Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 will not release this year. According to comments made by Activision Blizzard on their quarterly earnings call with investors on Thursday, neither game will play a role in the company’s financial earnings in 2021.
Both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 were announced without release dates at BlizzCon in November of 2019. The announcements were notable because Overwatch and Diablo are two of Blizzard’s biggest titles and neither has received any major content updates in years. The first installment of Overwatch was released in 2016, while the Diablo franchise hasn't seen a new addition to its lineup since Diablo 3 in 2012.
According to Activision Blizzard, Overwatch 2 will be more of an expansion of Overwatch than a completely separate game. From what we know about the game, it will bring new characters, maps, and modes to the games online multiplayer queue. One confirmed new multiplayer mode is called Push, and involves both teams competing to push a neutral objective toward the enemy spawn.
The game will also bring an all new PVE co-op mode, which has players teaming up to complete World of Warcraft style raids. Additionally, Overwatch 2 will introduce a brand new graphical update to the game, which will overhaul the look and style of the entire game. All of the multi-player content will be free for those who already own Overwatch, but the PVE mode and the new graphical overhaul will require a purchase of Overwatch 2.
What the delay means for Overwatch fans and the Overwatch League
After the release of Echo In Spring of 2020, the Overwatch team took a step back from releasing new characters and content for Overwatch. According to the Director of Overwatch Jeff Kaplan, this decision was made to focus all of their resources on Overwatch 2. Since that announcement, Blizzard has been silent about the development progress of the sequel, while neglecting the current version of Overwatch that the Overwatch League competes in.
The unexpectedly long wait for Overwatch 2 is bad news for the Overwatch League, which has been struggling to retain its viewership over the past year. During 2020 the league had its lowest viewership ever, and the league saw dozens of players jump ship to VALORANT mid-year. Overwatch 2 could help revitalize interest in the esport.
For now, it seems that the Overwatch League’s fourth season will continue to be played on the original Overwatch.
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Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.