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What’s Going On With Overwatch 2’s Story Missions?

Screenshot: Blizzard Entertainment / Kotaku
Screenshot: Blizzard Entertainment / Kotaku

When Blizzard first announced it was making Overwatch 2 in 2019, a sequel to what could have easily gone on being a regularly updated live-service game, one of the big pillars of the pitch was that we’d finally be getting a full-fledged campaign for the shooter that would move the story forward. Well, a lot has changed since that 2019 Blizzcon reveal. The game has gone free-to-play; though once intended to co-exist with the original Overwatch, the sequel has cannibalized it; and Blizzard has gutted its planned PvE suite to focus on the competitive game. Even so, the story missions have remained part of the plan, at least as far as Blizzard has officially said. After months of radio silence and some concerning in-game changes, however, fans are starting to wonder.

Overwatch 2's story mission saga has been a roller coaster

To catch you up to speed, Overwatch 2 launched in 2022 and has only had one batch of three story missions since. These were released in August 2023, and cost $15. Which, given that the average Overwatch 2 Legendary Skin costs about $20, doesn’t sound too bad. But after Overwatch 2 was pitched as a new game that would be bought on a store shelf for a flat price in 2019, the idea of the main selling point—the campaign—being roped into the free-to-play model as a piecemeal, recurring expense rather than a full, one-time purchase added to growing frustrations that the sequel was not what Blizzard promised.

The missions themselves were pretty good. They riffed on Overwatch 2’s team-based gameplay more effectively than the original game’s seasonal PvE missions, and gave the story some much-needed momentum. But since then, it’s been mostly crickets. Blizzard had already said the next batch of missions wouldn’t launch in 2023, but when it came time to talk about what was coming in 2024 at last year’s Blizzcon, story wasn’t even part of the team’s presentation. This raised concerns that Blizzard may not have plans in place for the next set of story missions in 2024, and those fears have been stoked again by the game’s latest update.

Why are fans worried about Overwatch 2's story missions now?

Overwatch 2 got its big mid-season patch on March 12, and along with adding the Cowboy Bebop crossover skins, the patch also made a subtle change to its menus. The Play menu lists all of Overwatch 2’s playable modes. These include ranked matches, Quick Play, and the Hero Mastery obstacle courses. Those three, as well as the Arcade option that contains modes that deviate from the game’s typical ruleset, all have cards on the menu featuring characters from the game. Up until March 12, the Story Missions had their own card that displayed them prominently on the Play menu. Now, they’ve been sequestered to a small section of the screen alongside Training and Custom Games. You know, the things that Overwatch 2 doesn’t expect you to play often, if at all.

While it’s a small change, considering how little information Blizzard has given about the story missions and the cuts to PvE more broadly, fans are right to be worried that one of the biggest parts of the Overwatch 2 pitch might end up canceled and added to the list of broken promises. Some fans are still holding out hope this just means the next missions may be a bit farther off, though the less optimistic read is that this is meant to decenter them as a pillar of Overwatch 2’s roadmap until a possible cancellation. It doesn’t help that members of the Overwatch 2 narrative team were cut as part of the 2,000 layoffs at Xbox back in January.

We reached out to Blizzard for comment but didn’t hear back in time for publication.

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