Is Overwatch 2 an Update or a Sequel Explained

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You Can Play Overwatch 1 Anymore 4
Credit: Blizzard

Blizzard fans, the long-awaited Overwatch 2 is finally here, and what's more is that the servers are actually, finally, working too, so you'll now be able to play the game, which will be nice for fans. However, the launch of Overwatch 2 has brought back the debate as to whether Overwatch 2 is actually a whole new game or if it's just an update to Overwatch. So, in this article, we'll explain if Overwatch 2 is an update or a full-fledged sequel.

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You Can't Play Overwatch 1 Anymore

You Can't Play Overwatch 1 Anymore
Credit: Blizzard

With the launch of Overwatch 2 has come the closing down of the original game's servers. Meaning, you can't play it anymore. This usually only happens if a game is very old and has very few players, or if there are newer games in the series a developer is channeling its resources into instead.

Originally, Blizzard talked about being able to crossplay between Overwatch and Overwatch 2, with many assuming there would be some kind of mode in Overwatch 2 where you could play with the classic game's rules, maps, balance, and even players, but that has not been the case.

So, that itself would suggest that Overwatch 2 is a sequel, but it's actually more complicated than even that. Not only were Overwatch 1's servers shut down, but all your progress and your skins and your stats from Overwatch 1 are coming to Overwatch 2, though there are currently many technical issues with this that are slowing down the process.

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Beyond that, if you had Overwatch 1 installed on your, say, PlayStation, for example, you'll notice that it has 'updated' itself and has become Overwatch 2. You'll notice, too, that the trophies for Overwatch 1 have been merged with those of Overwatch 2, meaning you won't lose any progress or access. All of that sounds a lot like it's actually an update and not a sequel.

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So, what it breaks down to is what's actually new in Overwatch 2. Is there a load of new maps and characters and content, or has Overwatch 1 updated, brought all your stats and account information, and is now calling itself a 'new' game?

Overwatch 2 Has Changed A Lot

You Can't Play Overwatch 1 Anymore 2
Credit: Blizzard

In many ways, Overwatch 2 is a very different game from Overwatch 1. It's free-to-play, where the original wasn't, and it's a 5v5 multiplayer experience with only one tank while the original game was 6v6 with two tanks.

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On top of that, there are a ton of changes to heroes and balance across the board, and there are new maps and characters as well as a new mode, too. Then, there's a big upgrade in graphical fidelity, with Overwatch 2 looking a lot nicer than Overwatch 1, and now there's a robust ping system as well.

Then, there are lots of changes behind the scenes, like with how stats are tracked, or how competitive is ranked and set up. However, for all there is that is new, there isn't a lot of new content, not yet.

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When we say there are new maps, there are two new maps. While it's true that the new maps are well-liked by the community, two maps aren't exactly a new game's worth of maps. When we say new characters, there are three new heroes. Again, it's true that these heroes are strong, well-liked, and by all accounts really fun to play, which is no small feat, but three new heroes are hardly a new game's worth of heroes.

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Same thing goes for the mode, it's once again something that very few in the community are upset by or don't like, but it's a relatively small addition, and the same can be said for a lot of the other changes to the game. They're by and large good changes, like the move to 5v5 over 6v6, but most agree a traditional new game would have come with more content.

The thing is, though, that a lot more new content is on the way with Overwatch 2, which complicates things even further.

And It's Only Going to Change Even More

You Can't Play Overwatch 1 Anymore 3
Credit: Blizzard

Overwatch 2 was never announced or conceived as a radical rethinking of Overwatch as a multiplayer game. Nobody really wanted or expected a totally brand-new set of characters and maps and gameplay mechanics, most especially because those in Overwatch are so beloved.

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However, what Overwatch 2 initially promised alongside an evolution to multiplayer was a full-scale AAA singleplayer campaign as well as a robust PvE live service coop experience that would get new content routinely added such that it could be a whole game to dedicate your life to in of itself, kind of like a Destiny style setup.

If you check Overwatch 2 right now, there's no single-player campaign and there's no coop. That's because both of those are coming at a later date. We don't know exactly when it's coming, but we do know that PvE will 'start' coming to Overwatch 2 next year in 2023.

It seems most likely that we'll get a drip feed of content next year, too. Meaning that, for example, we'll get a singleplayer campaign, and then sometime later we'll get coop, and then coop will slowly be expanded with more content over time. Though, of course, we don't know for sure yet.

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This promised content would, by most people's definition, meet the standards for a new game: a huge update to multiplayer, a whole new campaign, and a big, fully-featured cooperative mode. The problem with Overwatch 2 is that we only have the updates to multiplayer at the moment.

So, while Overwatch 2 will inevitably become a whole new game, practically speaking, the experience right now is very much that it's a big update to Overwatch 1. A good update, but an update nonetheless.