Blizzard announced today that the next season of Overwatch League will begin in April 2022. And in a separate statement to Kotaku, an OWL spokesperson confirmed that this upcoming season will use an “early build” of Overwatch 2.
Earlier today, Blizzard’s Overwatch League VP Jon Spector tweeted that the next season of OWL will indeed begin in 2022. This follows recent rumors surrounding the state of Overwatch 2 and how its development status could impact or delay the league’s upcoming season. According to Spector, the season will start in April and the league will share more details in the future. Oddly, Spector’s tweet didn’t include any mention of Overwatch 2. However, Blizzard later confirmed with Kotaku that the next season, which will be OWL’s fifth, will indeed be played on an “early build” of the upcoming shooter.
Overwatch League is currently nearing the end of its fourth season. On September 4 the post-season begins. The OWL Grand Finals will be held on September 25, ending the season.
As you might have heard, the last few months haven’t been great for Blizzard, Activision, or Overwatch.
In July, Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after a years-long investigation turned up stories of multiple women suffering prolonged harassment and abuse. Since then a lot has happened, including the departure of multiple execs and high-profile developers—including Blizzard President J. Allen Brack—devs walking out in protest, Activision hiding its logo from new Call of Duty trailers, and investors filing another lawsuit against the company.
Overwatch League, along with the Call of Duty League, have also lost multiple sponsors due to the fallout from the lawsuits and the awful stories of abuse and toxic behavior that have been revealed as a result of the investigation and lawsuit.
As for Overwatch 2, it still doesn’t have a release date. Meanwhile, Blizzard confirmed that updates for the original game had “stagnated” because of its shift of development resources toward the sequel. May of this year also saw the announcement that Overwatch 2 will only have five players on each team, which could cause problems for some players in OWL.
Perhaps the fact that the game is expected to be finished enough to be played by pros in OWL next year is a good indicator that Overwatch 2 could be coming sooner than later. But right now, it’s hard to get too excited about a new Blizzard game.