Blizzard Entertainment will unveil the next iteration of its popular Overwatch franchise featuring a new logo, new game modes, maps, heroes and PvE features at BlizzCon this week, according to a BlizzCon source and a BlizzCon training document, which included information about Overwatch 2 and was obtained by ESPN.
It was earlier reported in June by Kotaku that Blizzard was working on a PvE-focused Overwatch 2, with Blizzard assigning resources from other areas in the company that included a canceled StarCraft first-person shooter game using the Overwatch engine. The document obtained by ESPN offers a first look for what to expect from Blizzard's franchise esports title at BlizzCon, which begins on Friday.
Notably, the Overwatch logo now has a small orange "2" indexed in the top right corner.
Hero talents and in-game items are coming to Overwatch 2 PvE, and one of the missions will be a four-player story experience set in Rio de Janeiro, as opposed to the 6v6 gameplay in the original Overwatch, according to the document. Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment.
While much of the focus will be on story and narrative elements, Overwatch will see its first new mode since the game was released in beta in 2015, with "Push" set to be unveiled alongside Assault, Control, Escort, Hybrid. Push will be set on a new map based in "Toronto," according to the document.
Since Overwatch's release, many in the competitive Overwatch community, including professional Overwatch League players, have voiced frustrations for some of Overwatch's less popular game modes, such as Assault, and have been requesting a new variant on which to play. The Overwatch development team has made significant efforts to appease concerns from the Overwatch community, including implementing 2/2/2 role lock and role queue into the game.
Both the PvE story and new game mode are expected to be available to play for BlizzCon attendees this weekend. Blizzard is also expected to announce at least one new hero during the event.
After two years of Overwatch League games played at the Blizzard Arena, the former home of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," next year will see the launch of Overwatch League in local franchise markets for the first time. Overwatch 2 and building excitement around the game could not come at a better time for Blizzard, with broadcast media rights looming for the company as their reported two-year, $90 million deal with Twitch expires.
The release comes during a tumultuous time for the game developer. Blizzard founder and CEO Mike Morhaime stepped down last October along with other top executives, and the company laid off nearly 1,000 employees in early February. This month the company has found itself in an international incident over punishing Hearthstone player Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung after he spoke out in support of anti-government Hong Kong protesters during a postgame interview, drawing online protests and criticism from a bipartisan Congressional group.
BlizzCon runs Friday and Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.