Overwatch 2 Beta Announced
As part of a developer update video released earlier today, Overwatch Game Director Aaron Keller announced that the long-awaited Overwatch 2 will be receiving a closed PvP beta in late April. It had previously been announced that the 2022 season of the Overwatch League would “begin on an early build of Overwatch 2.”
“We recognize we haven’t communicated well, haven’t kept you up to date, and, honestly, we’ve let you down when it comes to delivering Overwatch content,” said Keller, noting that the team is “committed to more continual updates on all things Overwatch 2.”
In order to get Overwatch 2 into the hands of players sooner, Keller explained, the development team has “decoupled” the PvP game from its PvE systems, an approach which will also “deliver frequent PvP content to the live game, with the goal of far exceeding Overwatch’s previous rate of content release, and making the live game the most vibrant and dynamic PvP experience anywhere.”
A closed alpha of Overwatch 2 was released today to Overwatch League players and Blizzard employees. Players can opt-in to the upcoming beta on the Overwatch website, though Keller also announced there will be “additional public PvP beta testing later in the year”. Keller also noted that forthcoming Overwatch 2 beta tests would include “new features, new maps, and, yes, new heroes”.
Overwatch 2 Beta: What’s New?
The upcoming Overwatch 2 beta will feature a number of changes and additions, including:
- 5v5 gameplay, as opposed to the original game’s 6v6
- The 33rd hero, Sojourn
- 4 new maps: Circuit Royal, Midtown, New Queen Street and Colosseo
- The new Push game mode
- Reworks for Orisa, Doomfist, Bastion and Sombra
- A new ping system
Originally announced at BlizzCon 2019, Overwatch 2’s development has been somewhat rocky. The sequel drew heavy development focus from the team, leading to a lack of significant content updates to the live game – the last new character, Echo, released on April 14th, 2020. Lead Writer Michael Chu left Blizzard later that year, followed by previous Game Director Jeff Kaplan exiting in early 2021. Earlier this year, it was announced that Microsoft was acquiring Activision Blizzard and its associated IP following multiple scandals for $68.7 billion.
Overwatch 2 is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2023.