Update (3/19/22) – Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch 2‘s first closed beta on PC will begin on April 26, 2022.
The beta’s date was confirmed by Blizzard on Twitter alongside a reminder that those interested can still signup for a chance to try out the game early.
Blizzard is changing up its release plans for Overwatch 2 in a major way. Rather than ship the PvP and PvE portions of the shooter together, Blizzard will decouple the package to get the Overwatch 2 PvP to players sooner rather than later.
In a new update — the first in a series of updates for the sake of more regular communication with fans — Blizzard announced that Overwatch 2 PvP will be entering closed alpha testing later today, with a beta planned for late April.
We look forward to building a new era of Overwatch 2 together pic.twitter.com/CadWUwlIxh
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) March 10, 2022
The closed alpha is only open to Blizzard employees, Overwatch League pros, and a few other select groups. The late April PvP beta, however, will be available for PC players in all regions. While it will be a closed beta, it’s a chance for a larger group of testers to play the PvP mode and provide feedback to the developers.
As part of the beta, several of the changes coming to Overwatch 2 will be available for testing. This includes the new hero Sojourn, the new game mode Push, 5v5 Multiplayer, the new Hero reworks, and four new maps.
Players can sign up to request access to the Overwatch 2 PvP Beta 1 on https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/beta/. More players (and hopefully platforms) will get an opportunity to beta test the PvP in upcoming beta phases.
Overwatch 2 PvP Beta Screenshots
Overwatch 2 is a sequel to 2016’s critically-acclaimed competitive shooter. The plans for Overwatch 2 are somewhat arcane as Blizzard announced big changes to the multiplayer which will affect both Overwatch 1 and 2. A new PvE story mode will be exclusive to the sequel.
Overwatch 2 was announced at BlizzCon in 2019, but according to an IGN investigation, the announcement was premature with internal sources saying Overwatch 2 was still years away. The news that Blizzard will split the Overwatch 2 package into PvP and PvE suggests that if the company continued to release the two together the game would take longer to release.
But with PvP becoming a separate release, Blizzard looks to be targeting an earlier launch date for the hero-shooter sequel. The strategy mirrors other recent games like Halo Infinite, which split the main campaign from the free-to-play multiplayer mode.
Whether this means we’ll see Overwatch 2 in 2022 remains up in the air, but for now, many fans will get to go hands-on with the long-awaited shooter sooner than expected.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.