Overwatch has had a handful of sizable patches in the past, but the next major one—which presumably will include new hero Ashe—is going to necessitate a full reinstall of the game.
Blizzard chalks the inconvenience up to under-the-hood changes that go deeper than just a fresh coat of paint.
“The next major patch will have some pretty fundamental changes to the game client,” a Blizzard customer support rep said on Overwatch’s forums. “The number of back-end changes we’re putting in is substantial enough that we can’t just patch over the current content efficiently. As a result, when the next patch comes out, the client will fully reinstall itself to handle these changes. We know that this isn’t ideal for people on metered connections, so hopefully this announcement helps you prepare for this coming update.”
On the upside, Overwatch’s file size isn’t particularly huge. Unlike most modern triple-A games—which often clock in at over 50 GB—Overwatch has historically weighed in at a svelte 13 GB.
My guess? This is about B.O.B. He’s a big, effortlessly charming robo-boy, and the game’s old foundations just can’t contain him. [Update - 6:00 PM, 11/9/18: In an email, Blizzard called this a “remaster” patch and said it’s intended to improve load times, optimize memory for “constrained systems,” reduce hard drive space used by the PS4 version, fix bugs “across many maps,” and make changes to data formats to “support future content.” The dev team also clarified that this will apply to PC and consoles, but if you’ve downloaded the public test server version of the game on PC, your redownload with be “significantly smaller.” So I guess it’s not about B.O.B after all.]
Overwatch’s next major patch does not currently have a release date, but parts of it, such as new hero Ashe, are in testing on the PC public test server right now.