Overwatch 2’s long-promised flagship PvE mode has been scrapped

Blizzard has cancelled Overwatch 2’s much-trumpeted but long-delayed PvE mode, admitting development “hasn’t made the progress we would have hoped.”

PvE was presented as a flagship feature of Overwatch 2 when the team-based shooter sequel was unveiled in 2019, but, as development dragged on and 2022 arrived, Blizzard announced it would be “decoupling” PvE from PvP in order to get the game into players’ hands sooner.

To that end, a fully PvP-focused version of Overwatch 2 finally launched last October, and little has been heard about its once-key PvE component in the months since. Now though, in a newly aired developer livestream, Overwatch 2 executive producer Jared Neuss has confirmed the game’s PvE mode is officially dead.

PvE was heralded as a major new component for Overwatch 2 when it was announced in 2019.

While the Overwatch 2 team is said to have “created a bunch of amazing [PvE] content” as work on the mode has continued – including new missions, new enemies, and “some truly great and ridiculous hero talents” – Neuss admitted, “development on the PvE experience really hasn’t made the progress we would have hoped.”

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “the effort required to pull all of that together into a Blizzard-quality experience that we can ship to you is huge and there really is no end in sight… so we’re left with another difficult choice: do we continue to pour all of that effort into PvE hoping that we can land it at some point in the future, or do we stick with this set of values we’ve aligned on and focus on the live game and focus on serving all of you?

“With everything we’ve learned about what it takes to operate this game at the level you deserve, it’s clear that we can’t deliver on that original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019. So what that means is that we won’t be delivering that dedicated hero mode with talent trees, that long-term power progression – those things just aren’t in our plans any more.”

“We know this is going to be a disappointment to many of you,” Neuss concluded, “and to be perfectly honest, it’s been really difficult for many of us, and a lot of folks on the team poured their heart and soul into that stuff.”

Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller added that while PvE won’t go ahead as planned, Blizzard is still intending to make “co-op gameplay and co-op experiences just part of our live roadmap…more often and with more variety that we had originally announced.” That will include an upcoming story based event, kicking off a new narrative arc for Overwatch, with a “lot more co-op features planned, some canon and some very not-canon” after that.

“We just want to give ourselves flexibility to explore the universe of Overwatch and its cast of heroes and villains,” Keller added, “as well as just try new things”.

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