Overwatch Beta Returning In February With New Mode

It’s been forty-odd days since the Overwatch [official site] closed beta went offline. Forty-odd days in the desert, is more like it. While Blizzard is off “addressing player feedback” and “adjusting the balance,” we’re all stuck playing games that have actually released. Boring.

And if you’ve been frothing at the mouth waiting for Overwatch’s return, you’ll have to tap your foot a bit longer: the FPS’s beta won’t be back until February. But there’s good reason.

It feels a bit weird to discuss a game’s beta missing its “launch date,” but that is technically what’s happened here. The Overwatch beta was originally supposed to relaunch sometime this month, but Blizzard made what they call an “easy decision” to push it back.

Why? Because they’re also adding a new game mode and new maps to the mix. Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan explains:

“After looking through all of the feedback from last year, one of the things we noticed players consistently mentioning was their desire for more game modes in Overwatch, in addition to Point Capture and Payload. Without getting into specifics, we are working on a new game mode. And we’re very excited about it! And we have some great new maps to support it, too, but we need a little more time to get everything just right.”

We’ll keep you updated when we know more. In the meantime, if you’d like to read Philippa’s exhaustive thoughts on the beta, head here.


  1. Keios says:

    The return of the Overwatch beta AND XCOM 2 both in February? I’d better buy my wife one hell of a Valentine’s gift now to apologise for how badly she’s going to be neglected.

  2. Kitsunin says:

    Maybe they could let different people in for the return? Spread the love a ‘lil…? Birthday present…? Fine, fine, patience or whatever.

  3. Stevostin says:

    Some people are actually excited by this ? I have to say that between the character design and the sluggish gameplay video I was wondering if Blizzard was about to commit their first true failure.

    • Askis says:

      Different people have different tastes in videogames.
      Quite a shocking revelation, I know :P

    • Evil Pancakes says:

      Blizzard’s first real failure would be vanilla Diablo 3. It’s a great game now, not so much between release and the Reaper of Shadow expansion.
      I’ll reserve judgement on Overwatch myself, but everyone who has actually played it seems to be very impressed with it.

      • Burningvillage says:

        I would say Warcraft 3 was their first failure. It’s helped out moba and tower defence but the game itself was completely forgettable.

        • Xzi says:

          Nonsense. Warcraft 3 TFT was the pinnacle of Blizzard’s achievements in RTS. Starcraft 2 is ultimately forgettable by comparison.

          • Arkayjiya says:

            Nonsense. SC2 is the best RTS following this specific formula that has ever been produced. I mean I loved WC3 and played it for more than ten years, and even now I restart it again regularly. But SC2 blew WC3 out of the water as far as gameplay goes. I did not expect it too, WC3 was probably in my top3 favourite game of all time and I didn’t feel strongly about the SC franchise but SC2 is one of the most refined jewel I’ve ever played.

          • Xzi says:

            Nah, taking away creeps and heroes just made it less dynamic and more boring. Felt like a big step backward to mass balls of units crashing against one another and less emphasis on keeping individual units alive.

        • Stevostin says:

          I can’t come with any universal criteria for a RTS, but I can say that WC3 is by and large the one that produced constantly the most entertaining replays I’ve seen in a game of that kind.

          Anyway my point was entirely about public success. WC3 was a public success. I was wondering if maybe Overwatch would fail to interest a lot of people (hard for me to see why the average PC gamer would play this). Maybe I miss the obvious here, I don’t know.

          • Arkayjiya says:

            Well to answer your criticism, the relevant question would rather be: why in hell would people not be interested in it?

    • Assirra says:

      Some people?
      Overwatch hype is real for about everyone that played it.
      Even better, it is hype through word of mouth, not some PR trailers.

      • Xzi says:

        Agreed. The gameplay is top-notch, one of the best-designed FPS games I’ve played in ever. I’ve been critical of Blizzard’s other recent releases, so I wasn’t expecting much when I got invited to play the stress test. I was a believer after playing for just an hour or so, I pre-ordered after five.

        • Kirasath says:


        • Stevostin says:

          Ok but care to explain what’s good in it ? Specifically character design seems totally unable to attract anyone of the average age of a PC gamer (closer to 30 than 20). Gunplay is clearly unsatisfying. I am sure ability play and map design is good (it’s Blizzard) but that’s not a lot of asset especially in an overcrowded genre. What am I missing ?

          Note: but maybe I missed with HOTS which imo is clearly ‘like a MOBA, but not as good”. Boring rythm, lack of punch, lack of character. BTW I suspect the audience is way smaller than DOTA2 or LOL and that it’s not going to change any time soon.

          • Kitsunin says:

            The characters have diverse body types and interesting themes, pulling from fun stereotypes while still managing to feel pretty unique. The gunplay is satisfying as hell, trust me as somebody who has actually played it, but because it isn’t the focus of the game (teamplay and abilities are) it maybe doesn’t look that way in videos. You’re missing a shitload.

            HoTS is not lacking rhythm compared to other MOBAs, “like a MOBA, but way more fun” would be a far better descriptor, not being bogged down with so much of the shit in a game like DOTA2 or especially LoL. And of course its audience is way smaller, it came to the party way too late, even if it were the greatest game in the history of the universe it would still take it a long time if ever to catch up.

          • Stevostin says:

            There is what’s left to taste and there is what can be objectified. Yesterday I searched for figures and it seems HotS is already Blizzard’s first big failure, with numbers roughly at the level of Smite, maybe 5% of Dota2 and even less of LoL. There is no way on earth it even becomes “significant” on the MOBA scene or maybe I can’t see it.

            Define a game with good gun play. Again there is what’s left to taste but I wonder what real numbers will be. There seems to be more room than on the MOBA front, but not a lot more. We’ll see.

          • Stevostin says:

            Hmm wait that’s unfair. I should define it myself, I mentionned it first. Good gunplay means gun that are inherently satisfying to shoot whith. That includes both gameplay features of the weapon and the illusion of the physicality of the gun (weight, recoil, impacts, etc.). To me (and every FPS player I know off) Overwatch is 101 crappy gunplay, big clunky immaterial thing that shoot “balls of whatever”. I can’t think of any FPS that worked with that kind of gunplay on PC. The closer to this is maybe Borderlands and Borderlands still had a way better gunplay than what’s seen on overwatch videos.

          • Assirra says:

            By your logic all the arena shoots like Quake and UT have no good gunplay because a lot of those shoot “balls of whatever”

  4. sosolidshoe says:

    Calling this a “beta” is a bit of a stretch – it’s a cynical marketing exercise. But hey, maybe this time they’ll prove me wrong and let in folk other than game site staff and their pet youtubers…

    • Arkayjiya says:

      I disagree. Blizzard’s beta have actually been serious about testing and cooperating with players to make the game better and less bugged, especially these past few years. That’s why titles like SC2 has super extended beta while D3 had a super limited one (but RoS a little larger after all the backslash, although never close from being as open as SC2 or hearthstone)

    • Xzi says:

      Actually they are still working on adding new stuff and improving existing features before launch, so it is the very definition of beta.

  5. Raoul Duke says:

    This seems to be another one of these not especially good or interesting games that RPS publishes an insane number of articles about. Interesting to compare the number of articles about this to the number about, say, Dirty Bomb.

    • Xzi says:

      Because Dirty Bomb is ultimately forgettable by comparison. I don’t know what else to say about that. The best analogy I can give you for Overwatch if you haven’t played it is that it’s the Rocket League of FPS games.