Overwatch 2 will fully replace Overwatch when it releases this October, as the first entry in the hero shooter series will be made unplayable.
Developer Blizzard clarified its plans to sunset the game following the release of Overwatch 2 in a developer AMA on Reddit. When sked what the launch of the sequel would mean for Overwatch, game director Aaron Keller was clear: “when [Overwatch 2] launches on October 4th it will be a replacement for the current live service”.
The release of Overwatch 2 will overwrite the original game wholesale. The sequel – with its major balance tweaks, map changes, and switch from 6v6 to 5v5 matches – will be the only way to play the Overwatch series.
The game's final destination has been a point of confusion for some time. As PC Gamer highlights, a tweet sent by the official Overwatch account back in 2019 stated “Overwatch 1 players and Overwatch 2 players will play alongside on the same maps”, suggesting both games would be live simultaneously. It appears that was either wrongly suggested, or Blizzard altered the course of the series during Overwatch 2’s development.
More to come
The Reddit AMA also revealed what will happen to Overwatch 1 content that won't be included in Overwatch 2 at launch. Systems designer Gavin Winter said maps such as Temple of Anubis and Hanamura will be available to play in custom games, but won’t be included in other modes at launch.
“I have some ideas I'd love to try when it comes to repurposing them for new potential game modes, but these ideas could only see the light of day in the distant future given our current plans,” Winter said. “If we did find a way to give them a new mode we'd want to do extensive testing in the Arcade or in other formats where we can get community feedback.”
Elsewhere in the AMA, Keller clarified why Overwatch 2 will be launching with only three new heroes, two of which – Sojourn and Junker Queen – have already been revealed in the Overwatch 2 beta. Keller said development resources had initially been split between Overwatch 2’s PvE and PvP components, but as the development of co-op content dragged, the competitive multiplayer side was also hit.
“To be clear, there is no secret vault of completed heroes and other content that we’re holding for future seasons,” Keller said. “As we continued to iterate on the PvE side of the game it meant that the schedule for PvP content and features went longer.”
More heroes are on the way, though. As the recently released Overwatch 2 roadmap revealed, Blizzard plans to introduce a new hero in each seasonal update. They’ll roll out every nine weeks after the game launches on October 4