Note: The original headline for this story stated that "co-op" missions are being scrapped. Blizzard has confirmed that the standalone story missions coming instead of the originally planned PvE mode will support co-op. To avoid confusion, we've updated the headline.
When Overwatch 2 was announced in 2019, front and center in Blizzard's promotion were a new campaign mode and co-op hero missions designed to be replayable. Then Overwatch 2 got delayed several times, Blizzard stopped talking about the PvE mode, and eventually decided to only release Overwatch 2's new PvP stuff and worry about PvE later.
Later has finally come, and it's mostly bad news. Blizzard announced in a midseason livestream (opens in new tab) today that the originally planned "hero missions" that'd feature co-op, long-term progression, and talent trees have been cancelled.
"Progress on the PvE experience hasn't made the progress that we would hope," said executive producer Jared Neuss.
Game director Aaron Keller says the decision came down to a "difficult choice" the team had to make: Keep working on a PvE mode whose development had "no end in sight" or scale down Overwatch 2's PvE focus.
"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 the original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019," Neuss said in today's stream.
"What that means is 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 anymore."
Blizzard had shown off the now-cancelled hero missions on several occasions in the leadup to Overwatch 2. A dev log video from 2021 (opens in new tab) showcased several hero missions in action, including new enemy types and areas on existing multiplayer maps.
Now those are all apparently gone, and what Blizzard plans to release instead are standalone story missions that feature cinematics and will "push the narrative arc of Overwatch forward for the first time since the original game release." Blizzard says that story missions will be co-op, but it sounds like they aren't designed to be replayable like the initially planned hero missions.
The first chunk of story missions are coming in Season 6, which is expected to start in August. That's according to Blizzard's updated Overwatch 2 roadmap (opens in new tab), which also includes plans for a new support hero in Season 6 and a limited-time event called "Questwatch" arriving sooner in Season 5. Also on the docket for Season 6 are "Hero Mastery" missions, which Keller described as singleplayer movement/aiming time trials designed around specific heroes.
The roadmap also covers Season 7 (which won't begin until late Fall): a new tank hero, control map, collaboration event (this time with its own mode), and reworks for both Roadhog and Sombra.