Blizzard is now officially confirmed to be working on Overwatch 2, which will overhaul, upgrade, and expand the original Overwatch. To call it a full sequel may seem odd, but it's already confirmed to have a robust new PvE mode and is bringing the competitive mode to a new level. However, the Overwatch dev team isn't willing to just leave the original Overwatch and its community behind, and Blizzard has shared more information on how that transition will work when Overwatch 2 eventually launches.
Overwatch fans who have been paying attention to Blizzard's Overwatch 2 announcements will already know that Blizzard will be merging the two games' competitive modes. All Overwatch players will have their games updated to the upgraded engine, with its impressive new visuals, and will have access to all of Overwatch 2's new heroes and maps. This is all reported to be free of charge, and Game Director Jeff Kaplan has said that the Overwatch team fought to ensure this was the case.
The blurring of the line between Overwatch and Overwatch 2 doesn't stop there, though. In a recent interview with Kaplan it was confirmed that Overwatch will be fully merged into Overwatch 2 at some point. This means that Overwatch players who haven't bought Overwatch 2 will still have to use the new game client in order to play competitive or custom matches, and it will also be used explore their collection of cosmetics, though it is likely that they will not have access to exclusive Overwatch 2 content.
Funnily enough, this configuration isn't too odd in today's gaming landscape. For instance, Fortnite's battle royale game is entirely free to play, while Fortnite: Save the World, the PvE game that preceded the battle royale, still exists as a premium purchase. Both of these game modes exist in the same client and have some shared rewards, and Overwatch 2 and Overwatch may have a similar connection.
While the launch of Overwatch 2 and the uncertainty tied to the transition from Overwatch may seem daunting, there's still a very long time for the details to be elaborated. Jeff Kaplan said rather clearly that Overwatch 2 won't be releasing in the next year, making a 2021 launch likely. Overwatch players can thus continue playing as normal and expect Blizzard to clarify its plans and the forthcoming changes as Overwatch 2 development progresses.
Overwatch 2 is currently in development for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.