Earlier this week, the Overwatch 2 team shared a roadmap detailing the future of the game, while announcing that the PvE mode, Hero Missions, has been scrapped. Now, the game’s director, Aaron Keller, has shared more details on the changes in a detailed blog post. In it, Keller talks about the two planned PvE modes, Story Missions and Hero Missions.
Story Missions feature fast-paced, co-op gameplay that focuses on expanding the world of Overwatch through story, cinematics, and cutscenes. They are designed to tell a linear narrative about Overwatch’s heroes, with the missions unfolding on expansive maps, introducing new enemies and cinematics. Story Missions are still slated for release and players will begin seeing them with Season 6.
Hero Missions, which is what has been canceled, was a mode where players could upgrade individual heroes through talent trees, with the idea of adding a replayable version of PvE in Overwatch 2. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how that mode would have turned out.
Keller goes on to explain the background behind the original Overwatch, a story about an FPS MMO that went by Project Titan. “The Overwatch team, especially at its inception, considered itself an MMO development team,” said Keller. “As we transitioned away from that original concept and started creating Overwatch, we included plans to one day return to that scope. We had a crawl, walk, run plan. Overwatch was the crawl, a dedicated version of PvE was the walk, and an MMO was the run. It was built into the DNA of the team early on, and some of us considered that final game a true realization of the original vision of Project Titan.”
Although the post does add some historical context as to why the decision was made, it really doesn’t provide more insights as to why less PvE content is heading to Overwatch 2. Needless to say, the community remains unhappy about the shift, and given Blizzard’s recent track record, it’s understandable that many believe the decision was made because of one thing: money. The timing of the announcement coincides with the impending release of Diablo IV. While they are different teams, it’s fair to question whether Overwatch 2’s decision to reduce some PvE content was influenced by upper management.