The development team at Activision Blizzard has revealed more information about the new environment states in Overwatch 2. After revealing it alongside a lot of new additions earlier this year, the team talked about this new feature. Dubbed ‘environment states’, these changes will make maps feel more immersive and will change gameplay significantly.
"We can create all kinds of weather changes, like thunderstorms, snowfalls, and other exciting environmental scenarios to make the game feel different every time you play."
Discover what goes into creating improvements for the Overwatch 2 game engine.
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) June 8, 2021
“‘We can create all kinds of weather changes, like thunderstorms, snowfalls, and other exciting environmental scenarios to make the game feel different every time you play.’ Discover what goes into creating improvements for the Overwatch 2 game engine,” the Overwatch account tweeted.
More details on the environment states
When Overwatch 2 was shown at BlizzCon earlier this year, they gave the fans a lot more details on the big changes ahead. One of these changes was maps having environmental changes, like seeing the Dorado map during the day. Then, on Anubis they brought up a sandstorm to demonstrate how the map would react and change. Certain maps would go from extremely long-range to short-range, just due to visibility. In a recent post, they dubbed this system ‘environmental states’, and showed how the process works.
One of the biggest surprises coming out of this update is that even with this big change, the future download size won’t be much larger. Bruce Wilkie, one of the developers in Overwatch 2, states that it “allows the engine to group together multiple lighting environments for a map, allowing for a large part of the precomputed data mentioned above to be shared between those grouped lighting environments.”
“This brings down the data footprint greatly, which means our players do not have to download and install as much data per variation,” Wilkie said.
How this will affect the Overwatch League
However, for competitive, these could severely change some of the map’s playstyles dependent on the weather. Weather conditions include sandstorms, snowfall, thunderstorms and more that they haven’t revealed. Also, these states can change in the middle of a game. This heavily affects gameplay from one part of a map to another.
One can imagine that if this becomes something that annoys the competitive players, it might not be applied to future Overwatch League games. As of right now, seeing the development of Overwatch 2 visually continues to impress. We’ll have to wait and see if the gameplay will drastically change from it.