Blizzard Cancels Hero Missions in Overwatch 2 to Focus on Live Game
Blizzard Entertainment has canceled Overwatch 2’s PvE-based hero missions and will instead focus on continuing with the seasonal, story-focused events in the game to prioritize the live game. The change was announced during a developer livestream, and it comes as Overwatch 2 developers share the road map for the rest of 2023.
Overwatch 2 was announced during BlizzCon 2019, and it was expected to have two PvE campaign modes, including hero missions and story missions, that drive the game’s narrative. Hero missions were meant to be an always-available, always-replayable mode that would feature talent trees that would grant different buffs to heroes, giving this part of the game more RPG-like qualities.
However, due to development delays, Blizzard announced that these modes would not launch with the game and would be available at a later date. Now, it seems that hero missions are being completely canceled and will no longer be available in Overwatch 2.
Development Constraints and Shifted Priorities
The cancellation of hero missions in Overwatch 2 was primarily due to development constraints and shifted priorities. Jared Neuss, Overwatch 2’s executive producer, said during the livestream, “With everything we’ve learned about what it takes to operate this game, it’s clear that we can’t deliver on that original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019.”
Running two separate games at the same time with a set of heroes as the piece that is shared between two of them would have taken developers off the live game in order to create hero mission PvE that was originally planned. That would not have been consistent with the team's commitment to keeping the game fresh and exciting.
Speaking to GameSpot, Neuss and Keller went into detail about the reasons for canceling hero missions, talking about how it would’ve taken pulling developers off the live game in order to create hero missions as it was originally conceived, and how that wouldn't align with the team’s commitment to keeping the game fresh and exciting.
Story Missions and Upcoming Events
Although hero missions have been canceled, Overwatch 2 PvE is not entirely gone. The game’s story missions remain, and they will be like the story-focused events that the original game already had. Players will group up and fight against AI-controlled enemies instead of teams of other players. These kinds of missions cover Overwatch 2’s overall story, much like Uprising, Retribution, and Storm Rising did for the original Overwatch.
Moreover, the developers shared the rest of the 2023 road map during the livestream. It features new support and tank heroes, the return of the Summer Games event, and the arrival of the creator workshop, which is equally anticipated by fans.
Editorial and Advice
The cancellation of hero missions may come as a disappointment to some fans who awaited the release of Overwatch 2 since its announcement. However, Blizzard Entertainment's decision to prioritize the live game and focus on its development to keep the game fresh and exciting is commendable. After all, a live game’s success largely depends on the frequency and quality of the content release, and this approach ensures that Overwatch 2's community remains engaged and active.
Furthermore, instead of introducing a completely new mode, the game’s developers are focusing on improving the core gameplay, including adding new heroes, and refreshing existing events and game modes. This approach displays Blizzard Entertainment’s commitment to consistently providing engaging content.
The shift in priorities also calls to mind a broader discussion around the current video game industry trend towards “games as a service” model. Such games are continuously updated with new content releases instead of releasing sequels or new games altogether. This model may result in longevity, but it can also lead to game fatigue among players. Blizzard’s decision to prioritize the live game shows a balance between releasing sequels and games and constantly updating existing titles.