If you had a sneaking suspicion that Blizzard’s currently in-beta hero shooter Overwatch 2 would affect the 2016 original game in some way, you were absolutely correct. It turns out that when the upcoming sequel drops on October 4, it will straight-up replace Overwatch, rendering that now seven-year-old game unplayable. Now, what was that about folks from both games being able to play with each other? Remind me because my memory sucks.
The news comes from a Reddit AMA folks from the Overwatch 2 development team held on June 22. It’s full of answers on the game’s Early Access period and what’s in store once it launches this October. Game director Aaron Keller was also in attendance and fielded some questions, one of which asked what exactly Early Access meant. More specifically, the Redditor wondered whether Overwatch 2 would “replace” Overwatch’s PvP or shut the game down entirely.
“We’re using the term ‘Early Access’ to indicate this is just the start of many new things coming to the game,” Keller said. “We’re launching with new heroes, maps, and features, but there are even more of these coming seasonally—every nine weeks. We recently released a roadmap detailing some of this content, with a new hero coming in Seasons 1 and 2, and a new map in Season 2. Additionally, larger pieces of the game that have always been a part of the vision for OW2 will be released to the game as part of the live service, including the launch of the PvE campaign next year. When OW2 launches on October 4, it will be a replacement for the current Live Service.”
It sounds like Overwatch is effectively becoming Overwatch 2 when the sequel releases. While this contradicts what former game director Jeff Kaplan said about the two being a “shared multiplayer environment” when Overwatch 2 was announced in November 2019, at least the sequel will be free-to-play.
However, this does mean that the structure of Overwatch, including stuff like the 6v6 setup, will officially get retired in favor of Overwatch 2’s new 5v5 matches. At least all your progress will carry over to the new game.
Kotaku has reached out to Blizzard for comment.
This Reddit AMA comes not long after an Overwatch 2 reveal event, which detailed the seasonal roadmap, clarified that there won’t be any loot boxes, and showed off the new tank hero Junker Queen. This all is surrounded by the ongoing legal troubles publisher Activision Blizzard just can’t escape.