Overwatch 2 recently made headlines after Blizzard Entertainment unceremoniously cancelled its long-awaited PvE hero mode. The backlash from the community was swift as many fans expressed their disappointment in Blizzard’s decision. More importantly, it has a lot of players questioning why Overwatch 2 even exists without its biggest justification for being a sequel.
A few years ago, Overwatch took the gaming world by storm. Blizzard’s vibrant shooter dominated esports and the mainstream, even going on to win Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2016. For a time, it seemed like Overwatch wouldn’t show any signs of slowing down. That was until Blizzard announced a sequel, which isn’t out of the ordinary as it promised a robust PvE hero mode alongside tweaks and balances to the core gameplay.
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As long as Overwatch 2 justified itself as a sequel, most players were willing to give Blizzard a fair shot. A lot of that sequel hype largely revolved around a promised PvE mode which would be far bigger in scope than anything fans had seen before. This was also a great jumping in point for newcomers who were perhaps interested in the Overwatch universe but didn’t want to get sweaty and slug it out against other players online. The icing on the cake was the ability to play this new PvE mode in co-op.
Without the allure of the PvE mode, Overwatch 2 now sits in a very strange place. Media outlets such as GamesRadar and IGN recently discussed the topic of why Overwatch 2 even needed to exist and raised some great points. As a sequel, it only arrived six years after the first game. Compare this to other long-running Blizzard properties like World of Warcraft which gradually evolved with frequent updates instead of pushing a sequel and the problems become clearer.
The biggest argument (that existed since Overwatch 2 was even announced) was the justification for it being a sequel on top of booting players out of the original game and making it redundant. It wasn’t a massive visual upgrade either since it only did the bare minimum gameplay balances and tweaks that, at this point, could’ve easily been accomplished with an update to the first game instead of putting out an entire sequel.
So far, the sequel tag doesn’t seem to deliver on the promises of a “new” Overwatch experience but rather one that could’ve reached the same point with some updates instead of butchering the first game completely. One could even argue that the PvE mode would’ve been fine as a massive update or overhaul too, even if there was a price tag attached to it.
The overall sentiment is that Blizzard has an uphill battle to climb if it wants to convince players that Overwatch 2 is something worth being excited for again, especially in light of scrapping the PvE mode.