Last October, Blizzard released Overwatch 2, the sequel to its highly popular 2016 video game Overwatch. The game was instantly popular and most people agreed it was a worthy successor. It got overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and had over 35 million players within its first month.
Things haven't been all rosy for the first-person shooter game, though.
During its latest quarterly earnings report, Activision Blizzard revealed that the game's engagement had dropped during the year's second quarter. Usually, that would be a cause of concern for a video game publisher but Blizzard isn't bothered.
Overwatch 2's executive producer, Jared Neuss, recently sat for an interview with IGN. During the interview, Neuss said that the declining player engagement is not unusual for a game like Overwatch 2. He explained that the game's free-to-play status exposes it to such an occurrence.
In his words, "The declining stuff is basically, we are a free-to-play game and it is very easy to both come to the game and check it out, and to leave to check out other stuff. We see a normal ebb and flow of players. There's nothing concerning to me or the team about any of that."
Neuss said these words just before Blizzard launched Overwatch 2's sixth season on August 10. The new season, titled Invasion, features new story modes, new maps, and a new hero. But then, it is not free-to-play like previous versions of the game. Instead, players will have to fork over $15 for access.
On the same day as Invasion's release, Blizzard also launched Overwatch 2 on Steam. Unfortunately, players' reaction is far from encouraging. Within 48 hours of its release, the game became the worst-rated Steam game of all time with an aggregate score of 1.09 out of 10.
Why did it get such a low score? The answer is simple: it was the target of a review bomb. Among other things, fans were displeased with Blizzard's decision to remove the PvE content and postpone it to 2024. Blizzard had originally a PvE mode for the game but then decided to remove it so the game could have more story missions.
Fans were also angry at the company's monetization drive, which saw it lock a bunch of features behind a paywall. There is no telling whether Blizzard can fix this damage.
However, it is certain that the publisher has gotten many things wrong with this release and will have to go back to the drawing board and, at the very least, try to fix these mistakes.
By the way, Blizzard recently released a short anime series that explores the Omnic Crisis. The trailer provides a better backstory of the Overwatch Universe and is available on YouTube.