BlizzConline 2021: Overwatch 2 shows off New York City, visceral combat, and PvE content


“Patience” was the word of the day for the BlizzConline Overwatch 2 behind-the-scenes panel tonight at Blizzard’s show, but that’s to be expected for a game that is so unfinished it barely got a mention during the keynote. That said, what Jeff Kaplan and his crew brought to the show is early work with grayboxing evident – but gorgeous.

First up, the team previewed the Rome and gloriously Art Deco New York City maps:

As for systems:

  • The PvP philosophy is changing quite a bit, with a different feel to combat and roles. “It’s a pretty big departure from where we are on live right now.”
  • Role passives are on deck – for example, all tanks will get a role passive specific just to them. It kinda sounds like “bring the person not the class,” but let’s hope not.
  • Characters are all getting a more “visceral” weapon feel, including graphics and sounds – the weapon 2.0 sound pass. That even means integrating how weapons sound acoustically in different environments and how different weapons animate. For example, with Soldier 76, they want to make the gun feel as if it’s so powerful it’s almost out of the player’s control.
  • Hero Missions are still in the works as the game’s PvE level-up content. The goal is to make as many HMs as possible – hundreds, even. A lot of them will use old but heavily updated maps, with new art, new assets, new objects, and even new areas. Several maps are shown off throughout the video, including the massive India map.
  • Sandstorms and other weather effects are being implemented, along with diurnal cycles, all changing based on where the map is supposed to be located in the world. Players will be able to see when the map they’re headed into is under cloak of weather or night so they can pick their characters accordingly.
  • The talent system previewed in 2019 has been hugely expanded.
  • Enemies are getting a bit of an overhaul compared to the first iteration to make them less boring. Gotta love the half-dead baddies who can crawl toward you while you try to finish them off.
  • Characters are getting new looks to make them more techy but still aesthetically awesome and intricate and without altering their silhouettes too much. McCree, Pharah, Reaper, and Widowmaker are all briefly featured.
  • Finally, the team talks about the progression of the storyline and the character set.

While the team says the game is technically playable now, they also want more time to make it fully finished and polished, especially something that’s “five games in one.” So yes: More time and patience are necessary. In the meantime, you can check out the new dev blog, pics, and video below.

BlizzConline 2021
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