Overwatch’s next patch will be so big, you’re basically going to reinstall the entire game.
Usually, when a game developer makes you re-download the entire game, it’s because they somehow screwed up. There’ve been a few EA games that had a day one patch that was larger than the entire game itself (although thankfully not any recent games). Fallout 76 recently had a day one patch during its beta that was larger than the entire game.
But Overwatch has been out for a while, so it’s a little strange for the devs to look at their code and say that it is simply easier to start over from scratch.
According to Blizzard’s most recent post over on the Overwatch game forums, the next patch will indeed require the player to re-download the whole freakin’ game.
"The next major patch will have some pretty fundamental changes to the game client,” a Blizzard rep wrote. “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."
The rep went on to apologize to those Overwatch players on metered internet connections and hoped that by providing a long enough warning those players could prepare their monthly downloads accordingly.
However, the good news is that Overwatch isn’t a particularly weighty game. At just 13 GB, it comes in on the lighter side of AAA-games, which now typically clock in at around 50 GB. Some games with multiple DLC even surpass 100 GB.
Even still, a complete reinstall is highly unusual and means that something other than merely adding content is happening here. In an email with Kotaku, Blizzard said that the new patch would optimize memory, fix bugs, and crucially, change the format of the game’s data to “support future content.”
Supporting future content could mean a lot of things, but in this case, it most likely means there is something on the horizon that is so radically different from anything that Overwatch has done before that it required some hefty changes to the game’s base code.
We don’t have any idea when the new patch will drop, but the public test server already has a new character to try out that does some pretty amazing things.