Overwatch 2: Everything we know about the unconventional sequel

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 is finally a real game that people have played. Sort of. While the sequel's PvE mode has been banished into the future, we've had the opportunity to play the hero shooter's revamped PvP multiplayer in Blizzard's first two betas. So far, it sure feels a lot like Overwatch.

The pieces of the Overwatch 2 puzzle are finally starting to fit together, with the sequel beginning to seem like more of a free-to-play seasonal revamp. At the same time, it's undergoing some fundamental changes and bringing along plenty of new heroes, maps, and modes besides. And, someday, those long-absent PvE missions.

Here's everything we’ve learned so far about Overwatch 2.

When is Overwatch 2's release date?

Overwatch 2 enters early access on October 4, 2022, as announced during the Xbox Showcase in June 2022, and will be free to play. Importantly, that's PvP only, not PvE, which will presumably get its own date later.

Overwatch 2 release roadmap

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 betas: When you can play next

Blizzard just wrapped up its second PvP beta in July. It's still unclear if there will be another beta before Overwatch 2 releases in early October, but we do know Blizzard has one more new hero to introduce before that day: a new support character that can't come soon enough.

If there is a beta on the horizon, you'll find the signup page on Blizzard's official Overwatch 2 site (opens in new tab).

Watch some Overwatch 2 gameplay here

Between a brief alpha period and two betas over three months, we've played a fair bit of Overwatch 2 at this point. Watch a full match above featuring one of the game's new heroes, Sojourn. This was captured during the first alpha, so keep in mind that there have already been loads of balancing changes implemented since then.

Overwatch 2 Junker Queen cinematic

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The new heroes of Overwatch 2

After a few years break from adding heroes to the original Overwatch, Blizzard is planning to launch Overwatch 2 with three new ones. We've only gotten details on two so far (and played them ourselves), but we have learned a bit about the third mystery hero coming later this year:

  • Sojourn (Damage): (opens in new tab) A high-mobility gunner with an assault rifle that builds charge and releases energy as powerful railgun bursts. A cool combination of Soldier's raw chip damage and Widowmaker's burst damage potential.
  • Junker Queen (Tank): (opens in new tab) A close-quarters brawler with a high-damage scattergun, Junker Queen can yank enemies toward her with her throwing knife and leach health off enemies cut by her axe. Her burst healing and heal-over-time give her high sustainability, but she requires precise aim to score kills.
  • Mystery hero (Support): We know that the next Overwatch 2 hero will be a new support. That's good news, because supports are currently the most underserved role in Overwatch 2. Blizzard is aware of this problem and plans to fix it by releasing several more supports in Overwatch 2's first year.

The biggest Overwatch 2 hero changes

(Image credit: Blizzard)

For all intents and purposes, the Orisa of Overwatch 2 is a completely new hero. Gone is her iconic barrier, now replaced with a D.Va-like ability to block incoming projectiles by twirling her new javelin. Speaking of the javelin, her new right-click chucks the spear for devastating effect. 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Doomfist has graduated from damage hero to tank in Overwatch 2. Unlike Orisa, he has retained the basics of his moveset. The main difference is that instead of dealing huge amounts of damage, his iconic punch is now better at pushing enemies around and creating opportunities for his team. His uppercut has been replaced with a vertical leap similar to Winston.

overwatch 2 bastion

(Image credit: Blizzard)

The once immobile tank has grown a set of wheels. He can now move when transformed into turret form, but it only lasts for a few seconds. His self-heal right-click has been replaced with a new secondary grenade. He also has a new ultimate: a mortar barrage similar to Doomfist's meteor strike. 

Overwatch 2's new PvP maps are predictably gorgeous

Overwatch 2 will launch with a slate of new maps, with more coming in later seasons. The first four shown above are Monte Carlo, Toronto, Gothenburg, and Rio De Janeiro. The last one with the big ring in the sky is still a mystery, but I sure like its style.

In the PvP alpha and beta, we played on the New Queen Street (Hybrid), Midtown (Payload), Circuit Royal (Escort), and Colloseo (Push) maps. There was also an assortment of old maps at the opposite time of day as they usually are, like daytime King's Row and golden hour Eichenwalde.

Overwatch 2 will be replacing the original Overwatch

Because Overwatch 2 is functioning as a revamp for existing Overwatch PvP, it's less of a sequel and more of a relaunch. The original game will be replaced, with the free-to-play Overwatch 2 multiplayer serving as the singular Overwatch platform.

Is Overwatch 2 any good?

After many hours of time spent in the Overwatch 2 PvP alpha and beta, we have a lot of thoughts about the direction of the game (opens in new tab). As Morgan Park wrote in his impressions, Overwatch has experienced a significant increase in speed, with new heroes like Sojourn exemplifying an accelerated pace of play.

Over two betas we've already seen some growing pains as Blizzard and players alike adapt to the faster game. When you've been playing a game one way for so long, it's sometimes hard to tell if the new way is bad or just different. It's felt like a mix of both so far. Supports, for instance, have needed numerous tweaks over the beta period because it's so much harder to stay alive in a 5v5 environment.

"The original Overwatch's DNA isn't all gone in Overwatch 2, but it's minimized enough that it starts to make certain non-aim-based heroes and strategies fall behind when they don't fit into the new rhythm of the game's team fights. Number tweaks can fix this, and I imagine that's the bulk of the work that will go into the beta outside of new hero releases. But Overwatch 2 makes me question whether or not squeezing the game into this slimmer form is worth all the trouble," our own Tyler Colp wrote (opens in new tab).

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.