Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan and assistant game director Aaron Keller revealed more about some of the new content coming in Overwatch 2 during today's Overwatch: What's Next panel, including a closer look at the new Push game mode, and details on the Story and Hero co-op modes.
Push is essentially a payload mode: Players must escort a big robot as it pushes a barrier into enemy territory. Whichever team pushes their barrier the furthest before the match ends wins; pushing it all the way to the end triggers an instant victory. That's apparently not something that happens very often, though. "It's more interesting to have that robot go back and forth across the map," Keller said.
Maps are symmetrical and combat can take place anywhere, thanks to the robot's constant movement. Keller described the mode as "really flanky," because players can access various points along the robot's path through different shortcuts and connections. As a result, Overwatch characters who aren't commonly used in other modes, like Reaper or Tracer, can be very powerful in this mode, and team compositions tend to be different too.
They also dug down a bit more into the new Story and Hero co-op modes coming in Overwatch 2. Story missions will offer a limited selection of heroes to choose from, based on the map in play, and will have an "item system" somewhat similar to what's seen in battle royale games, where players will pick up different types and qualities of items to use over the course of the mission. Different items will complement different characters and playstyles, and will enable players to approach situations differently than they might in a PvP mode.
Hero missions are more of a long term, play-it-forever kind of thing—a bit like Destiny 2 strikes, maybe. They're set in a variety of locations from Overwatch and Overwatch 2, and will have changing objectives and enemy forces each time around. While Story missions are focused on a small subset of characters, players in Hero mode will be able to select from the entire roster. In fact, Kaplan said he hopes it will encourage players to try their hands at Overwatch heroes they might normally avoid, for fear of messing up their SR.
The big question, of course, is when Overwatch 2 will be out.
"I don't know. I have no idea," Kaplan said. "Like, just let us make it great, that's what we care about more than anything. We don't have a date in mind." He also warned that the Overwatch team will probably "go dark" after BlizzCon while it works on the game.
It's been a big day for Blizzard news—keep up with everything that's happening in our ongoing coverage of BlizzCon 2019.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.