As the fifth season of the Overwatch League approaches, Blizzard is finally revealing more information about Overwatch 2. The Overwatch 2 team said in a developer update that closed alpha testing will begin today, with a closed beta to follow in April. The closed alpha will be open to a select group of people, including Overwatch League pros, while the closed beta will be open to a larger group of people. You can request access to the beta by signing up at PlayOverwatch.com, though you may want to wait a little while because the site is having issues.
Surprisingly, neither the closed alpha nor the beta will have any PvE content, instead focusing solely on PvP. “We’re modifying our release approach by divorcing Overwatch 2’s PvP and PvE experiences from one another to get new PvP content into your hands sooner, while we continue to develop on PvE,” according to the Overwatch blog. This could suggest that when Overwatch 2 does come out, it will be released in pieces, with PvP arriving first. Halo Infinite had a similar release strategy, with several gameplay modes not available at launch.
Suits, merger news, layoffs, difficulties to attract personnel, and several delays have made news about Overwatch 2 alarmingly rare. Blizzard has exposed several features of the game to the public, notably its new game mode Push and the new 5v5 format. But, other from some new concept art, little has been revealed about a game that will be seen for the first time by the general public when the new Overwatch League season begins in May. Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller recognized the lack of communication, stating that “more constant updates on all things Overwatch 2” would begin with the announcement of the closed alpha and beta testing.
Blizzard has revealed that Sojourn, the game’s 33rd character and first Black female hero, will be playable in the closed beta, along with information about the new Push mode, hero reworks, and the 5v5 format. Overwatch has long been chastised for lacking a Black female protagonist. The lack of a Black female hero in a game that clearly embraces the diversity and multi-nationality of its characters and includes four sentient robots, a talking gorilla scientist, and a violent hamster riding a machine gun-equipped hamster ball seems like an omission. Jeff Kaplan, the former Overwatch 2 game director, stated before his retirement from Blizzard in 2021 that Sojourn would not be published until Overwatch 2. That day appears to have arrived at long last.
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