What's new for Overwatch in 2017? Blizzard promising new heroes, maps and customisation (probably)

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has been talking plans for 2017. While it sounds like there's plenty being worked on for the future, when, or if ,you see any of it sound way less than certain. 

There's a lot of info in there but the most important takeaways from all that are...

There's at least one new Overwatch hero likely in 2017

Kaplan says that the team are "working on multiple new heroes" but adds the disclaimer that "we tend work on more content than we release because we prototype stuff and sometimes it fails or we go back to the drawing board." However, he says the team do have "have one hero that I think it very promising," adding that "we’ve started to move it through our art pipeline which means we’ve got a higher level of confidence in that than some of our other heroes."  

There's also at least one new Overwatch map on the way after Oasis

While Blizzard has revealed Oasis for an early 2017 release, Kaplan says the studio has other maps it's experimenting with. As with the heroes there's "one map we have a pretty good level of confidence in" that sounds like it could be an imminent contender. It's apparently a traditional game mode. But there's also "a bunch of experimental maps that we’re having a lot of fun with." Kaplan's not sure "if they’ll see the light of day" but talks about how "we’re trying new things with the maps and we are trying new game modes as well."  

The communication and spray wheels are getting more customisation and options

Both the communication and spray wheels will be getting a new control scheme that will allow you to access up to four addition voice lines, emotes or sprays. With voice lines/emotes it means you'll be able to access multiple options one after the other. As far as sprays go, you'll still only be able to have one active in the world at a time. 

You won't be able to force team chat but the game will 'strongly encourage' players to join

Apparently there's been a lot of requests to force people into team chats. Kaplan seems adamant that Blizzard "doesn’t want to forcibly move anybody from party chant to team chat" saying instead that "we want to strongly encourage players who are partied up to join team chat." That will be achieved via a button that’s very similar to the ‘stay as group’ one added recently.

Overwatch's esports options are getting a brush up

There weren't a huge amount of details here, only that there had been requests for improvements, especially with spectator modes and a viewer map. 

Overwatch is getting a server browser to help find custom games

Pretty much as it sounds: Blizzard want to make it easier for people to find custom games so they're working on a server browser. 

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Leon Hurley
Managing editor for guides

I'm GamesRadar's Managing Editor for guides, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.