Free to play hero shooter sequel Overwatch 2 finally arrives on PC on October 4th, and today Blizzard have officially unveiled new hero Kiriko along with details of season one. They’ve also detailed how the game’s free and premium battle passes will work, and what you can expect in each. Watch the trailer below for some new Overwatch and pretend like it’s 2016 again. Just more grindy.
Another trailer was shown during today’s ID@Xbox livestream at Tokyo Game Show that debuted Kiriko. She’s a Support, and Blizzard are promising to share more about her next week. The fox-eared hero enters the game as part of Overwatch 2’s new seasonal format. Blizzard are switching the game to a nine-week season rotation that they say will bring new heroes, maps, modes and premium cosmetics – your standard live-service game package, basically. You can expect season two to start on December 6th with a new tank hero. There'll be timed events during each season, such as season one's Junkenstein: Wrath Of The Bride. Don't expect any PvE until 2023.
Last week, I reported on the leaked animation footage that showed Kiriko for the first time, along with Blizzard’s response to fan furore over the game’s new battle pass. Blizzard have now put out an explainer and FAQ on the official Overwatch site, which you read here. Players who own Overwatch are being given Kiriko as a freebie, but otherwise she’ll be unlockable via the free battle pass and automatically unlocked if you own the premium pass. Sojourn and Junker Queen, playable in the betas earlier this year, will be unlocked for everyone when season one kicks off.
Blizzard say there are more than 80 tiers in Overwatch 2’s free battle pass in season one. Twenty of those tiers feature some kind of unlockable McGuffin, ranging from Kiriko to epic skins, a weapon charm, a highlight intro, and extra stuff such as emotes, player icons and victory poses. There’ll also be eight Prestige Tier titles that can only be earnt if you complete the whole pass. The premium battle pass includes all the free pass stuff, but you’ll get Kiriko straight away and have a 20% XP boost. There’s legendary and epic skins, the new mythic skins, play of the game intros, and more weapon charms, emotes, poses, etc.
Overwatch players are still pretty dischuffed about the whole battle pass thing, though. One look at PlayOverwatch's mentions on Twitter is, well, eye-opening. It reveals so much criticism of the battle passes, from cries of pay to win to complaints about the grind before the game's even dropped. There are quite a few accusations that Blizzard are money-hungry too. At least people seem to like Kiriko.
Activision Blizzard are still mired in legal issues and reports alleging workplace discrimination, harassment and poor working conditions. A surprise announcement in January this year saw the company bought by Microsoft for $68.7 billion (£59 billion), which means all its franchises including Overwatch will fall under the conglomerate’s wing. Also in January, Blizzard Entertainment head Mike Ybarra said he was committed to fostering change within the company. I didn't realise he meant introducing battle passes.
Overwatch 2 enters a bold new free to play era on October 4th, playable on PC via Battle.net. Blizzard are flogging a Watchpoint Pack for £35, which grants the premium battle pass, skins, and enough in-game currency to buy the next two battle passes. It also includes Overwatch: Legendary Edition but, if you’re interested in that, you probably already own it. Tumbleweeds much?