Overwatch 2's new Rio de Janeiro map will be drawing inspiration from a surprising source—a classic Counter-Strike map. The map in question, cs_rio, was met with critical acclaim and quickly became a fan favorite upon it's original release in 2001, and went on to inspire several imitators, and CS:GO's Favela map.
Word of the nod to cs_rio came from a source close to Thiago Klafke, Blizzard's Senior Environment Artist, though there is no concrete information on how its influences will manifest in Overwatch 2. It must be acknowledged that not all of Overwatch's maps are created equally, but each one features interactive elements including destructible objects. That in itself is something of a tribute to cs_rio, which featured destructible objects, which were a novelty at the time, in addition to a market square, restaurants with blind corners, and narrow alleyways that could be leveraged as choke points.
The new Brazilian battleground is said to be massive, and Blizzard has hinted that the average size of Overwatch 2's stages are roughly twice as large as those in the original title. Consequently, there's some speculation as to whether the map will accommodate PVP play. With only 12 players in the fray at once, a sprawling level could result in excessively lengthy chases, camping, and other strategies that would detract from the experience. Another possibility is that a scaled down version of Rio will be employed for PVP, while the full city will be explored in the story.
Blizzard's futuristic team-based shooter will have an increased emphasis on story-driven PVE content with a lengthy campaign where the new Rio de Janeiro map likely features prominently. Overwatch's wall-riding, concussive blasting DJ, Lucio, hails from Rio de Janeiro and "The Battle of Rio" Story Experience will likely hit personal notes in his narrative. Characters defending their homelands is a reoccurring theme in the series, even serving as primary motivations for D.VA and Zarya.
Homages to other influential titles are nothing new to Blizzard. World of Warcraft hosts a bevy of pop culture call-outs ranging from The Legend of Zelda to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Hearthstone recently winked at Destiny with a reference to the game's alien arms merchant, Xur. If that trend holds true, it seems likely that the new Rio map will give Counter-Strike some love as well.
After Blizzard's announcement that Echo will be the final new hero to arrive in Overwatch, fans are eager to know everything they can about the forthcoming sequel. And while all signs point to a release sometime later this year, an official date has yet to be announced.
Overwatch 2 is set to launch in 2020 for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
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