Ever since the blockbuster announcement of Overwatch 2 at last year’s BlizzCon, Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t offered too many updates on its current status. Leaks have indicated that it could release this year but with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed many titles and even caused BlizzCon 2020 to be cancelled, that seems unlikely. Nevertheless, development is ongoing and in a new blog post, the development team shared their thoughts on working with the game’s tools and engine.
The key part is regarding Overwatch 2. With the sequel having a proper campaign with PvE maps, what will they be like compared to Retribution and Storm Rising? “Overwatch 2’s PvE (Player vs. Environment) maps are larger and more complex than Overwatch maps like Retribution and Storm Rising. That doesn’t just mean more distance to cover, but also longer missions involving more kinds of foes and more elaborate encounters. Adding enemy types leads to complex ability interactions between enemies and heroes – but also between the enemies themselves, like short-range and long-range units that coordinate their attacks.”
The challenges of designing such scenarios are also outlined since “Designers working in Overwatch’s development tools need a way to visualize a multi-wave encounter that takes place over several minutes. To craft something exciting, they need to be able to preview where an enemy will spawn, and how it will path (move through the level) before an enterprising Overwatch agent takes it out of commission. And, of course, that added complexity needs to carefully manage its impact on the game’s performance.”
Interestingly, this challenge hasn’t been “completely solved yet” by the tools team “but it’s exactly the kind of problem they assembled to tackle.” While this doesn’t mean any specific delay or such, it does highlight some of the issues of developing a PvE, co-op based campaign. The entire post is worth reading, especially for how the development team using “dynamic” real-time lighting in Overwatch 2’s Rio map without causing a huge strain on performance.
Overwatch 2 is currently in development for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months, especially with Activision Blizzard having a digital presence at Gamescom.
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