Overwatch 2 launched in October 2022 with only its competitive multiplayer. Blizzard Entertainment said its story missions were coming sometime in the future. The latest Overwatch 2 roadmap for 2023 does have those PVE missions, but they’ve been significantly scaled back.
The Overwatch 2 roadmap for 2023 has new heroes, modes, maps, and more
Instead of having full missions with talent trees for every hero, Blizzard will now only deliver story-based quests through regular events in some seasons. The talent trees that gave the mode RPG-like elements have been stripped out, and the PVE mode will, obviously, not drop all at once. This is significantly different than the mode that was announced in 2019.
Executive producer Jared Neuss laid it out plainly in a developer update video, saying that Blizzard simply did not make as much progress on the mode that it thought it would and that it was “clear that [Blizzard] could not deliver on that original vision” that was shown in 2019. Game director Aaron Keller also noted that, in releasing the multiplayer first, the studio shifted its values in how it wanted to deliver content. It wasn’t in Blizzard’s interest to store up content to drop all at once; a steady drip feed was more feasible.
Season 6 (Season 5 kicks off in about a month, so this is a few months away) will have the first batch of these story missions and they will come with new enemies. The first one will take place in a new area of King’s Row. There will also be new solo missions that test how players use the hero in question, which are the Hero Mastery missions.
Keller and Neuss went into more detail in an interview with GameSpot. Neuss said that it was not an easy task to make something that would resonate with players because this mode was significantly different than the PVE Archives mode from past seasons. Keller chimed in, stating that it was essentially another game that was hard to develop alongside the PVP and untenable to do both in the way that was originally envisioned. Neuss said Blizzard isn’t abandoning PVE, but “[moving] into a model that [it knows it] can deliver on.”
It’ll still have a story that goes into the characters and Overwatch — Keller said it is doing “more with the story than [Blizzard has] ever done before” — but it will be delivered in a different way. Blizzard is also launching a lore codex in the future and will continue to put out cinematics, one of which is coming during Season 5.
The work on the story mode isn’t being completely wasted, either, as Keller explained that maps, parts of missions, abilities from the scrapped skill trees, and more will come to the game in some form. Some of the events have even utilized the prior work done on PVE.
The roadmap itself goes over the other seasons more broadly. Season 5 will have a new Questwatch event, summer event, a creator workshop mode, a cinematic, and the return of the “On Fire” system that gave players more feedback in how they were playing.
Season 6 will have the aforementioned story missions and Hero Mastery mode, a new support hero, another map, a player progression system, an anniversary event, and more. The teases for future seasons include another tank hero, another crossover, a map, a winter event, returning modes, a codex, cinematics, more solo Hero Mastery missions, reworks for Roadhog and Sombra, and more.
It’s not likely that the omnic in the image is the new tank hero, given how Season 6’s hero hasn’t even been revealed. But it wasn’t confirmed either way.