In what will no doubt come as a disappointment to many Overwatch fans, Blizzard vice president Jon Spector has announced that there will be no more public betas for Overwatch 2 (opens in new tab) ahead of its launch in October.
"Today marks just 2 months until Overwatch 2's launch!" Spector tweeted. "We know players are eager to dive in and have seen questions about the possibility of a third public beta. While we will continue testing OW2 daily internally, we're not planning any additional public beta tests.
"With all the valuable feedback we received from our alpha and 2 public beta tests, we will be focusing our efforts on launching the best game possible on Oct. 4."
With all the valuable feedback we received from our alpha and 2 public beta tests, we will be focusing our efforts on launching the best game possible on Oct. 4. (2/2)August 4, 2022
The need for a third open beta test is a matter of some debate, at least partly driven by the newest Overwatch 2 hero to be revealed, Junker Queen. Morgan was immediately impressed with the new tank, calling her "immediately fun and scary (opens in new tab)" and "a reminder that nobody does heroes like Overwatch." Nat, on the other hand, was somewhat less enthusiastic, describing the character as "an overdesigned mess (opens in new tab)" because of her eclectic mix of abilities.
There are also concerns about the overall state of the game. Overwatch 2 is going to make some big changes when it rolls out in October including the addition of three brand new characters, major reworks of existing characters, and a move from 6v6 to 5v5 play (opens in new tab)—a major structural overhaul. And, don't forget, it's replacing the original Overwatch entirely, which means no transition period or Plan B for players who don't care for the new style.
"Another beta would help make that transition feel a bit less harsh, allowing players to get used to the new Overwatch 2 rules and regulations while still having the security blanket of Overwatch 1 readily available," our sister site GamesRadar (opens in new tab) argued—ironically, just a few hours before Blizzard announced that there will be no further public beta tests.
"Overwatch isn't a typical FPS title—its allure lies in players' abilities to craft teams out of a variety of hero combinations, and turn disparate abilities into simpatico multiplayer performances. Overwatch is like conducting an orchestra, so any changes to its core features will feel like a string has snapped on the first chair's viola."
On the other hand, it's entirely possible that Blizzard is fully satisfied with the state of the game at this point and simply wants to avoid the headaches involved with running an open beta, dealing with feedback, and actually finishing the game on time. That's a legitimate position, especially if developers view the beta tests as, you know, actually beta tests and not just a free weekend promotion. But it's not without risk: If Overwatch 2 goes seriously sideways at launch, you can be sure that the decision to skip a third beta will come under immediate and intense criticism.
Overwatch 2 is slated to go live on October 4. It will be free to play, and we are hopeful that it will not include $45 skins (opens in new tab).