In a surprising turn of events, Blizzard announced earlier this year that the PVE mode for Overwatch 2 has been canceled.
Overwatch 2, Blizzard’s highly anticipated sequel to their popular hero shooter Overwatch, has now launched. The reviews have started pouring in from various gaming publications and critics.
The overall reception seems to be positive, with most reviews giving Overwatch 2 scores in the 7 to 8 range out of 10. Reviewers praise the new 5v5 gameplay, additional game modes, and revamped heroes as breathing fresh life into the Overwatch franchise. The shift to 5v5 combat in particular is cited as a big win, creating opportunities for more personal impact and strategic playmaking. New Push mode is also hailed as an exciting new take on the Payload game mode popular in the first Overwatch.
However, some reviewers note that the game does still feel quite familiar, lacking major innovations. The PVE mode originally announced for Overwatch 2 is still absent, leaving the focus primarily on PVP action which has not fundamentally changed. A few reviews call the game more of a “glorified expansion” than full-fledged sequel. There is also critique around the monetization, with Overwatch 2 now featuring a Battle Pass system and in-game store not present in the original.
Overall, while reviews indicate that Overwatch 2 does not necessarily redefine the franchise, it is seen as a successful update that provides meaningful gameplay changes and additions fans have been craving. Longtime players will find their favorite game freshened up, while new players have an easy entry point into the colorful world of Overwatch.
PVE mode was canceled
Along with the usual PVP multiplayer modes that Overwatch is known for, Overwatch 2 was touted as including a robust PVE mode, complete with story missions, character progression, and cooperative gameplay. This PVE mode was meant to provide more depth and context to the Overwatch universe, fleshing out the characters and world that players have come to love.
However, in a surprising turn of events, Blizzard announced earlier this year that the PVE mode for Overwatch 2 has been canceled. The game will ship as primarily a PVP experience, with the PVE elements indefinitely postponed. This news stunned and disappointed much of the Overwatch community, who felt that the PVE mode was one of the most exciting parts of the Overwatch 2 announcement.
So what exactly happened to cause the PVE mode to get scrapped? There are a few contributing factors, none of which are particularly satisfying for Overwatch fans eager to dive into story driven co-op missions.
The primary reason cited by Blizzard for canceling the PVE content was scope and complexity. The initial vision for the PVE mode was quite ambitious, including a multi-hour campaign spanning many missions, complete with cinematic cutscenes and character level progression that unlocked new abilities. Developing content of that scope took significantly more time and resources than Blizzard had anticipated. Rather than cut the PVE mode down to something that felt unsatisfying just to ship it, Blizzard decided to put it on hold until they could realize their full creative vision.
Some have speculated that Overwatch 2’s development was troubled, which may have contributed to the PVE mode being scrapped. The gap between Overwatch and Overwatch 2 was quite long, and expectations were massive. The difficulties of developing during work from home conditions over the past couple of years likely also added strain. While little is known about Overwatch 2’s development, it’s reasonable to assume that building such an ambitious sequel during these circumstances led to roadblocks that ultimately caused features like the PVE mode to be cut.
There is also a possibility that Blizzard’s priorities for Overwatch 2 shifted over time. When initially announced, Overwatch 2 seemed positioned as an opportunity for Blizzard to build out the depth of the Overwatch universe through PVE story content as much as evolving the PVP gameplay. But over the course of development, the focus may have moved more heavily toward revamping the PVP experience, with the PVE mode no longer feeling as essential to the product. The PVP updates, including a move to 5v5, new maps and modes, and hero reworks, provide plenty of content for an Overwatch sequel. The PVE mode may have felt more tangential by comparison.
Overwatch 2023 roadmap
In Season 5, players can look forward to an array of forthcoming features such as a timed Questwatch celebration as well as a gameplay mode dubbed Mischief & Magic. There will also likely be a fresh cinematic reveal, the renewal of the Summer Games festivities, and various additional content.
For Season 6, Blizzard has earmarked several key upcoming additions such as our very first Story Mission in PvE campaign mode, a new Support character, the Flashpoint map, and Hero Mastery – a mode that appears to be a constant part of the game going forward.
The main reason given by Blizzard is that developing the PvE mode proved too complex and time-consuming. They realized it would take much longer than expected to make it up to their standards.
So they decided to focus resources on improving the core Overwatch 2 PvP multiplayer mode instead, which was also having some issues at launch. They felt the PvP mode needed more attention to ensure the success of Overwatch 2.
Unfortunately no, Blizzard has now canceled all plans for any form of PvE mode in Overwatch 2. The prologue story mission released with Season 1 will remain but no further story content is coming.
All future development will focus exclusively on expanding and improving the PvP multiplayer mode of Overwatch 2. Any PvE plans have now been scrapped entirely.