With Overwatch 2 officially announced, game director Jeff Kaplan is opening up about the sequel's ongoing development and how it affected the original game. Namely, Kaplan acknowledges that the development of Overwatch's live service was put on pause while Blizzard focused on Overwatch 2. Being able to open up to the Overwatch community about this, according to Kaplan, is extremely relieving. Blizzard is excited to be able to communicate clearly about Overwatch's future again.
Overwatch players already know by now that the game's live service updates have been disappointing for some time, in that Blizzard hasn't been expanding seasonal modes or adding much in terms of new playable content. In an interview with Kotaku, Kaplan explains why, saying, "Overwatch 2 was 100 percent the reason." Kaplan sees Overwatch 2's announcement as an adequate explanation, both for the lack of past Overwatch updates and for the ongoing absence as Overwatch 2 finishes development.
"I sit right next to one of the designers of Junkenstein's Revenge -- this brilliant guy named Mike Heiberg -- and he's like 'I have all these ideas I want to do for Halloween this year.' And I'm like 'I understand, Mike, but we're focused on [Overwatch 2] right now.' So it's hard for us."
Kaplan describes the current state of Overwatch as a temporary pause in the game's live service. Obviously seasonal events and new skins continue to roll out, but game director Jeff Kaplan is referring to new modes and changes. Overwatch 2 will kickstart the live service back up to full speed, bringing with it new maps, heroes, and more.
As previously announced, Overwatch 2 is currently at development at Blizzard, though it has no currently announced release date and seems unlikely until 2021. When Overwatch 2 launches, Overwatch players will have complete access to the new competitive mode and all it includes. The list features new heroes, new maps, and a complete visual overhaul as part of an engine upgrade. And yes, all cosmetics and microtransactions will also carry over, whether you buy Overwatch 2 or not.
Overwatch is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Overwatch 2 has no current release date, but is confirmed for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.