The Overwatch 2 technical beta started on April 26, and players have already started mining the build for content. One player even made a side-by-side lighting comparison video of the differences between the beta and the original game, which recently took off on Twitter. The two video captures appeared to be nearly identical to each other, which caused the game to be mocked on social media.
To some members of the community, Overwatch 2 is already struggling to carve out a unique identity from its predecessor. One widely-viewed thread on the official Blizzard forum called the game a ‘glorified update,’ and a commenter called the beta ‘server testing.’ It’s not that Blizzard hasn’t made any gameplay changes (they have). The problem is that the community has high expectations for a so-called ‘sequel’ to one of the biggest team-based shooters in the world.
The comparison video only cemented these community fears. After seeing the widely-shared comparison (which sits at almost seven million views at the time of writing), one fan even joked that Overwatch 2 takes place six hours after the first game. Several commenters on both Twitter and Reddit noted that Overwatch 2 looks like it’s been run through Breaking Bad’s “Mexico filter” (a jarringly yellow filter that filmmakers apply to scenes that take place in non-western countries).
All of the reactions are based on beta footage, which means that the current build of Overwatch 2 is not considered final. The developers still have plenty of time between now and its 2023 launch date to make significant changes to the game. A developer blog states that the beta “focuses primarily on gameplay and balance as well as stability” and that all the other incomplete features are a “work in progress.” The blog specifically called out the shifting daytime conditions as a feature that isn’t being tested publically.
Even so, Overwatch fans have plenty of reasons to be cynical about the game’s future. The studio has been vague about the exact release date.Overwatch’s executive producer left for “some time off,” and support players were left cold by the gameplay reworks in Overwatch 2. On top of concerns about the game itself, Activision Blizzard itself has had massive culture problems that keep making headlines. Many employees were fired or resigned, and there’s a growing list of entities that have publically expressed their disapproval of Activision Blizzard (which recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $US18 ($25) million). The general negative sentiment about the game, its developer, and its parent company has chipped away at any patience the community might otherwise have for the beloved franchise.
The Overwatch 2 beta will end on May 17.