With Blizzcon 2021 less than a month out, what better time than now to have a discussion about what we could expect to see out of Activision-Blizzard‘s yearly showcase. This year is going to be particularly somber due to current events and how this will be all online. In spite of this, there is also that lingering feeling from previous Blizzcon events and certain titles that is going to make this year’s show probably their most important yet.
If you are someone who does watch the Blizzcon events, you know that recent years were… not really the best they could hope for. Between the debacle reveal of Diablo Immortal, “Don’t you guys have Cell Phones?,” the fallout of the Hong Kong Controversy, the “apology” that followed it, and the aftermath of Warcraft III: Reforged, there isn’t a whole lot of confidence to go around. Still, if there was a time to try and reset the board, this would probably be the best time to do it when you don’t have a live audience reacting to it.
What could we see from the event next month? And will it be enough to finally put Activision-Blizzard in a positive light? Let’s go over the recent rumors.
Overwatch 2: Delay Incoming?
The current development for the upcoming sequel for Overwatch is one that many fans were looking forward to. With the game celebrating its five-year anniversary this year, the game itself is going to get itself a nice update that will come with a nice pool of new playable heroes, more maps, and a story mode to enjoy.
However, since the announcement of Overwatch 2 back at Blizzcon 2019, development wasn’t really a high topic of discussion. We could contribute that to the current pandemic, but it doesn’t help how the game felt like it was rather stagnant in comparison to previous years. So much so that we only had one new hero in the form of Echo, and that was it.
Many contributed that to how “Overwatch 2 is in development so when it comes, we’ll have a wide range of new characters to enjoy!” And while it does seem likely that we could see a new trailer for Overwatch 2 and/or get a teaser for a new hero, many are unsure about “When?” we will get our hands on the game.
One rather prominent leaker within the community did make a past mention of this during a recent stream. This being how the development of Overwatch 2 has been coming along slowly from what we might have been anticipating. To paraphrase this: We probably will get some teasers of upcoming heroes and the multiplayer, but we might not see any new heroes for Overwatch 1. Between Metro’s comments, Jeff Kaplan’s recent comment of how, “we still have a ways to go just to manage expectations,” and recent job listings for Overwatch 2 (in which the job did mention for something along the lines of things that would go into the story mode); and we could be looking at the possibility that this game could become a 2022 title.
Could an Overwatch 2 beta happen?
It is possible. After all, the beta period for the first Overwatch did go on for about half a year before the launch of the game, and perhaps they could do it for Overwatch 2. Let players get a taste of the game, try out some of the new heroes, and get people excited as they did with the first game before its full launch. As for it that will happen, we’ll have to wait and see.
Diablo: 2, 4, and Immortal
The other big title of note would be Diablo. It does seem rather funny how we went from just having one mobile title to now having possibly three separate Diablo games in the works between an upcoming sequel, the Mobile spinoff and a remaster of the 2nd title.
While Diablo Immortal didn’t get to enjoy its big celebration when first announced, the game itself is still slowly coming along. They did have a Technical Alpha last month and apparently, the game itself does play well on mobile devices. Considering the development of the game and how some time has passed since we heard from it, it is possible we could get more details for it at Blizzcon.
We could also see some updates for Diablo IV as well. With their quartly updates throughout 2020, fans could follow the posts to see the current development status (with the latest post covering stats, skills and items). These posts are nice to see with how things are coming along, but hopefully during Blizzcon, we will get to see the game in action and know just how many things they did change from Diablo III.
Was going to be from the team who brought you Warcraft III Reforged?
Recently, Vicarious Visions did see itself moved from being a subsidiary of Activision to a subsidiary of Blizzard Entertainment. While it was reported that, “Vicarious Visions was working with Blizzard for some time,” this change came about due to the response from Warcraft III Reforged.
Due to the game’s failures on poor planning, miscommunication and a rushed release (among other factors), Blizzard did make the decision to pull the project from “Team 1” and gave it to the division working on Diablo IV (with Vicarious Visions also working on the remake).
With the reception Reforged got back when we got the game last year, it is understandable if Activision-Blizzard does not want to repeat the same mistakes as before. The only concern now however is trying to say if we could see the same issues that plagued the previous game appear here too. Could we see Diablo 2 “Resurrected” do the same things as what was done with Warcraft 3 Reforged (such as seemingly deleting the previous version entirely and making everyone play the remastered version)?
The Diablo 2 remaster is expected to get its announcement next month.
It should also be noted that Team 1 was also responsible for other Blizzard titles such as Heroes of the Storm & StarCraft II. This is significant to consider when back in October, Blizzard did inform the team that they were going to reorganize the entire division. Team members either found themselves interview for jobs within Blizzard, found themselves getting cut, or setting up their own independent studios such as DreamHaven and Frost Giant.
Would it be likely that we’ll see other announcements from other titles? We’ll probably get a word or two about the “Next expansion” for Hearthstone, or the next big content update for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.
But will we see an announcement for more content for Heroes of the Storm? or is that game seemingly going to wind down? Will the announcements we get make us feel underwhelmed with how long it could be before we get these games in our hands? And will this just be the latest chapter in a long-running series of “Disappointing Blizzcon announcements?”
Hopefully, Activision-Blizzard did use this extra time to prepare for these announcements they will be sharing with us come next month. We might just have to temper our expectations and go in expecting very little (unless if they were to make a big announcement between now and February 19).
Thank you for reading
Blizzcon 2021 will run February 19-20. Be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles covering Activision-Blizzard and the gaming world.