Overwatch 2 will no longer get its planned PvE Hero Mode campaign, as game director Aaron Keller and executive producer Jared Neuss have confirmed the long-delayed mode is now cancelled. It was originally set to be a flagship feature for Overwatch 2, offering an alternative to competitive multiplayer, and featuring a unique progression system allowing players to recruit teams, and plow through narrative-driven maps.
According to Keller and Neuss, these ideas will now be implemented in new PvE Story Missions, launching in Season 6. So far, we know these missions are ‘significantly different’ to the game’s Archives Mode, but we don’t know how these will adapt PvE gameplay yet.
Speaking to GameSpot, Keller and Neuss described these changes as necessary for the longevity of the game as its roadmap and player base continue to evolve.
‘The development of any game is a process,’ Keller said. ‘In the years following our announcement at BlizzCon 2019, we had a really large portion of our team working on the PvE side of that game, and I think players of our live running game could feel that because we eventually stopped making content for it.’
‘It’s been maybe two and a half years since the last hero that we launched, and we don’t want to be back at the point where it’s another three and a half years since launching a PvP map. So we really looked hard at what we were doing with the live game in service of this much bigger thing that we were working on and hoping to release later.’
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‘The interesting thing about it is, it’s such a difference releasing content for players that are playing your game instead of saving up all of that content for one big release that you’re going to do later. So we came to the realisation that this wasn’t the right way to be developing for all of Overwatch.’
According to Keller, this realisation led to a major strategic shift, as the Blizzard development team began replanning the most effective use of its resources.
‘We couldn’t save up all of that content [for PvE] over the course of what was looking to be at least the next several years to finish it, and by doing that, pulling more and more resources away from the people that were all playing our game and all the people that would be playing Overwatch 2,’ Keller said. ‘So we made a decision later last year that we would focus all of our efforts on the live running game and all of our PvE efforts on this new story arc that we’re launching in Season 6.’
For now, plans for a dedicated PvE mode have been sunsetted, with studio resources instead devoted to the launch of upcoming Story Missions. We’ll learn more about this mode around August, when Overwatch 2 Season 6 is expected to debut.