New Overwatch 2 mode Flashpoint features the biggest Overwatch 2 maps the multiplayer game has seen to date. In a developer livestream, Blizzard explains how it designed the mode, which arrives in Overwatch 2’s sixth season, to create an experience that feels dramatically different from the other game modes. Launching with two maps initially, Flashpoint will be coming to both unranked and competitive play when it arrives.
Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller and principal environment artist Daniel McGowan sat down with Blizzard’s Matt ‘MrX’ Morello to show off the new game mode, alongside an additional breakdown of upcoming features such as the Invasion PvE story missions, the Hero Mastery training courses, and the return of player levels and account-wide progression.
So how does Overwatch 2 Flashpoint work? Five capture points are spread across a large map. At the start of the round, one of these is chosen at random, and teams must fight to grab control of it and hold it to a count of 100, much like the way points work in other modes such as Control. Once a point has been won, another is chosen at random, and the first team to take three of them is declared the winner.
This means you’ll be traveling between points “in parallel” with the enemy, making for an unusual dynamic as you both head to the next zone. Indeed, perhaps if your team decides a point is all but lost, you’ll give up on that fight and instead set yourself up in the best position possible to control the engagement on the next point that’s chosen.
Keller says that Flashpoint maps are designed with a “quasi-symmetrical layout” to ensure “that they’re competitive, that they’re balanced, and that they’re fair.” Each of the points has a symmetrical layout for both sides akin to Control maps, and the spawn runtimes are the same for both teams.
You’ll get to explore two such maps when Flashpoint launches – the arid wasteland towns of New Junk City, and the lush greenery and architecture of Suravasa, in India. “We really tried to push the bar as much as we could with these maps,” McGowan explains. “They’re much larger than any other maps that we’ve built to date, and it actually allows us to bring in a lot more themes, so we can push more narrative.” There’s also room for some fun details – is that a JoJo reference? Yes, it is.
Suravasa, McGowan reveals, initially started life as an Assault map before being rebuilt and expanded to become a Flashpoint location once it was decided that the former mode would be discontinued ahead of Overwatch 2. Both it and New Junk City look quite impressive in size and scale, although Keller reassures us that a focus has been placed on ensuring players know where to go to get to the next capture point.
I’ve gotta say, I’m excited. Admittedly I am a huge Control fan, so a mode that expands more on that format rather than finding new ways to adopt Payload-style modes such as Push is more directly up my alley, but the concept is really interesting and I’m curious to see how the rhythm of combat will feel in action.
During the full event, which you can watch below, Blizzard also shows off some more of its PvE story missions, which it says feature maps four to five times the size of standard multiplayer maps. They won’t feature the character progression that was dramatically cut from the game, of course, but they do seem pretty meaty.
They also discuss event missions – these will take place on a variety of maps, including expanded zones within existing PvP maps such as King’s Row, and will be a more repeatable format that rotates between maps with various challenge modifiers, somewhat like the Archives missions from the first Overwatch.
Player levels are also returning. You’ll now earn emblems for heroes as you hit milestones such as time played, damage dealt, wins, and more hero-specific challenges (Reinhardt players, for example, will record things such as Charge pins, Firestrikes landed, and Earthshatter stuns and kills). These will net you a Hero level and corresponding name cards, and Keller confirms via Twitter that “the sum total of your hero levels will contribute to your total player level.”
Finally, we get a look at the Hero Mastery training mode, which takes me back to the days of Metal Gear Solid VR missions. These will have various difficulty levels, with timers and coins to collect that will net you a score for your performance that will be recorded on a leaderboard. Initially, just a handful of heroes will be available to practice, but more will roll out over time until the full roster is included.
It was recently announced that Overwatch 2 on Game Pass will give subscribers to Microsoft’s Xbox and PC service access to all six new heroes, including the upcoming support slated for season six.
Our Overwatch 2 tier list will make sure you’re using the best characters right now. If you’re looking to try something a little different, we’ve picked out the best FPS games on the market in 2023 for plenty of options.