Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon on Friday, promising new maps, multiple new heroes, a brand-new “core” game mode, and a new look for Overwatch’s heroes. Much of that new content will also be available in the original Overwatch, so owners of both games can play together.
But what’s not clear is if the original Overwatch will get a new hero any time soon, or if the game will hold steady at its current roster of 31 playable heroes for the foreseeable future. The most recently released hero, Sigma, dropped back in August, and it sounds like the original game may not receive any additional characters until Sojourn and other new heroes arrive alongside Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 does not have an officially announced release date. “I don’t know. I have no idea,” Kaplan said at BlizzCon when discussing the sequel’s release timing. “We don’t have a date in mind.”
The original Overwatch will continue to get new content updates, Kaplan said. Blizzard will roll out new cosmetics, of course, as well as its usual slate of seasonal events. The annual Archives event will still run in 2020, but it won’t feature a new story-driven mission. Kaplan didn’t say anything about more heroes for Overwatch, which usually adds about three per year.
Other new features will come to the original Overwatch, Kaplan said, including the ability to play games while waiting for a role queue slot. In fact, there’s even a new deathmatch mode coming to Overwatch that’s designed to be played while waiting for another match. There are “lots of cool updates coming to the original game,” Kaplan said, but “bear with us while we focus on Overwatch 2.”
The Overwatch team, Kaplan said, is going to “go dark” after BlizzCon, seemingly as it relates to news about Overwatch 2.
At BlizzCon, I spoke with Overwatch production director Julia Humphreys about the future of the original Overwatch, but she wouldn’t offer specifics on Blizzard’s plans for new heroes. “We’re going to continue to support the live service of Overwatch,” Humphreys said. “We have a really vibrant and engaged community. We want to keep them really engaged in the game, but we don’t have anything specific to say about what the support will look like.”
Humphreys and assistant art director Arnold Tsang said multiple times during an interview that Overwatch 2 is still early in development. And Blizzard often shies away from announcing release dates or release windows — Diablo 4 doesn’t have a date either — until close to a game’s launch. That could mean a long wait for some new blood in the Overwatch universe.