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Overwatch 2 characters, trailers and release date

Ever since its release, Overwatch has become one of Blizzard's key franchises. In 2019, the game reached more than $1 billion from in-game spending and over 50 million players as of earlier this month. This is mainly due to the addition of new playable Heroes, new maps, and seasonal events, including Halloween and Christmas.

But there's always room for growth. And after so many leaks indicating that a sequel was coming, Blizzard finally confirmed Overwatch 2. However, it's not like a typical follow-up, like, say, Borderlands 3. Instead, the game acts more like a large expansion over the original, with more of a story structure — something that would be a key addition for a game that generally thrives on multiplayer action.

In this article, we'll break down the many components of Overwatch 2. What will players be able to take with them from the first game? What happens to players who don't want to jump into Overwatch 2 right away? How will the story go? And most importantly, what will the new missions bring to the game? It's time to see what answers can be found.

Overwatch 2's release date

The real question on most Overwatch players' minds is, "When can we play it?" Well, a select few at BlizzCon got to check out the Toronto map in Push mode and a Rio de Janeiro story mission, but the rest of the game appears to be a work in progress.

When asked, game director Jeff Kaplan explained, "I have no idea. Like, just let us make it great, that's what we care about more than anything. We don't have a date in mind." Kaplan explained that the team was "going dark" on new details about the game, giving them the time they need to work on it. However, considering that current Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Nintendo Switch platforms were confirmed, some are saying that a late 2020 release is possible. That's far from confirmed, but it would make for a key holiday release for those platforms, along with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett.

So the waiting game begins. But Overwatch 2's hype is off to an excellent start.

The cinematic trailer for Overwatch 2

In the eight-minute long cinematic trailer titled "Zero Hour," there's a little background on how the team reforms. It shows Winston taking a look at an older photo of his fellow Overwatch members, scattered after their team was broken apart. He then has a conversation with Mei, who's flying with him, and their pilot, the returning Tracer, as they head to Paris. Null Sector's Omnics are on the attack, and the somewhat smaller team has to fight them off.

The three are able to fend off smaller Omnics. But when a larger one appears and lays waste to the surroundings, Mei becomes injured. Winston tells Tracer to get her to safety, trying to draw the fire of the Omnic. But just when he's about to be finished off, Genji appears, deflecting one of the Omnic's shots back at him. It's here that other Overwatch heroes begin showing up, including Echo, Reinhardt, and Mercy, who heals Mei's wounds. Working together, the team finishes off the giant Omnic, freezing it with Mei's backpack.

The trailer concludes with Winston confirming Overwatch's return, setting the game's single player content in motion.

What platforms will Overwatch 2 come out for?

When Overwatch 2 does finish development, it will come to all of the platforms that received the original Overwatch game. These include the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It'll also release on the Nintendo Switch. Considering that the game's release date wasn't announced, there's also the possibility of a next-generation arrival for Overwatch 2. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett are estimated to arrive sometime during the holidays in 2020. And with Blizzard having big multiplayer prospects with the game, it could position a release for older and newer platforms alike. Whether crossplay would be available at that time is unknown, as it's still a work in progress for the company.

But whether you own current consoles or plan to leap into new ones, Overwatch 2 is coming your way. And that's good news.

The gameplay in Overwatch 2

The third trailer for Overwatch 2 focuses on gameplay. It provides a taste of what players will get with this particular chapter. First off, it shows several familiar characters returning to action, such as Lucio and Tracer. We're then introduced to the Story Missions, a new component to Overwatch 2. 

Based on the details that emerged from the BlizzCon panel, these will allow up to four people to take part. Heroes are specific to certain objectives with each Story Mission, taking players through a "thoughtfully crafted narrative experience." Along the way, players can customize their heroes and "level up" with new abilities, which is also new to the game.

But that doesn't mean it'll be all about cooperative play. Overwatch 2 will keep its competitive edge with a new PvP map type called Push. These present a symmetrical design, with players taking control of a chatty robot that attempts to "push" the payload towards the enemy team's base. One map, Toronto, has been revealed thus far; and more will come to the game as it gets closer to release.

Finally, multiple new locations will be introduced for each existing PvP mode.

The Overwatch story so far

The debut trailer for Overwatch 2 lays out how the story begins, with Winston explaining a great war that broke out between humans and the automated Omnics. As a result, a team of warriors and scientists called Overwatch was created to rescue humanity. Though they helped win the war, they were later shut down due to the Petras Act, since most of the public believed them to be criminals.

After a public figure declares that humans and Omnics can stand together, he is assassinated, creating a new war in the process. With human losses mounting in the face of the Omnic threat, led by a terrorist group called Null Sector, Winston makes a choice to recall the Overwatch program and bring its heroes back together. The rest of the trailer then shows off many of them returning, each with their own reasons for doing so. 

This provides some good background for the new story missions being introduced in Overwatch 2, though not all of the details are available just yet. But the main trailer, "Zero Hour," does provide a little more basis on how the team comes together.

Owners of the original Overwatch won't be left behind

Some of you may not be eager to hop aboard the Overwatch 2 train right away. Does that mean you'll get left out in the cold when it comes to new Heroes and maps? Though we've seen that with some games in the past, game director Jeff Kaplan made it clear that both games will be strongly supported with new content.

He explained that "no one gets left behind" with this content: "For all original players of Overwatch, you will get to play on all of the same maps as Overwatch 2 players, including all of the brand new maps" from the sequel. "And you will get to play with all of the same Heroes as Overwatch 2 players."

The goal, he sums up, is that "it will be a shared, multiplayer environment where no one gets left behind."

That's an ambitious goal, but it's also a smart move on the part of Blizzard, providing something for players to enjoy with the new game, while still satisfying the 50 million players invested in the original. 

So what carries over with you in Overwatch 2?

So, let's say you're a diehard Overwatch player that's completely sold on upgrading to Overwatch 2. Does that mean you have to give up all the skins, sprays, and other items you've attained in the original, starting fresh with all new content? Fortunately, that isn't the case.

During the BlizzCon opening ceremony, game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed that no one will lose what they've earned: "How hard did you work for your Witch Mercy skin, for example? We want to make sure that all Overwatch cosmetics come forward with you into Overwatch 2, so all of your progress matters. Nothing's getting left behind, no one's getting left behind."

Kaplan explained the progress on this wasn't easy, but it was worth it to keep the Overwatch community pleased: "The last thing that we would ever do is to do anything to split what an amazing community you guys are, and how much you mean to us."

That's certainly good news for those of you that want to keep your precious Year of the Dragon skins or special Junkrat Halloween specials.

New characters in Overwatch 2

Overwatch is all about evolution through new content, and Overwatch 2 will continue this in stride. Along with new looks for each of the existing Heroes (including a new haircut for Lucio), it'll also have some newcomers joining the party.

During BlizzCon's opening, game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed that Sojourn will join the world of Overwatch. A black Canadian female character with a powerful arm cannon and athletic abilities, she's a strong addition to the lineup. And though he didn't spill the beans too much on any more of her background, he noted she wouldn't be alone.

"Overwatch 2 will feature multiple new Heroes," he stated. And, as previously confirmed, they'll be in the original Overwatch as well, so players can get seasoned with them before making a potential switch to the new game.

Though the team is "going dark" at the moment about information about these Heroes, hopefully we'll learn more as 2020 comes around.