Game Director Jeff Kaplan shared his thoughts on 2017, and there was certainly a lot to cover: three new heroes, new maps, new cinematics, and new game modes. Of course, 2017 has come to a close and now its time to consider 2018. Kaplan agrees, noting that the team is “fired up”.
The first new content we can expect is tied to the start of the Overwatch League: Overwatch League skins. We’re also going to see the theme park map BlizzardWorld “very soon”, accompanied by the Blizzard franchise Overwatch skins.
Beyond that, there’s “a lot of stuff” in the works, and while Kaplan “can’t reveal everything we’re working on”, the team is working hard on hero 27. There’s no word on a release date, but they are “very needed” and the team is internally testing to make sure the hero is right. Hero 28 and beyond are also being considered.
In addition, we can expect new maps in 2018, as Kaplan notes that new maps tend to be one of the most popular additions to the game. Story content is another priority, with Winston’s Recall being one of the top storylines in lore at the moment (explored in the shorts Recall, Rise and Shine, and Honor and Glory.) In addition, Year of the Dog is the next Lunar New Year event and it’ll have “significant content players will be very happy with.”
After Lunar New Year, we’re getting Uprising again... but “evolved”, and with more thought put into the event, including “big ideas”. We’re also getting the Anniversary event again, along with all of those lovely dance emotes. If you’re tired of events, we’re also getting standard skins added to the year round loot box rotation.
Along with more content, the developers are going to be looking at competitive play, making tactical changes to make Overwatch more compelling as a competitive experience. Short term changes include the recent queue changes and performance bonus removal, but the team is considering “big picture” changes in the long term.
Kaplan acknowledges that all of this is the tip of the iceberg, but 2018 should be a great year for Overwatch content, especially if you’re hoping for lore and stories. Personally, I’m amped up for the return of Uprising, but I do have to admit I’m excited for a second chance at those dance emotes. Hey, in between bouts of saving the world, heroes deserve to have fun.