Skip to main content

Gaming news comes in all sorts of flavors. Much like the rest of life itself, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overwatch 2 developers handed players a bouquet of all three during a May 16 Developer Chat stream that focused on the future of the game, specifically its next two seasons and the ongoing promise of PvE story features.

The Good

Let’s start with the good news: Season Five and Season Six of Overwatch 2 will be jam-packed with content for players to get into. From a mysterious mode called Questwatch to the return of “on fire” designations, there will be plenty to keep both casual and hardcore players interested. Dedicated Overwatch nerds will also get Sojourn’s cinematic in Season Five and an unlockable “Lore Index” in the future.

The bad and the ugly

Unfortunately for players who were looking forward to a massive, deeply personalized PvE experience, both the bad and the ugly news is directed to them.

Jared Neuss, the game’s executive producer, explained during the livestream that the development team has had to drop significant parts of the story mode experience that fans were promised in 2019 and 2020.

One of the most extensive parts of the eventual PvE mode was the idea of talent trees. Players could put points into different skill trees to upgrade heroes and personalize them to their playstyle or for specific builds. Mock-ups of talent trees for heroes like Soldier: 76, Mercy, and Reinhardt were shown in early 2020.

Those talent trees will be chopped down when PvE story missions start rolling out in Season Six. They, along with other parts of “hero mode” and progression modules, will not be included in the reimagined PvE experience.

“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 that original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019,” Neuss said on the livestream.

To no one’s surprise, player reactions have ranged from bummed to furious. The siren song of RPG elements added to the Overwatch 2 experience was something that kept dedicated players on board during years of content drought before the sequel’s official release. To have that taken away hurts. As Neuss noted, this extends to developers, who spent significant time on these now-scrapped features.

While we might not be able to delve into the wide world of skill trees or personalized progression, there is a bit of silver lining along with this news. PvE will still exist, just in a different form.

Game director Aaron Keller went on to explain that the story missions will kick off “a new story arc” for Overwatch itself. They also have “more co-op features” planned in both canon and, in the words of Keller, “not so canon” ways. This means players might get missions that push Overwatch 2’s story forward, like the Rio de Janeiro mission debuted at BlizzCon 2019, and wilder non-canon modes like Starwatch.

Whether that content will be enough for PvE aficionados will have to be seen. Overwatch 2’s next season will begin in June and Season Six, where PvE missions will formally be included, should start in August 2023.