Overwatch 2 introduces a bevy of new characters, maps, and modes when it releases early next week. However, the most notable change alongside the sequel’s new free-to-play format is a Battle Pass. The free track of the pass allows players to unlock a new support character called Kiriko, while the premium track – which costs $10 or 1,000 Overwatch Coins – unlocks unique cyberpunk-themed cosmetics like weapon charms, souvenirs, and legendary skins offers. Players who complete the 80-tier Premium Battle Pass will receive Cyber Demon Genji, the first of Overwatch’s new class of customizable cosmetic items called Mythic Skins.
We recently interviewed the Overwatch 2 leadership group to learn more about their philosophy as we develop the role of Battle Pass and Mythic Skins in the sequel’s revamped monetization strategy.
“As we addressed the transition to free-to-play, one of our big goals was to give Overwatch players what they wanted, which was continuous content delivery. We know this because players have told us that this keeps them locked in for the long term,” says general manager Walter Kong.
Kong tells us that the size of Overwatch 2’s core team has almost tripled compared to 2016 – a necessary expansion to meet the short time constraints of developing a free online game. He continues: “We thought long and hard about how we could finance the further development of the game in such a way that it continues to offer a fair and enjoyable experience to all players, whether they are paying or playing for free. And our approach to paying players is to offer tremendous value.”
That’s where Overwatch 2’s new skins come in, although according to game director Aaron Keller, they’re not exactly a cheap investment.
“We put a lot of time into the production of our cosmetics. It takes over a year to craft a Mythic Skin. It’s a huge investment for the team, and a huge amount of resources goes into making these things. And we think it’s worth it. Keller continues, “One of our values is being able to put out the absolutely coolest cosmetics that we can, and we hope that they can be considered some of the best in the business.”
Each season has a theme and associated mythic skin with multiple tiers that players can customize to their liking.
In an exclusive follow-up interview with Overwatch Commercial Director and Vice President Jon Spector, we asked for more details on Mythic Skins and the team’s philosophy on creating it.
“Including the Mythic skin in the Battle Pass felt like the right decision, although honestly I think we would make more money selling it directly in the shop. But we really wanted him to be one of the core pieces of our Battle Pass system,” says Spector. He continues, “The guiding principle behind Mythics was to challenge the art team to surpass themselves and create something even cooler than Legendary skins. I’ve never worked with a skin.”
In the case of Cyber Demon Genji, Spector tells us that there are four different layers to style: two Dragonblade variants, three helmets, three tattoo patterns, and multiple color schemes. There is also an option to randomize the levels for the undecided. After unlocking the skin, players will have all the customization options available, so they don’t need to complete any challenges or spend extra time playing the game to fully enjoy their reward for reaching Tier 80.
But players who were hoping that Overwatch 2 would mirror Halo Infinite’s no-expiration Battle Pass system will be disappointed.
“One of the pieces of feedback I’ve seen from players since Mythic Skins was first announced is that this is how people feel [the skins] are more special when there is some aspect of earning them. So I think being able to look back and say, ‘I got Mythic Genji because I played Season 1 and completed the Battle Pass,’ it’s going to feel even more special,” says Spector, who wants that to happen the players feel really good investing money in the game.
“We’ve all been in the trenches for a while getting ready for October 4th. The entire team is very excited for the release of Overwatch 2. But we also know that this is the starting point for the journey we’re all on together, and knowing how much cool stuff we have in the pipeline is feeling really good on.”
Click here to learn more about Overwatch 2’s new support character, Kiriko.
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