OVERWATCH 2 was announced this Friday at BlizzCon 2019, several days after a number of image leaks gave fans hope that the sequel was on its way. The announcement began with a somber recap of Blizzard’s previous animated shorts and ended with an inspiring “I am with you” from Mei. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s Game Director, then took to the stage sporting a D.Va hoodie and introduced the next chapter in Overwatch’s journey…
And with it, raised some interesting questions…
Firstly, who’s the newbie?
Towards the start of the animated short, Winston is seen looking at an old photo. From previous shorts, we know that he does this a lot. What is interesting about this instance, however, is the inclusion of an unannounced character. We now know this character as Sojourn, thanks to a Gameplay Reveal Trailer shown afterward. She is the game’s first Canadian hero and appears to have an import place in Overwatch lore. We see her front-and-center in the photo, amongst big names such as Ana Amari and Jack Morrison. Much like them, Sojourn is sporting an Overwatch Blue overcoat, logo emblazoned on her shoulder. Jeff Kaplan makes an explicit comment stating that they will not be discussing Sojourn any further at the moment, but we can learn a few things from the Gameplay Reveal Trailer. She’s sporting a Canadian Maple Leaf on her sleeve instead of the Overwatch Logo and is shown to be involved with the new-and-possibly-improved Overwatch team.
Secondly, what’s with the new threads?
As you may have already noticed, Overwatch appears to have received a face-lift. Every character in the animated short has changed visually, some more drastically than others. Reinhardt has grown his hair out, now wearing a magnificent beard. Genji is also now wearing clothes, softening his appearance. One thing I found interesting was Tracer’s new appearance; she’s leaning away from her aviation-inspired look. The RAF Roundel patches on her sleeves have been replaced by “TRCR” logos and her jacket has lost its’ “leather aviator” vibe with its lack of shearling collar and khaki tone.
Thirdly, what about those new moves?
The announcement trailer also shows us exciting changes to the Overwatch Roster’s move-set. For example, Genji still has his Dragonblade ability and appears to still be able to deflect almost any projectile. Similarly, Tracer can still blink and recall. However, the announcement trailer also shows signs of several updated and new abilities in play and gives fans an exciting hint at what they can look forward to in Overwatch 2. Brigitte and Reinhardt interlock shields, creating a larger barrier to protect the Overwatch team. Reinhardt’s Earthshatter also seems more circular, rather than the cone of shattering it currently has. Mei also appears to have a projectile-based freezing attack rather than the sharp icicles she currently utilizes. While much of this is most likely just to enhance the cinematic thrill of the announcement trailer, with the amount of information and detail Blizzard crams into their shorts, it is not completely impossible to think that these ability changes could be representative of gameplay.
Lastly, a hint at gameplay developments?
In the Overwatch 2 announcement trailer, we also see more of Echo and appear to have her confirmed as a playable character. Her appearance in the announcement trailer offers a hint at what players can hope to see in Overwatch 2. Mercy’s Ultimate Ability rework introduced Overwatch players to the first instance of fully-manipulable flight in the game. While several characters have movement-based abilities, such as Genji’s dash and D.Va’s thrusters, these are always directional-based. Other than Sigma and Zenyatta’s levitation, no current Overwatch hero has flight as their primary movement. The announcement trailer adds to Echo’s short appearance at the end of Reunion, in which she also doesn’t use the ground, to suggest that she may be much more flight-based than any other hero we have seen before.
Finally, it is important to note that Reinhardt continues to be the best character Blizzard has ever created. His natural delivery of “Ice to meet you” when greeting Mei has been criminally overlooked.