Update [Thu 18th May, 2023 03:05 BST]:
Overwatch 2 executive producer Jared Neuss has now responded to the community backlash in a series of tweets, reiterating how the cancellation of the PvE Hero Mode wasn’t an easy decision and was equally as difficult for the development team. A follow-up blog will provide more context about what’s next for the “new stories” of Overwatch.
“A clarification that I wanted to make is that, while we made the decision to cut Hero Mode + Talents, we have a lot of great PvE content coming this year. Big story missions, new cinematics, co-op events and single player Hero Mastery missions are all on the way. I also want to acknowledge that today has been a challenging day for many of us in the Overwatch community – players and developers alike. We understand that today’s news about the scope of PvE is frustrating. We on the OW leadership team didn’t make the decision lightly.
“We love the world of Overwatch and have many new stories to tell. Moving in this direction gives us confidence that we can tell those stories, albeit in a different way than we originally communicated. Our next Director’s Take blog will be out on Friday with more context.”
Neuss also addressed speculation about changes to PvE’s scope due to Blizzard’s “return to office” policy and the company losing talent – mentioning how there had already been challenges before this:
“I’ve seen speculation that the changes to PvE scope on Overwatch 2 are related to Blizzard’s RTO policy. For the record, that isn’t true. Managing PvE and PvP development simultaneously has been a challenge for the team for years. It’s a less exciting headline but it’s reality.
“We’ll go into a bit more historical detail in the next Director’s Take. I hope that the additional context can shed some light on why we made this decision.”
President of Blizzard Entertainment Mike Ybarra chimed as well with the following words of support for the Overwatch team:
“I will always support the decisions our teams make and the many elements they balance as they do so. It’s not easy changing direction – and we will learn from making such early expectations. I am proud of what the Overwatch team continues to do and I know the ambition remains high to bring great experiences to players.”
Original [Wed 17th May, 2023 02:35 BST]:
Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 development team has today announced the cancellation of the game’s long-awaited PvE Hero Mode.
While there will still be PvE elements going forward, the main mode the company promised when it announced the sequel to the popular team-based hero shooter has been officially axed. This particular mode was originally the reasoning behind the release of Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 executive producer Jared Neuss explained what led to this decision in a Twitch livestream – stating how the PvE experience had “not really” made the progress the team hoped it would and the effort required to ship a “Blizzard-quality experience” would be huge, with no end date in sight.
“With everything we have 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. What that means is that we won’t be delivering that dedicated hero mode with talent trees, that long-term talent power progression. Those things are just not in our plans anymore. And we know that this is going to be disappointing to many of you which is why we wanted to bring it up before we talk about the road map.”
Neuss went on to mention how it’s been just as difficult for the team to come to terms with this decision, as many members poured their “heart and soul” into the now-cancelled mode. Speaking to Gamespot, Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller mentioned how the team was “still committed to PvE” but was just doing it in a different way than it originally talked about.
Here’s what the roadmap now looks like for Overwatch 2, which includes new story-driven missions to play through:
How do you feel about the PvE Hero Mode being axed? Were you looking forward to this? Comment below.