New 'Overwatch 2' heroes will be locked behind a battle pass

You'll need to grind to unlock playable characters, or maybe even pay to snag them faster.

Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch 2 is just a few weeks away and more details are trickling out about what to expect from the sequel. It’s been known for a while that there will be three new heroes at launch, the first fresh faces for the series in over two and a half years. But there will be significant changes to how Blizzard introduces new playable characters — you’ll need to unlock them through a battle pass.

“Addressing some incomplete info posted early about our Overwatch 2 Battle Pass — we'll be sharing all details ahead of launch, but want to confirm that new Overwatch 2 heroes will be available on the free track of the Battle Pass,” Overwatch commercial leader and vice-president Jon Spector wrote on Twitter. Blizzard plans to add three or four heroes every year on a seasonal basis after launch.

Spector was referring to details that someone apparently released too early about the battle pass. The leak also indicated that the next support hero will be named Kiriko. Per Reset Era, a description for the Watchpoint Pack, a bundle that includes access to Overwatch and a bunch of perks for the free-to-play sequel, noted that those who buy the premium version of the battle pass “automatically receive access to Overwatch’s latest hero Kiriko!” The description has since been edited to remove that information.

It’s not uncommon for free-to-play games to paywall new characters or at least not make them available immediately to everyone. Valorant and Apex Legends take that approach.

This is a major shift for Overwatch, though. Blizzard made every character available to all players at the same time in the original game. Players are free to swap characters mid-game to counter enemy compositions, something that isn’t possible in the likes of Apex and Valorant. New heroes tend to be overpowered at first as well. Newcomer Junker Queen has been a dominant presence in the Overwatch League in recent weeks for that very reason (the league moved to an early build of Overwatch 2 this season).

Gating new heroes behind battle pass progression means those who don’t have the time to grind to unlock them might quickly find themselves at a disadvantage. It's unclear whether players will be able to pay to level up the battle pass, as they can in the likes of Fortnite and Fall Guys, but it seems those who buy the premium battle pass will gain instant access to at least one of the fresh faces.

Blizzard will reveal more details about how the Overwatch 2 battle pass and character unlocks work in the coming weeks. The game will arrive and replace the current version of Overwatch entirely on October 4th.