Overwatch 2 players will be getting one of the new heroes coming with the sequel for free, according to Blizzard in a new post detailing the upcoming Battle Pass in the free-to-play title. Additionally, the company confirmed in an interview with Eurogamer that the last day to play Overwatch, the original one that is, will be Ocotber 2nd as they prepare the servers for the sequel just a few days later.
Kiriko, the new support hero coming to Overwatch 2, weilds a kunai, and while it's meant as a support ally to heal the team, it can also deal some damage, much like another support hero, Zenyatta. Blizzard states that they want Kiriko to appeal to those DPS-focused players who might have to change a role to fit the new 5v5 meta coming with Overwatch 2.
Kiriko can see through walls and teleport to allies thanks to her Swift Step ability, and players will also benefit from Kiriko's Protection Suzu ability that drops a field on the ground to cleanse players of debuffs and more.
The new hero will be free to those who own the original Overwatch according to Blizzard in a post that details the upcoming battle pass that will see Overwatch 2 heroes locked behind its progression. This runs counter to the open release of each hero during the lifespan of the original Overwatch which saw each hero added to the roster without the need to pay extra for them, nor unlock them.
In an interview with various news outlets via a media call, though, Blizzard defends locking heroes behind the battle pass wall, claiming it was a "strong fit" to put heroes behind the progression wall.
"Well, heroes are the single most engaging content that we have in the game. And as we designed this model, it seemed to be a very strong fit to put those heroes into our new engagement systems," Overwatch general manager Walter Kong stated (via PC Gamer). VP of Overwatch Jon Spector states that because players mostly stick with just a few characters when they play Overwatch, using the data as justification that players might not miss having all of the heroes to choose from, especially if they are just going to stick with what they know.
"What we actually see in the data is that a majority of players in Overwatch have a majority of their play time on two or fewer heroes," Spector said on the media call (via Kotaku). He continued, "And you can get to 99.9% of play time for a majority of our players with 12 or fewer heroes."
Game Director Aaron Keller states that Overwatch 2 is being designed around the fact that not every player will have every hero, with the team taking a look at the rock-paper-scissors counters each hero has and tweaking them to make counters less of a factor in combat. Still, though, Blizzard knows that locking heroes behind a paywall wouldn't fly, regardless of their messaging it seems, and heroes themselves will be available on the free track of the battle pass, with Soujourn and Junker Queen free for all Overwatch 2 players from the get go.
For those who are looking to get some time in with Overwatch 1 before OW2 takes over, you don't have long. In an interview with Eurogamer, the Overwatch team confirmed that October 2nd will be the day Overwatch 1 goes to die. Once Overwatch 1 goes down on the 2nd, the team will be putting all their efforts in getting Overwatch 2 servers spun up and ready for the free-to-play launch on October 4th.