Blizzard will be bringing the Overwatch closed beta back online at some point in February with several new features; including a new game mode. The beta went offline in December to allow developers to work on features that players requested and improve core features. The original plan was to bring the beat back in January, but Blizzard admits that it needs a few extra weeks to polish the new content to make it presentable.
Overwatch will return as a closed beta with a new leveling and progression system, a gameplay feature that was noticeably missing from the game. There is no telling what form the system will take, but it will hopefully open up new options for players the same way that Heroes of the Storm does.
The addition of a new gameplay mode is a welcome announcement. There were only two modes available in the first closed beta, which made games a little repetitive after a while. Blizzard is not saying what the new mode will be, but it is saying that a new map will be introduced to accommodate it.
Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan posted in the Battle.net forum that the company took the decision to delay bringing back the closed beta in January so that it could include the new mode instead of issuing a later patch. He wrote:
“Rather than try to rush a beta patch out this month (which would mean the new game mode would have to be put off), we’re going to take a few extra weeks before bringing the Closed Beta back. By doing so, we can make sure we can include the new game mode along with the new maps. This will also allow us to do some additional polish to the game’s progression and reward system. Though all these features will still technically be a work-in-progress during the beta, we’d like them to be at a certain quality bar before releasing them for testing.”
Overwatch is due for a release in Spring 2016, which isn’t really too far off. Blizzard had also earlier clarified its monetisation policy for the game, and will be releasing new maps and heroes for free.