Blizzard Entertainment has put all the rumours to bed and sadly confirmed Overwatch 2 won't be arriving in 2021.
While the writing was already on the wall, we'll have to "watch" a little longer because Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed Overwatch 2 won't release in 2021. Sorry gaming fans, but the much-anticipated hero shooter won't be coming out of the gates this year, meaning the gaming world is struck by another major setback - is this Cyberpunk 2077 all over again?
There were various rumours and theories that the upcoming BlizzConline could involve a surprise drop of Overwatch 2. Although fans had already started debunking this idea, Blizzard has made it official.
Blizzard is hard at work on both Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, but with an ongoing global pandemic, and big games missing their planned release dates across the board, both titles seem to have slipped into 2022. It's important to note neither game had an official release date, so you can't class either Overwatch 2 or Diablo IV as officially delayed. However, considering Blizzard announced the sequel to its beloved 2016 game at BlizzCon 2019, some players are frustrated by the apparent lack of development.
Why won't Overwatch 2 release in 2021?
Discussing the state of Overwatch 2 during an investors' call, Activision Chief Financial Officer Dennis Durkin said, "We expect Blizzard's net booking to grow, given the momentum in World of Warcraft and the other growth initiatives we have in the business. Our outlook does not include Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2 launching in 2021". In a new release, Blizzard reiterated it has made "significant progress" in developing "other key intellectual properties", which the company hopes will "fuel further growth in 2022 and beyond". What's interesting to note is the fact there's still no concrete (or even loose) release date for Overwatch 2.
Perhaps the only silver lining is the fact mobile gamers will be able to make the most of Diablo Immortal later this year. Still, the latest update is a major blow for Overwatch fans who wanted to see where the franchise could've gone next in 2021. Even though 2020 was clearly profitable for Activision Blizzard - thanks mainly to the Call of Duty name - the Blizzard properties undoubtedly struggled. Remember the debacle of Warcraft III: Reforged's release, leading to complaints the game was little more than an unfinished mess that was rushed for release. It's a balancing act to make sure a game is ready to go, while also riding the hype of its release.
What's going on with Overwatch 2 in 2021?
Ultimately, things are moving a lot different from how they did during Overwatch's release. Following an announcement of the game at BlizzCon 2014, Overwatch entered open beta in 2015 and went live to the world in 2016. It's unclear whether Blizzard will take the same route with Overwatch 2, but either way, the timescale is clearly not the same. With Overwatch 2 promised to be a much bigger undertaking - effectively being a spiritual successor - it makes sense that things are taking a little longer. Let's also remember were in the grip of a global pandemic.
At least Blizzard hasn't forgotten about Overwatch 2. Only recently, the Kanezaka Challenge dropped a breadcrumb trailer of teasers for Overwatch 2 and the potential inclusion of a new fighter called Asa Yamagami. To also tide us over, Blizzard teased the announcement of a remastered game similar to Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, further fuelling the fire that a Diablo 2 remaster is in the works to keep us sane until Diablo 4 is eventually released. Unfortunately, Overwatch fans only have the first game to keep them company.
Even if BlizzConline won't include the mythical release of Overwatch 2 in 2021, we're expecting to find out a lot more about the upcoming title on February 19. Hopefully, Overwatch won't be overdone by the time we eventually get to Overwatch 2.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment