Overwatch screenshot of Genji fighting ninjas in the now-canceled PvE mode

[Update #2]: Bad news, I'm afraid. It looks like Overwatch 2's downsized PvE content will be locked behind a $15 purchase.

[Update]: Overwatch 2's Season 6: Invasion preview shows off the Story Missions and new Flashpoint game mode

In an effort to make Overwatch 2 as impressive as it could possibly be, Blizzard essentially decided to put the original game on pause. And so, despite its immense popularity, the last few years of Overwatch saw no real content updates outside of the occasional balance tweak attempting to make things feel fresh again.

Unsurprisingly, this decision did not go over well with the community, though there was still a certain amount of optimism surrounding the whole thing as Overwatch 2's PvE mode sounded awesome! It promised to add new storylines and dialogue options for a whole bunch of fan-favorite heroes, plenty of co-op focused shooty action which is always a good time, and even a fair bit of replayability thanks to unique talents for each hero. What more could you really ask for?

Unfortunately, that didn't exactly pan out. Due to the various problems within Blizzard that reached a boiling point around Overwatch 2's release, the promised PvE content ended up being postponed. As such, instead of being a massive game-changer and a true sequel to the original, Overwatch 2's launch ended up feeling like a slightly more ambitious update. Yet the sense of optimism still remained as the PvE campaign was surely just around the corner - Blizzard simply needed a bit more time to get it polished up and ready to go, right?

I'd love to tell you this is where the story reaches a turning point and things end with a 'happily ever after', but I'm afraid it's quite the opposite. According to a small section of the recent Developer Chat, the planned PvE content has been now severely downgraded in both scope and quantity, and the previously teased talents have been tossed aside entirely. So if you were hoping for a grand co-op campaign that will finally advance Overwatch's lore from the standstill it has been at since the very start, I'm afraid it looks like you're out of luck.

Original announcement trailer showing off some of the planned PvE gameplay

"Things rarely go as planned in game development. We struggled to find our footing with the Hero Mission experience early on. Scope grew. We were trying to do too many things at once and we lost focus," reads the message from Overwatch 2's Game Director Aaron Keller. "The team built some really great things, including hero talents, new enemy units and early versions of missions, but we were never able to bring together all of the elements needed to ship a polished, cohesive experience."

"Our players had high expectations for it, but we no longer felt like we could deliver it. We needed to make an incredibly difficult decision, one we knew would disappoint our players, the team, and everyone looking forward to Hero Missions. The Overwatch team understands this deeply - this represented years of work and emotional investment. They are wonderful, incredibly talented people and truly have a passion for our game and the work that they do."

The one bit of good news is that story-focused PvE missions will still be coming, albeit spread piecemeal throughout the seasons. What exactly these missions will look like, nobody currently knows, but I can only imagine they're going to follow the usual Archives formula and be 10-15 minute romps through pre-set scenarios with a couple of difficulty levels to help increase the replay value. A nice bit of fun every now and then, but hardly a replacement for a proper campaign.

Once we get more information about these PvE missions I'll make sure to let you know, but regardless of what they might contain this is definitely a very sad moment for Overwatch as a whole. And on that somber note, I'll leave you with the aforementioned Developer Chat: