Blizzard's Overwatch had a great year with multiple awards and millions of excited fans and it's now looking ahead to the new year.
A new teaser video now offers a look of what Blizzard has in store for Overwatch in 2017 and plans include "multiple new heroes," new maps, custom communication options, custom game server browser and more, according to game director Jeff Kaplan.
Following an uproar over the Overwatch holiday skins and an apology for Mei's disappointing "Winter Wonderland" legendary skin that was not so legendary, the new roadmap laid out in the latest developer video aims to bring some good news and get players excited about 2017. It's quite a big list of changes for one of the biggest video games of 2016, so here goes.
It seems that rumors were spot on, as Kaplan says that multiple new heroes will hit the scene in 2017. However, the game director points out that they always work on more content than they actually release, as sometimes prototypes fail or don't rise up to expectations. That said, not all new heroes might actually make it to the game.
Kaplan goes into further detail and explains how the resident ninja of Overwatch, Genji, went through such a tough development process. The team started working on Genji nearly a year and a half before adding him to the game, but it took so long because they couldn't release him until they got everything right. According to Kaplan, the team would work on Genji, try new iterations, shelve him for a while when it wasn't working out, then revisit the idea to work on it some more.
In this context, Kaplan now says that one hero seems "very promising" now. The game director offers no further details so it remains unclear for now just which hero he's talking about or how they play. Nevertheless, the prototype is already reaching the art department, which suggests that a solid foundation is already in store and they can start building on it, adding physical traits and a personality to boot.
When it comes to other heroes, Kaplan says that "some really fun prototypes" are at stake and he hopes they make it to the game in 2017.
Blizzard teased a new Oasis map at Blizzcon, set to arrive in early 2017. Kaplan now reiterates that Oasis is on track and says that several maps beyond that are also in the mix, at various stages in the development process. Again, this means that not all will make it, but there's one promising map that could.
Other exciting prospects that are now in development include new game modes such as an Overwatch Arcade mode, which could play a huge part in coming up with new maps.
"Right now the arcade really affords us that opportunity to experiment and really feel good about trying stuff out without damaging the core competitive game or quick play," says Kaplan.
Custom Communication Options And Game Server Browser
Players should also be able to enjoy a custom game server browser in 2017, which would allow them to create custom games and make them public, enabling anyone to try them out, not just their Battle.net friends. Kaplan says this has been one of the most requested features and it will launch as a basic option in early 2017, but will expand later on.
When it comes to custom communication options, the Overwatch communication wheel is set for a big overhaul in 2017, allowing gamers to access up to four voice lines and four emotes to customize which appear on the wheel. This will enable players to add the extra voice lines and emotes they unlock and use them, rather than having to select a single one to appear on the wheel. Triggering a particular emote or voice line should be pretty easy too, as Kaplan notes custom key bindings.
Overwatch will also get a separate wheel for sprays, allowing players to select up to four sprays to use in a match. The wheel will still display just one spray at a time, but payers will be able to use different sprays based on the situation.
No Sombra Tweaks Yet
Blizzard released a new Overwatch hero last month, introducing Sombra. The hero hasn't had a great impact on the Overwatch community just yet, but Kaplan thinks players just need more time to figure her out. With this in mind, Sombra won't be getting any changes anytime soon.
For more details about Blizzard's plans for Overwatch in 2017, check out the video below.