You’re gonna have to pay to play Overwatch 2’s new story missions.
During Xbox’s Summer Game Fest presentation, we got a tease of Overwatch 2’s story missions. Though the content won’t be arriving until August 6th, a Game Informer story and a developer blog shared details about the new story missions, including one big, unexpected twist: that unlike any new game mode or seasonal event that’s launched after Overwatch 2 went free-to-play, these story missions would not be free.
For $15, you’ll get access to three story missions, a legendary skin for Sojourn, and $10 in Overwatch premium currency. There’s also a premium bundle for $40, which will give you the missions, legendary skins for Sojourn, Cassidy, and Kiriko, $20 of premium currency, and access to the premium battle pass with 20 level skips.
Paying for the story missions unlocks them for you permanently. The Verge has asked Blizzard if all future story missions will be paid content and if you’ll be able to purchase the missions once the season ends. We will update when we receive confirmation.
According to Game Informer, the one story mission its reporter played ran about 30 minutes not including the cutscenes. That’s a meaty chunk of Overwatch, as past story events tend to last between 10 and 15 minutes on average. If all three missions are roughly the same length, you’re looking at almost two hours of story content... but for $15.
In the transition from Overwatch to Overwatch 2, Blizzard ended loot boxes, implemented a battle pass, and went free-to-play. If I play a free-to-play game, my expectation is that, even if I don’t spend any money, I’m still getting largely the same game as anyone else. I may not have the same colorful bells and whistles. It may also take me longer to get new content — kind of like how Overwatch 2 requires you to grind the battle pass for a new hero now unless you pay $10 — but my experience remains fundamentally the same as anyone else’s.
With the cancellation of hero mode, story missions were essentially the last component of what was supposed to justify the “2” in Overwatch 2. And while I’m excited to finally get into what’s going on with my favorite heroes, I’m less thrilled that a fundamental / defining characteristic of the game has been paywalled. If I don’t pay, my experience is no longer the same.