Skip to main content

Overwatch 2 developers explain how the game’s dynamic maps work

Among the heaps of new content coming with Overwatch 2 are massive changes to maps. The game’s entire engine has been redone, and obviously, that means things are going to look a bit better. But the developers and artists at Blizzard have taken an extra step and created a system called Environment States that will sometimes impose different weather conditions on maps.

This feature was previously shown during one of Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 streams but has been further detailed in a news post on the game’s website.

The post, written by two members of the Overwatch team, software engineer Marco and lighting artist Fabien, details just how Environment States works and how it will affect the game. According to Fabien, Environment States was designed to assist with supporting “the story that the map is telling.”

“With this new system,” says Fabien, “we have managed to split all the major components of lighting, sound, and effects into self-contained assets that can be combined like building blocks to create what we call Environment Scenarios.”

Environment Scenarios aren’t some massively complex thing from the outside. From a player’s perspective, they’re simply the weather and time of day on a map. An example given in the post shows the map Necropolis with its nighttime scenario. However, with the new Environment States system, the Overwatch team can simply take the Environment Scenario of another map, in this case, sunny Temple of Anubis, and apply it to Necropolis to give the map a brand new look.

However, this new system lets the Overwatch team do more than just change the time of day on a given map. Using it, they can also add weather changes to maps in a dynamic fashion. In Overwatch 2, players can expect maps set in the desert to be clouded by sandstorms, or snowy maps to be blanketed in sudden blizzards.

While we still don’t know when Overwatch 2 will release, you can still check out everything else we know about the game.

Editors' Recommendations

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
Arrowhead CEO steps down to focus more on developing Helldivers 2
A soldier in silhouette in Helldivers 2.

Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead Game Studios has a new CEO. Shams Jorjani, a former Paradox Interactive executive, will be stepping into the role, while former CEO Johan Pilestedt will focus more on developing the company's flagship title Helldivers 2.

"I am taking the role of chief creative officer, which means I will spend MORE time with the team and 100% of my focus on the games and community!" Pilestedt wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Read more
Marvel’s Midnight Suns creative director explains why the game flopped
Dr. Strange, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch defend and Sanctum Santorum in Marvel's Midnight Suns.

Prior to founding Midsummer Studio, a new development team that was announced today, Jake Solomon's last big credit was working as creative director on Marvel’s Midnight Suns. In an interview with Digital Trends, Solomon gave some frank answers as to why the superhero strategy game got off to a disappointing launch.

Although Marvel’s Midnight Suns card-based strategy gameplay is robust, a stigma around the idea of cards and how different the game was from XCOM 2, one of Solomon's previous games, existed since before the game was even released. Publisher 2K’s spotty record with microtransactions, as well as a leak that referred to the game as "Marvel XCOM" when that’s not really what the game was, also didn’t help.

Read more
All Incantations and how to unlock them in Hades 2
Melinoe fighting under a full moon in Hades 2.

You can't have a game where you play as a witch without a massive cauldron. Hades 2 places one front and center in the Crossroads, but it isn't just there for decorative purposes. Melinoë can use this big boiling pot of green liquid to bring new features into the game, whether it be between runs or during them, in exchange for various materials like Silver. You will only start out with a few Incantations, but doing more runs and getting further toward your goal of killing Chronos will gradually unlock more to create. There are far more than you might expect for an early access game. Here are all the Incantations and their recipes.
Every Incantation, effect, and recipe
The order in which you unlock Incantations in the menu can vary based on what you do and how you progress in Hades 2, so this list is in no particular order. Also, it is possible there are more we haven't been able to unlock yet, so we will update this list if we discover any more or if additional ones are added during early access.

Incantation name

Read more