BlizzCon 2019 Overwatch 2 Panel Transcript


Jeff: So, story has been requested from us a lot, like we get a lot of comments; and we think it’s awesome like you have all followed the story so far, you’ve been following it for some time, and you’re ready for more; and we are ready to deliver.

Now I’m gonna do a quick recap on, like where the story is at right now. Obviously, this is since the original game. The original game started with Overwatch being shut down. Overwatch was this international peacekeeping force. The UN issued this thing called the Petras Act, and that shut Overwatch down. Then because of the absence of Overwatch, and the heroism that they brought to the world, new threats were able to arise; and all sorts of bad stuff started to happen.

There was the Uprising in London, there was Talon, like Talon really became much more of a threat and gained in power in this sort of new vacuum that we had. But our good buddy Winston had the idea to initiate the recall; and what the recall is about is, he knows it’s illegal to reach out to all of the Overwatch agents, the former Overwatch agents; and basically say to them hey it’s time to get back together.

Like now’s the time the world needs us now more than ever. So, then we had a series of animated shorts, and it was really fun to explore these, and kind of go on this journey to see how different heroes reacted to the recall. There was, for example, in Honor and Glory — Reinhardt in the most steadfast way said: “I must answer the call.” Well, Brigitte was sort of begging him not to at a certain point. Whereas Mei, who was working at Eco-Point: Antarctica, she wasn’t necessarily a hero. She was more of just a scientist at the time, but Winston’s recall really inspired her into heroism — which was great. Then there was that last BlizzCon we showed Reunion with McCree, and McCree very strange reaction like okay, Winston called me back, but I’m gonna bring Echo back instead.

Aaron: Yeah, McCree kind of pieced out at that moment. Who knows where the guy went, what he’s doing around the world, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of it.

Jeff: We might see more of McCree. I didn’t see him in Zero Hour. The name of the movie we showed today, by the way, is Zero Hour. The Paris attacks.

So I didn’t see him there, so I’m wondering what’s up with McCree. Zero hour that brings us up to today. So Paris is under attack. It’s null sector again, but it’s not the null sector from back in King’s Row. This is an all-out attack on the entire world. The good news is, joining Winston in Paris were some of the members of Overwatch. Some responded to the call. They’re back. They’re ready for action. But the world is attacked, and the world is under strife; and you as a player are gonna get to take the place of our heroes and see what the next chapter holds for Overwatch. We really hope you play that demo today. It will show you just kicking off where we’re at.

Now the coolest part about getting to do story missions is something that we hear often from you is that you love our cinematics. Thank you, all. They’re made by a group called Story and Franchise Development. We get to work with some of the most talented animators, producers, directors. We are really, really lucky to work with them. Every one of our story missions will get a cinematic introduction, and we’ll get a cinematic outro. So you’ll see that in the Rio de Janeiro demo that we have. Now I got to give a warning to everybody. The outro is a placeholder for the actual movie. I will just say this. I’m gonna give a spoiler. Right?

Aaron: Oh, no!

Jeff: So, at the very end when Mei’s famous line at the very end — “LuciooO!!!” — Lucio doesn’t actually die. That’s all you needed to know. But we’re excited for the cinematic storytelling that we get to do, you finally get to spend a lot of time with these heroes. So in a story mission, it’s very curated by us. Like we get to pick which heroes you’re gonna play in a story mission, because we’re trying to tell a particular story. So in Rio, for example, we’ve got Mei, we’ve got Reinhardt, Lucio, and Tracer. Those are the heroes that you can adventure with.

Aaron: Yeah, I think what’s really interesting about story missions, and even with hero missions all of the cooperative gameplay that we’re trying to do is — one of our goals is to bring a lot of the fast paced action that you get in Overwatch PvP where you’re using all of your heroes abilities, your comboing abilities with other heroes. You have a lot of strategic decisions that you make with your teammates. We’re trying to bring that to the PvE side of the game, or the side where you play vs AI; and it’s difficult to do because of the fast paced nature of it. So that cinematic storytelling that Jeff was just talking about, that gives us the freedom to create more of those spaces. We can pull the story out to the cinematics, and allow the gameplay to really flow as you’re playing through any of the missions.

One thing that we’re experimenting with — because, you know — Overwatch 2 still has a ways to go. It’s a game that’s actively in development, we’re working extremely hard on it right now. One of the experiments that we’re doing right now is we’re trying to give you some choice in what hero you can play in these story missions. I don’t mean like choice between the 4 heroes, what I mean is for example in Rio, both Mercy and Genji are present on the mission as well. Wouldn’t it be cool in this mission if you had a choice not only between Reinhardt, Tracer, Lucio, Mei, but also like maybe if I wanted to play Mercy instead or Genji. So we’re trying that out right now, like obviously it doesn’t work for all heroes because like Roadhog wouldn’t make a lot of sense helping the team out in Rio; but we’ll see how that goes, we’ll keep you guys updated. I think it could be pretty cool.

Now another new development that you’ll experience when you play the demo today, is that we’ve added an item system to the story missions. Now this is not an item system, it’s not like Diablo where like loot is going to be popping out of robots, and we’re all looking at the ground picking up gold, and that kind of thing; and it’s not like WoW where we’re waiting for the boss at the end of the mission and we’re going to kill it, and then Aaron’s going to roll on my drop.

The item system I would say is more equivalent to what you see in like a battle-royale game — if you guys have played Apex: Legends or PUBG. It’s a temporary item pick-up that you have for the length of that mission, and you’ll find these at different moments throughout the mission; and they have different abilities so were looking at here’s a healing station that’s actually of epic quality so there’s different quality levels to them too. But like Aaron might prefer the Corrosive Grenade.

Aaron: Yeah. Let’s say you’re playing Lucio, you might not want to pick up the healing station, you’re already healing everybody in your party. So something like the Corrosive Grenade which helps you deal extra damage to your enemies is a really good choice.

Jeff: Another item that we added was this thing called the Barrier Fence. This is like a cylindrical barrier, kind of similar to how Winston’s work. You drop it down, it sits in place. This one’s been super awesome, like if your groups having a lot of trouble and people need to be revived, you can drop the barrier fence down and it gives you an opportunity to revive them. We hope that the item system adds some variety to the story missions and also lets you accommodate for the type of player you are; and gives you some options when you’re playing the mission.

Aaron: Yep.

Jeff: There’s also in the Rio demo there’s a very rare item, kind of, I want to say hidden, but it’s not really hidden?

Aaron: You’re giving it all away?

Jeff: I’m giving it all away. See if you can get it. Ok cool.


1. Push & New Maps2. Story Missions3. Hero Missions4. Progression System
5. Hero Visuals
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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