What’s New In Overwatch 2 & The Future Of Overwatch

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What’s New In Overwatch 2 & The Future Of Overwatch

Here's what's in store for the future of Overwatch.

Since its first reveal in 2015, there was little to no news about Overwatch 2. But yesterday, Jeff Kaplan and his team finally shed some light on Overwatch 2 during the BlizzConline 2021. From new maps to the inside of Torbjorn’s workshop, here is the best news we learned about the future of Overwatch in 2021.

New Maps

Overwatch 2 includes a bunch of new maps. Players will discover a revamped version of Rome where the architecture blends past, present, and future. The Colisseum is complete, and small colorful houses spawn between shops. It is authentical while staying true to the Overwatch universe.

A wide shot of an old Roman city appears in Overwatch 2 with a large castle in the background and the sun bright behind it

A small cafe with neon signs is tucked away between Roman aqueducts and old buildings in Overwatch 2

The NYXL is getting a home map, as Overwatch 2 will have missions in New York. It features iconic symbols of the Big Apple, such as the yellow cabs or Grand Central.


A New York City skyline appears in Overwatch two with buildings towering above and a clear sky

A modern dining/sitting area is shown with dim lighting and a futuristic design from a map in Overwatch 2.

A screenshot from a map in Overwatch showing New York City's Grand Central station with a few cars outside

A map set in India is also expected, but we don’t have much information on it yet. Here are the only screenshots of the India map available to this date on Overwatch 2’s official website.

A screenshot from a new Overwatch map showing golden domed pavilions in Indian design with a pool between them filled with floating flowers

A screenshot from a new Overwatch map showing an alleyway in an Indian themed area with a fountain and greenery

Players will get to discover Torbjorn’s workshop in Gothenburg, including the molten lava to refill Torbjorn’s gun.

A screenshot from a new Overwatch map showing a large, brick industrial building with a sign out front with the word "Ironclad" with a gear next to it. Some machinery is scattered in front and inside.

An industrial workshop area from a new Overwatch map is shown. In it, large pillars support the roof with pipes stretching across them and a large vat of molten lava stands in the middle of the vast room

We also got a sneak peek of Toronto under a snowstorm, with more screenshots available in Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 Press Kit.

A screenshot from a new Overwatch map depicting Toronto's King Street Station in the winter time. A bit of snow lines the sidewalks, cars and buildings and three red trees stand tall outside of the main station building.

The inside of a station is shown from a screenshot of a new map in Overwatch. Empty chairs are lined up with a departure screen flashing in front and an open door leading outside with a Canadian flag above it.

Gameplay Changes

Overwatch 2 reinvents the original PvP experience, changing various skills and gameplays. The ambition of Overwatch 2 is to make the fights more intuitive and fast-paced. For instance, Reinhardt is now more aggressive. The German hero can now cancel his charge and use his fire strike twice instead of once in the original Overwatch.

Overwatch 2 seems more like a natural fighting game than a real FPS. Sure, you can play a sharpshooter or carry a minigun. But you can also fight on melee, swing your hammer around more easily or run faster than in the original game. Overwatch 2 cleans the slate and starts all over again. All heroes are now more customizable, and new mechanics are now at the core of the game.

Hero Missions

A screenshot from new Hero Missions in Overwatch. It shows a bluemap of the world with some key locations marked on it

Hero Missions are a brand new game mode coming with Overwatch 2. Players can select from a selection of locations on a map, and travel there to start a Hero Mission. Besides the existing Overwatch maps, new areas will be available to players.

The development team wants to provide players with “hundreds” missions, with new objectives and decors.

A collage of first-person screenshot from Overwatch show many players' perspective while playing different heroes

To increase realism in this new type of experience, not only the team remastered gameplay and maps. They also changed the sunlight conditions to reflect how the sunset, daytime and nighttime changes all over the world.

Jeff Kaplan and his team went the extra mile to improve immersion in Overwatch. They recorded actual shooting sounds in various settings and applied them to Overwatch 2 to increase in-game audio realism. This level of audio detail helps players understand where a shot comes from, judging by the sound it made.

Overwatch 2 is adding plenty of new details to existing maps. If you played Counter-Strike before and after the Dust map rework, you know that details are never meaningless in an FPS.

Side by side screenshots of an open door with some boxes and pipes outside, one labeled Overwatch and one labeled Overwatch 2.

Adding new crates on King’s Row is not the only change to existing Overwatch maps. Sandstorms can now arise in Numbani and Pietra, changing the environmental conditions at any time. Heavy weather can also change the field of view in the middle of a mission. Flankers and heroes with see-through abilities, like Hanzo, will have the edge in this kind of situation.

A first-person view of a player playing Overwatch on a desert city map with a heavy sandstorm brewing and complicating vision

Hero Missions are independent of competitive rankings, so you can play with your friends no matter if they are Bronze or Grand Master.

Hero Progression

A screenshot from Overwatch showcasing a selection screen with leveling options for Junkrat

We got a first preview of the hero talents when Overwatch 2 was announced, but not much since. Jeff Kaplan and his team now reveal their talent system, similar to the ones you can find in RPG. This feature allows players to custom their hero according to their playstyle, and unlock powerful attacks over time.

New Enemies

Players will face a new kind of enemies, also called combat units. These specialized units will be harder to beat than classic enemies, just like the Bastion units in Uprising or the resurrected heroes of Doctor Jamison Junkenstein. The Bomber opens up like a flower to reveal a deadly bomb, meaning he is the primary target whenever he spawns in the battle. These new units feel like Left 4 Dead monsters, where a witch could make your whole squad panic with a simple sob.

A screenshot from Overwatch with an armored villain character posing menacingly in front of a lit-up building

Enemy bodies no longer disappear into the nether. They can now bounce back on walls, and even explode if they were machines.

New Hero Looks

Overwatch heroes Sombra, Reaper, McCree and Pharah are lined up with new cosmetics and looks for 2021

Jeff Kaplan and his team unveiled some new heroes look for Overwatch 2. After Lucio, Mercy, Reinhardt, Winston, Tracer, Genji and Mei, four more heroes show off their new looks.

While players were waiting for Overwatch 2, McCree had time to grow a beard. Widowmaker trades her ponytail for a braid, taking her inspiration from Bond girls. Meanwhile, Pharah upgraded her suit with improved colors and textures. And Reaper now wears a silver mask, instead of his classic bone white one.

Soldier: 76 also gets a beard, but we have no official visual besides his preview from the heroes selection menu.

A screenshot from the hero progression screen from Overwatch with a picture of bearded Soldier:76 in a small box

Overwatch 2 is an ambitious project, with several game modes inside of a single title. The BlizzCon was supposed to shed some light on the future of Overwatch in 2021, and it seems that Blizzard bets everything on Overwatch 2. There is no news regarding the state of the original Overwatch, which is getting ready for a new Overwatch League season.

What’s New In Overwatch 2 & The Future Of Overwatch
Ophelie Castelot
Ophelie is both an esport and journalism lover. She is the former head of the CS:GO section for a major esport website. Ophelie has been analyzing Overwatch ever since its release in 2016.