surveillance 2 Season 3 is expected to begin Tuesday, February 7th and will bring several changes to matchmaking, battle passes, and in-game currency, among other things. The changes sound great and I don’t want to downplay them. But I don’t want to bury arguably bigger news either: the game is also adding a new map called Antarctic Peninsula, and this new map has penguins around it.
The Antarctic Peninsula will be the game’s first new control map (sometimes called the King-of-the-hill or KOTH) since the release of Busan in September 2018. In fact, it’s only the second control map added to the game since launch. Like all maps of this type, it contains three submaps: an icebreaker ship, a mining sublevel, and the laboratory where Overwatch heroine Mei and her colleagues worked. In a way, it’s an expansion of the arcade map Ecopoint: Antarctica.
Season 3 is shaping up to be a pivotal season for Overwatch 2, which is ending its third month since release. We won’t be getting any new heroes this season, but the developers are making changes to the game’s matchmaking to address player complaints that games aren’t balanced or particularly fun. The changes, detailed in a developer blog, aim to more evenly balance teams by role. Competitive update requirements – when you receive your updated rank – will also be lowered from seven wins/20 losses to five wins/15 losses. These updates should provide significant improvements to some of the community’s biggest vulnerabilities.
But I want to go back to the penguins. I can’t really say they’re a better or more exciting addition than the other changes. The matchmaking really needed some adjustments. But it’s a fun little detail that’s consistent with the bright future Overwatch is trying to inhabit. (We asked if you can interact with the penguins. You can. We asked if you can shoot the penguins. You can. One person asked if you can kill the penguins. Luckily you can’t. )
And the penguins aren’t the only fun touches players will find on the map. In media interviews, the developers talked about updating their shaders so you can leave footprints and draw in the snow. And Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie hinted that the new map could also answer long-standing questions like “Why didn’t Overwatch rescue Mei and her team?” and also refer to other traditions.
Blizzard is expected to release more information about Season 3 ahead of its launch next week.