Apology letter by Overwatch 2 director falls flat amid canceled PvE plans

Words don't matter anymore, actions do.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller today wrote a letter of apology to fans after Blizzard announced earlier this week that it was no longer following through with the most highly-anticipated aspects of its PvE plans for the game.

In 1,062 words, Keller opened up about the difficult decision and apologized to fans after two days of mass criticism from players who had been waiting for PvE since 2019. But if he thought this massive body of text was going to somehow win over the trust of fans, Keller may not realize the long road ahead of his team.

To start his message, Keller attempted to clarify that PvE will still be in Overwatch 2. Story Missions, which are set to be a part of the game starting in season six, will include cutscenes and cinematics that help expand the lore and narrative of the game’s universe.

But that’s not what most fans have been waiting nearly four years for. Hero Missions, a PvE mode that was intended to give players a unique form of progression that included talent trees and replayability, was the big sell during BlizzCon in 2019. That’s what Blizzard announced is being nixed.

Related: Why did Blizzard kill its original Overwatch PvE campaign plans?

Reading the letter with his community on Twitch, popular content creator Emongg expressed in the kindest way possible how the Story Missions will feel, given the lack of previously promised content.

“I’m sure it’ll be cool,” he said. “There’s just a lot missing to that.”

While Keller’s clarification today that all PvE isn’t being canceled is an important one, it’s not the winning position Blizzard PR might think it is. It’s like a kid waiting years for their parents to take them to an NBA game to see their favorite team just to find out beforehand that the team is resting its star player. Sure, you might still get to see the Lakers in person, but what’s the point if Anthony Davis and LeBron James are in street clothes?

Afterward, the extensive body of text attempted to give full background as to why all of this happened. Keller spent the next 750 words giving “context for this change.” But all it did was leave an even more bitter taste in the mouths of fans who put their faith in the process. This wasn’t just a “change.” It was a failure in the eyes of fans.

Related: Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 roadmap for 2023: Season 5, new heroes, limited-time events, and more

Spending so much time and effort explaining exactly why this happened isn’t for the sake of the fans, and Keller shouldn’t expect much or any empathy from them anytime soon. The Overwatch 2 player base is understandably dejected.

One fan on Twitter replied to the official Overwatch account’s post, addressing just how long this letter was and how little it means to them.

“Too long, didn’t read, don’t care,” they posted, adding an altered image of the Blizzard logo leaving out letters from the company name to make it read “Liar” instead of “Blizzard.”

Others chimed in with similar sentiments about the curveball.

“This is frustrating not because it didn’t come into fruition, but because of the years of promises being ultimately wasted,” one person posted. “You promised it would be here when the game launched, but no it has to be refined. You promised it’d come later, but no, it’s being canceled. It’s just tiring.”

Keller did what he had to do in writing the letter for fans today, but the frustration won’t be diminished by words just days after breaking the souls of players. Today’s apology isn’t going to satisfy fans, nor should it.

Today’s comments from Keller shouldn’t be viewed as an apology to be accepted by fans. This letter isn’t for us; it’s for the Overwatch 2 team. Blizzard failed its customers this week and it’s not going to win everyone back over easily. It’s going to take a lot of time and it may take years of hitting home runs with every new event, hero, feature, and cosmetic.

In the same way fans spent years waiting for Overwatch 2’s highly-anticipated PvE content, Blizzard should fully expect to wait just as long to earn that respect back from fans. Acknowledging the mistake is just the first step in what will be a very long process.

About the author
Max Miceli

Senior Staff Writer. Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism and political science degree in 2015. He previously worked for The Esports Observer covering the streaming industry before joining Dot where he now helps with Overwatch 2 coverage.