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PvE was previously pitched as a big new part of Overwatch 2, but it's actively collapsing underneath the hero shooter's foundation.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 19, 2024

2 Min Read
Soujourn, Genji, and other Heroes in splash art for Overwatch 2.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

At a Glance

  • Ovewatch 2 has had a tumultuous PvE life, mainly owed to a lack of real decisions (or faith) from Blizzard leadership.

Ex-Blizzard staffers who worked on Overwatch 2's Story Missions believe it isn't long for this world. Talking to Kotaku, they worry the PvE mode's development has been severely impacted by leadership uncertainty.

Story Missions were made to replace the previously canceled Hero Missions. Currently, one set of three Missions have released, though several levels are still reportedly in the works.

One ex-developer claims "pipeline issues" dating back to over five years ago mean Story Missions would release every 18 months. That cadence would be unusual for any game, let alone one already running on a 9-week seasonal model.

Another source laid some of the blame at the "Blizzard Quality" the company wants for its projects. That ceiling, according to them, ultimately meant leadership wouldn't make any real calls on Story Missions' development.

"[It's] a justification to essentially piss about forever and ever," they said. 'But is it Blizzard quality?' became so overused that "if they could have just made any kind of decisions, the game would have shipped years ago."

Can Overwatch 2's Story Missions be saved?

The PvP focus of the Overwatch games made it "very difficult" to tweak Heroes for Overwatch 2 PvE, said a third source.

Team members across various divisions were pitching suggestions, said the third source. To their frustration, those ideas were either killed by "gatekeepers" or because there was "no time."

Previously, director Aaron Keller implied the PvE work was hurting PvP, and vice versa. This paints a somewhat different picture, and implies the hero shooter is too enmeshed in competitive play to really be anything else.

It doesn't help the first Story Missions reportedly underperformed, player and sales-wise. What's more, Xbox's January layoffs hit several Overwatch 2 members who were involved in the mode.

If there is a chance for Story Missions to have a real future, the odds are slim. Even with Helldivers 2 taking off, Overwatch 2's PvE may ultimately die from a lack of leadership interest.

A fourth source was candid in saying it "doesn’t seem like, even from a business perspective, that Activision or Microsoft have any faith in the PvE.”

Kotaku's full report on Overwatch 2 and its PvE can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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