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Blizzard's 'Overwatch' team will keep on giving fresh content in the new year

overwatch maps characters 2017 overwatchsombraconcept
It’s difficult to dispute the fact that Overwatch was one of the biggest video game releases of 2016 — the multiplayer first-person shooter blazed past 20 million players in October, and looks poised to top many games of the year lists. Now it’s director, Jeff Kaplan, has teased some details about what’s in store for 2017.

A new video posted Wednesday on the official Overwatch YouTube account recaps the game’s first year on the market before diving into what players can expect to see next year. According to Kaplan, the Oasis map that’s currently being evaluated in the PC version of the game’s public test realm will likely be ready for a full release in early 2017.

In terms of other content, it’s clear that lots of work is being done to create new characters, maps, and modes that will complement the existing Overwatch experience. Kaplan is quick to point out that Blizzard’s development process typically results in lots of experimentation that may never be seen outside of the studio’s confines.

“I always like to give the disclaimer that we tend to work on more content than we release,” explains Kaplan. “Because we prototype stuff, and sometimes it fails, or we don’t like it, or we want to go back to the drawing board.” He uses Genji as an example of this process, as the character spent 18 months in development, even being shelved for periods of time before the team properly executed its ideas.

Kaplan does note that there’s currently one “promising” character who’s a little closer to completion. While there’s no guarantee that this particular combatant will ever join the fray, he notes that the character has entered Blizzard’s art pipeline, which is a good sign that it might move beyond the conceptual stage.

All in all, Kaplan doesn’t offer much in terms of specifics, but what he’s saying suggests that Blizzard has no plans to slow down its Overwatch support in 2017.

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Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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