Overwatch 2 PvE will tell a ‘complete, linear’ story starting next year

Overwatch 2 SGF 2022
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Overwatch 2’s all-new PvE game mode will launch in 2023, and has been designed to tell a complete, linear story across the multiplayer shooter’s regular seasonal updates.

Speaking about Overwatch 2 in a press briefing, developer Blizzard said the story-focused co-op game mode will receive a staggered release to coincide with the sequel’s all-new nine-week seasonal model. Rather than telling discrete stories, however, each update will combine into an overarching campaign that reaches a defined conclusion.

“It tells a complete, linear story with a beginning and end to it,” said game director Aaron Keller about the PvE mode. “Rather than saving up all of the content that we make to put in one big box that you sell for $60 or more, we’ve shifted our model now to start releasing things seasonally.

“We want to be able to release it when they’re ready rather than holding onto it. It’s really important for us to continue to put content out for the game.”

It’ll be a while before you can get your hands on the PvE game mode, however. It’s scheduled to release in 2023, months after Overwatch 2’s new PvP mode launches as part of the game’s early access launch on October 4.

Although a specific date hasn’t been announced, the new game mode could release as early as February. Overwatch 2 will sport a new nine-week seasonal update model, with this year’s final season set to launch on December 6. It’s likely PvE will be rolled out to coincide with the launch of one of these new update periods, meaning it could come as soon as February 7 – the estimated release date of 2023’s first season.

PvE won’t only represent a new game mode for Overwatch, but a new channel through which its lore and characters can be explored. Blizzard says the co-op mode will progress Overwatch’s story, answering old questions that fans have been itching to resolve since the first game, as well as raising new plot points. In particular, it will focus on telling the story of how the in-game Overwatch group reformed.

Overwatch 2 SGF 2022

(Image credit: Blizzard)

A change of pace

Blizzard’s approach to Overwatch 2’s co-op campaign is surprising. The launch of additional story content that iterates upon ever-expanding lore is par for the course with live service games, but Overwatch 2 looks more restrained.  It sounds like the sequel’s story won’t simply spiral outward to justify the release of new content, but has been meticulously planned to drift towards a final conclusion. 

Of course, it will likely be many years before it reaches that ending, with plenty of segues along the way. But the idea its co-op story will ever, properly end is a change of pace.

Blizzard first announced that PvE wouldn’t be available at Overwatch 2’s October 4 launch during the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase. The developer is billing this initial release as an early access period that will center primarily around its 5v5 PvP mode.

However, there’s plenty of other new features to expect. Not only does Overwatch 2’s battle pass system represent a big change for the series as it commits to a live-service model, but Blizzard is making major changes to its monetization system, too. Overwatch 2 will have no loot boxes, in favor of an in-game cosmetics shop.

Check out the Overwatch 2 launch roadmap to find out more about what we can expect.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.