Overwatch 2 maps will feature dynamic times of day and weather, as has been highlighted in a new technical blog for the game.
The new feature for Overwatch 2 has been mentioned before, with glimpses of the system shown off in the initial re-reveal of Overwatch 2 earlier in the year at BlizzCon. However, details of how that system would work were not elaborated on.
That has changed thanks to a new technical blog on the Overwatch website. The blog is dense with the technology that is being utilised to make this happen, but it also illuminates some fascinating things about the dynamic map changes.
This new system has been dubbed ‘Environmental States’ and will allow maps in Overwatch to break free of static settings. In the blog post lighting artist Fabien Christin says of the feature: “For Overwatch 2, we wanted to create interesting new moods that would entirely change the feeling of a location. Imagine travelling to Numbani and seeing the futuristic city illuminated in a warm African sunset.”
The idea is to provide a number of potential states for each area, to make them feel different depending on when exactly you arrive in them. The blog describes the way that the elements, lighting, and sound effects are split into self-contained assets that act as building blocks that can mix to create unique scenarios.
It’s not just the time of day that is changing though. Some effects will affect gameplay. Christin highlights sandstorms as a possible weather state that could affect your progress on a map.
He says: “Imagine that you are sent on a mission to Necropolis to restore the connection to an Overwatch satellite link, and while defending against a Null Sector attack, a sandstorm quickly approaches the location and rises all around you!” This would affect player visibility, but also add a claustrophobic and chaotic element to a map.
Overwatch 2 will have an extensive PvE mode where these environmental states will likely be implemented. However, it’s not mentioned if these weather effects work would extend to the competitive multiplayer, but that does seem unlikey as it could affect the competitive integrity of a match if players end up having to contend with extreme weather at random.
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