Winston players, you’re about to go home! A tweet from Blizzard yesterday confirmed that the new Horizon Lunar Colony map will go live on June 20th.
Since Overwatch launched a year ago, its has added various new maps to reach its current total of 18 (not including seasonal variations and reskins). The Horizon Lunar Colony map is currently in the public test realm (PTR), and will be fully playable in less than a week. It offers something extremely different from past map additions, not only from a gameplay perspective, but also for those who revel in the lore of the game.
Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at Overwatch’s newest map!
The journey to Horizon Lunar Colony begins: 6.20.2017 pic.twitter.com/Q8N6C8un8z
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) June 13, 2017
As an assault-style (or twin-capture) map, Horizon Lunar Colony will have two specific zones that each team must either attack or defend. What makes the terrain totally unique, aside from the orbital setting, is that a small section outside of the actual colony is practically-gravity-free – the first time such a bold mechanic has been introduced in the game.
PTR players have already been experimenting with its tactical advantages; time your exit right, and you can sneak up on the defending team completely unnoticed…that is if everyone isn’t also having fun in the weightless zone. This will probably happen less as the map gets used more, and as players start to make use of the level’s unique high-ground positioning.
At the start of the year, the Overwatch development team promised more maps that tied into the FPS’s story and characters. We saw a little bit of that in the way Sombra was introduced (with little images and hints dotted around the maps), but Horizon Lunar Colony will take it a step further.
The “Recall” short film, an origin story for Winston, was essentially an early trailer for the moon base. Every important locale, from the gorilla’s dormitory to the breathtaking telescope room will be explorable. Since we never found out what happened to the ape testing-subjects who lived in the colony, players may be able to find clues (such as footprints, and CCTV footage) as they explore the surroundings.
“It’s like a forensic detective walking into a scene and trying to reconstruct what happened,” a member of Team 4 said in the announcement video. “My favourite maps are the ones that have a strong story hook, and a strong character hook, where you can see people’s origins and backstories.”
Overwatch has always championed its diverse characters and selection of levels from a global setting. The latter even plays into the international concept of the Overwatch League, and while we’re very unlikely to see top teams competing on the RL Moon, the new level adds a rich new setting and sets a new precedent for how the franchise will develop.
Blizzard have confirmed new characters are on the way, but aside from educated guesses (including hints at Doomfist and Athena) nothing has been confirmed yet.