The “cooperative, narrative-driven game experience” was first announced in 2019 alongside details of the sequel to Overwatch. In 2022, Blizzard confirmed it would be releasing PvP and PvE as separate updates in order to ship sooner.
However, during a developer livestream earlier this week (May 16) executive producer Jared Neuss told fans (via VGC) that “development on the PvE experience really hasn’t made the progress that we would have hoped,” and has been scrapped entirely.
Neuss went on to say that several elements of the game mode had been created, including “awesome missions that are really exciting, brand-new enemies that are super fun to fight, and some truly great and ridiculous hero talents.”
“But unfortunately, the effort required to pull all of that together into a Blizzard-quality experience that we can ship to you is huge,” he added. “So we’re left with another difficult choice. Do we continue to pour all of that effort into PvE, hoping that we can land it at some point in the future, or do we stick with this set of values we’ve aligned on and focus on the live game and focus on serving all of you?”
Neuss continued: “With everything we’ve learned about what it takes to operate this game at the level that you deserve, it’s clear that we can’t deliver on the original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019.”
Blizzard then confirmed that a dedicated hero mode with talent trees and long-term power progression for Overwatch 2 “just aren’t in our plans anymore”.
Game director Aaron Keller then confirmed that Blizzard were going to make co-op gameplay and co-op experiences ”just part of our live roadmap” with the first update coming alongside the launch of season six, which is due out later this year. “We’re going to be releasing our first major story-based event featuring a new set of missions and it will kick off a brand new story arc for Overwatch,” said Keller.
Speaking to NME earlier this year, Keller said a chance to explore Overwatch‘s “big, overarching narrative” was really exciting.
“We can go into a lot more depth with not just the characters in the universe, but all of the big events that are happening inside of it – that’s something the team is incredibly passionate about,” says Keller, who adds that Overwatch‘s “bright, hopeful, inspirational future” is a setting the developer is keen to explore further.