Overwatch 2 Season 3 to bring new map called Antarctic Peninsula
Overwatch 2 Season 3 will arrive on February 7, bringing a new Control map called the Antarctic Peninsula. There, players must endure snow and explore cold tunnels and abandoned ships to take the objective from their opponents.
The Overwatch 2 developer team explained that the new map is also stuffed with references to Overwatch’s lore — present and future. Some fans may recall Antarctica from Mei or Dr. Mei-Ling Zhou’s story in the animated short Rise and Shine.
In that short film, fans learn that Mei was frozen for ten years in an Antarctic research facility belonging to the Overwatch task force. Cryogenic technology was supposed to be a temporary experiment, but as time passed and Overwatch broke up, Mei and her friends perished for various reasons.
This Antarctica version aims to expand on the lore and answer some questions about the experiment. The most frequently asked question is why nobody came to rescue Mei and her coworkers.
To reply to that question, lead narrative designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie explained that Overwatch tried but failed to save them.
He also hinted that the new control map would enable fans to have the opportunity to see a large part of the story that has never been told before. In addition, fans could also see clues about Mei and her team’s intentions.
“One of the questions that I’ve heard from the public and I’ve always been excited to answer is, ‘Hey, Mei and her friends/coworkers were frozen for ages. Why did no one ever come to rescue them?’ It’s sort of a sad question, but the answer is that Overwatch tried.”
Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, Overwatch 2 lead narrative designer
Given the depth of the storyline, fans may assume that the map will be tied into the planned PvE campaign later this year, but the art director Dion Rogers has been silent on the subject. “Stay tuned,” he said.
Antarctic Peninsula map design
The developers of Overwatch 2 explained that they wanted Antarctica to stand out from the rest of the game’s maps with its bleak but breathtaking ice fields and aurora australis.
Rogers said that the team had previously used “modular” maps but wanted to achieve new heights using this natural setting.
He said this map had presented some new graphic challenges to the team because Overwatch maps were typically based on cities.
Rogers explained that as Antarctica is an organic map, it has irregularity in its shapes, curvatures and caves.
Antarctic Peninsula map sections
Like the other King Of The Hill maps, Antarctic Peninsula will be divided into three sections for teams to battle over.
The first section is the Icebreaker sublevel which contains the wreckage of a vast Overwatch ship that tried to rescue Mei and her research companions.
It was severely damaged, and the mission had to be scrapped. The ship’s layout allows players to explore various areas, such as the engine room, the captain’s quarters and the galley.
Rogers said fighting inside an abandoned ship as large as an icebreaker would be “rad.”
“It’s just super rad to fight inside an abandoned ship as large as an icebreaker.”
Dion Rogers, Overwatch 2 art director
He said that by working together, players would identify several crucial hotspots where other people are hiding. If players are familiar with nautical terms, it’s easy to guess where that could be.
The second section is an underground tunnel system where scientists work in sub-level underground mining.
Although it is underground, a drill and the section’s verticality can pose challenges to those who want to reach the objective.
Trey Spisak, the level designer, described these sections as having “a lot of verticality” and “various flank paths,” such as the enormous underground ice caverns.
The third section is the labs, where fans can see Mei and her coworkers’ work in the Ecopoint area. The designers describe this section as a more “straightforward” control point.
Antarctic Peninsula map features
The Antarctic Peninsula has tons of entertaining interactions for players to discover. For example, Rogers explained that the icy map has fishing holes, so players can shoot and fish in a fishing minigame.
Players can fire their guns at penguins, but they will never kill or hurt those birds in any way. Instead, the penguins will playfully duck out of the incoming fire. “It’s playfully done in the game when you see it,” Rogers said.
The map also has a new shader, allowing players to leave footprints in the snow and create unique patterns as they explore their surroundings.