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When Overwatch 2 was announced, fans were initially excited but hesitant. The first Overwatch had been languishing in update obscurity, so fans were naturally excited to finally get an update about the game. However, Overwatch had only been out for a few years, and considering the shelf life of other Blizzard projects, it was odd to get a sequel announcement so early. Thankfully, Blizzard clarified that there would be a host of new features coming to Overwatch 2 like a dedicated PvE mode, more story content, single-player options, and hero customization to justify the sequel. The studio even said that Overwatch and Overwatch 2 would co-exist together. Overwatch players could play with Overwatch 2 players and vice versa.
Blizzard made some hefty promises and many fans were skeptical of how both games would be able to exist at the same time. When Overwatch 2 was finally released, it was much to the chagrin of fans when they learned the original Overwatch would be shut down to make room for the new free-to-play Overwatch 2, which implemented a battle pass and did away with loot boxes. Many fans were upset by this, especially since the game launched without PvE, but many also held out hope that the transition would be worth it when the host of other modes including the long-awaited PvE mode was finally brought to the game as promised. Unfortunately, it appears the promise of what Overwatch 2 would be will go unfulfilled.
Overwatch 2’s PvE Mode Would Have Set It Apart From Its Predecessor
In a recent developer update, as can be seen below, Overwatch 2‘s Director, Aaron Keller, and the game’s producer, Jared Neuss, announced that the PvE mode promised in 2019, among other features, would no longer be coming to Overwatch 2 in the form that was promised. Essentially, development was not progressing well or fast enough on PvE, Story Mode, and Hero Talents, and the team decided to divert resources back to maintaining Overwatch 2‘s live-service model. The developer had no clear date on when the PvE would be ready. To be fair, story content and co-op PvE modes will still come in the form of seasonal events, but this is a far cry from what was promised in 2019. As of now, the only tangible difference between the two games is Overwatch 2‘s updated 5v5 format and the free-to-play model.
This is incredibly frustrating for many fans. Overwatch 2 launched with a fraction of the content that was promised, and it never quite felt like a true sequel. Everything that was updated for Overwatch 2 felt like it could have been added through patches to the original Overwatch. The saving grace for the sequel was supposed to be the PvE mode. It would have been the thing that truly made Overwatch 2 feel like a sequel rather than just an update. Overwatch 2 also hasn’t had the smoothest launch. It was plagued with server issues and it has some egregious monetization schemes in place, so it really needs PvE now more than ever, especially when there are other alternative options to Overwatch on the market.
Overwatch 2 Has Turned Out to Be Redundant
Development troubles are understandable, but PvE was supposed to be the defining feature that separated Overwatch 2 from the first game. While there will still be PvE modes and lore that trickle down into new seasons, Overwatch did the exact same thing with its yearly events. It is also unclear if co-op, PvE, and story details will become available more frequently than in Overwatch, so it is becoming harder and harder to qualify Overwatch 2 as a sequel. The promised PvE mode looked incredibly fun, and it gave players another way to experience Overwatch if they did not want to strictly play PvP. Now, Overwatch 2 barely feels like anything more than an update to the first game, and there is less to make it stand out from other live-service shooters available.
Hopefully, Blizzard will find its footing with each new season of Overwatch 2. The changes made in seasonal updates could help build a better game out of it, but it doesn’t seem like the changes will be immediately noticeable or enjoyable. Deep down, there is a good game buried beneath the live-service chaos that has become Overwatch 2, and PvE could have unearthed the potential of the sequel. As of right now, there is little justification for its existence, and there seems to be even less reason for players to keep playing.