Several other games such as CS: GO, Dota 2, League of Legends have featured free-to-play models with in-game transactions monetizing the titles.
"The amount of content it takes to run a free-to-play live service game is orders of magnitude more than what it takes to run something that you put into a box and sell. So the whole Overwatch team [has] totally restructured and grown. It's over three times the size it was when we launched the original game, and it's structured in such a way that we can simultaneously work on things for the launch [for] the rest of this year, but next year as well."
Dev focus: Interacting with the community
The Overwatch dev team has grown in size and is taking a new approach to interacting with the community. With Overwatch 2 launching as a free-to-play title, it is important to manage the community's expectations.
We're doing more Reddit AMAs, and interviews like this, because we just want players to know that we're listening to them.
"Our community team is larger than it's ever been. We are releasing a lot more information than we have historically in the form of blog posts and developer updates," said the Overwatch 2 Game director. "We're doing more Reddit AMAs, and interviews like this, because we just want players to know that we're listening to them."
This is excellent news for Overwatch fans who were kept in the dark about Overwatch 2 development for months at a time. The Overwatch 2 beta is already in use at the Overwatch League, and Blizzard will accept an increasing number of players into the game’s beta.