It’s official – Overwatch 2 will fully replace the original Overwatch at launch. During a Reddit AMA, Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller confirmed that the upcoming Overwatch sequel will replace the original live service when the game launches in October.
“When OW2 launches on Oct 4th it will be a replacement for the current Live Service,” he confirmed. Essentially, this means that the original Overwatch will no longer be playable from October.
Of course, this news will come as a surprise to Overwatch fans. When the sequel was originally announced back in August last year, Blizzard claimed that Overwatch and Overwatch 2 players would be able to play side-by-side when playing the same game modes.
The original plan allowed Overwatch players to play on the brand-new Overwatch 2 maps and as the new heroes. Then-game director Jeff Kaplan said it was a “shared multiplayer environment where no one gets left behind.” In other words, multiplayer PvP would have been possible across the two titles.
Now, it looks as though Overwatch will, in fact, be left behind. It’s likely that Overwatch will essentially become Overwatch 2, which was already planned to retain old legacy content while adding new maps and systems. The fact that Overwatch 2 will be free-to-play means this should be an easy enough transition, since no players need to pay for the new game.
But this change means it looks as though 6v6 Overwatch is a thing of the past, as Overwatch 2 uses a 5v5 model. In fact, it’s likely that the transition from 6v6 to 5v5 is the thing that made the two versions of the game incompatible.
“We’re using the term Early Access to indicate that this is just the start of many new things coming to the game,” said Overwatch 2’s director, Aaron Keller, on Reddit. “We’re launching with new heroes, maps, and features, but there are even more of these coming seasonally – every 9 weeks. We recently released a roadmap detailing some of this content, with a new hero coming in Seasons 1 and 2, and a new map in Season 2. Additionally, larger pieces of the game that have always been a part of the vision for OW2 will be released to the game as part of the live service, including the launch of the PvE Campaign next year.”
Overwatch 2 – Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Elsewhere, Blizzard recently clarified what will happen to your unopened loot boxes, while the game’s official reveal event unveiled some brand new details.
Need some help with Overwatch while you’re still able to play it? Check out our guide to the tips, tricks, and secrets of Overwatch, and learn which characters counter each other to power up your games.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.