Overwatch 2's Aaron Keller says Season 6 is stacked with content by design

Overwatch 2's Aaron Keller says Season 6 is stacked with content by design
Images via Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


10th Aug 2023 20:00

Overwatch 2’s Season 6 is labelled Overwatch: Invasion and launches with the largest new content offering of any of its seasons under the live-service model that debuted alongside the sequel.

From three PvE Story missions to a new hero to an entirely new game mode with two of the largest competitive maps, never has more new content been injected into the game.

According to the leading developers in Overwatch 2’s Team 4, this is not a coincidence. 

Finding the audience’s appetite

A fight ensues on Flashpoint
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Overwatch is hardly a new IP, and therefore, you can expect the development team to be well-acquainted with its audience - looking back to eight years of feedback ever since the launch of the beta in 2015.

However, with the launch of Overwatch 2, a fundamental aspect of the development cycle changed as the hero shooter turned into a live-service offering, rolling out content on a seasonal schedule.

Under the new model, with a now free-to-play customer base, and fresh opportunities for creativity, the product has to be recalibrated to the player’s appetite.

Ten months into the voyage with Overwatch 2, Blizzard Entertainment continues its trial and error with different seasonal formats.

In comparison to the relatively modest volume of Season 5, this sixth season packs much higher content density for different types of player profiles from casual, non-competitive players with PvE to new challenges for the hardcore crowd in a new game mode, hero, and various leaderboard challenges.

During a developer Q&A, the development team went into detail, outlining that the increased content volume for Season 6 was a deliberate decision.

One of the things we are trying to experiment with is: What does good and exciting look for a season in Overwatch?” Executive Producer Jared Neuss shared.

"Season 6 is us saying ‘What if we stacked a bunch of really exciting stuff all in one moment in time and tried to break through the noise of every other season launch, game release, and everything else that’s happening in the industry."

Game Director of Overwatch 2, Aaron Keller, echoed the sentiment, explaining: "We stacked a bunch of content on Overwatch 2: Invasion. We did because we were experimenting with different seasonal structures. One of the things we really wanted to try was: What if we just put all these big things that are awesome additions and different expressions of the game together.

A second push before the anniversary

According to Keller, the development team did not intentionally shelve content for Season 6 in order to make this release work but rather planned for content to be ready in time for this season’s release.

We have a value of not holding content. I don’t think we would feel good building something and then holding it for six months or a year and find the perfect slot in the cycle to release it,” Argued Keller, stating that the free-2-play industry moves too quickly for such strategies.

Starting with “Heroes Can”, which ran both as a pre-roll ad on Twitch as well as an ad slot in theatres, Blizzard started a new marketing push for the game. The team released a new cinematic short for its Overwatch 2 hero Sojourn, as well as the Enigma video with John Cena.

Despite the additional investments and increased stakes, Neuss says there is no anxiety about it in the team. He concluded, “This really isn’t a ‘there is so much riding on this’-thing for us. It’s really about what does a good season look like."

For more on Overwatch 2, check out Aaron Keller's comments about lessons learned since launch, as well as a discussion about heroes launching more often than every other season.

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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