Blizzard’s Horizon teaser has grown into a full announcement today, an all-new Overwatch Assault map set on the Moon’s Horizon Lunar Colony. Jeff Kaplan even went ahead and created a new Developer Update video to accompany the map’s debut trailer, which should make clear the gravity of the update — pun intended. The Horizon Lunar Colony map offers a bevy of interesting features: unique gameplay opportunities, hidden story and lore, and the Moon.
The Horizon Lunar Colony map takes much of its inspiration from the animated short Recall, which gives a deeper look at Winston’s origins in Overwatch. The Horizon Lunar Colony served as a science mission where gorillas were experimented on. The gorillas are implied to have rebelled and the scientists escaped, but the whole story of the Horizon Lunar Colony has remained a mystery. Even the fate of Winston’s namesake, Dr. Harold Winston, is unclear.
The Horizon Lunar Colony will provide a modern look at the setting shown in Winston’s flashbacks during Recall. It appears the map remains almost frozen in time, providing a look into the status of the colony after the gorilla uprising took place. Jeff Kaplan says the following regarding what players can expect:
“We hope to tell more of this backstory through the contextual storytelling of the map: the things you run into, the areas you’ll explore. If you’re the type who is paying attention to detail and you watched the animated short that we called Recall, you’ll even be able to find Winston’s room in this map. When he was a little baby scientist growing up, you’ll be able to find his space.”
“You can read the computer screens to learn more about some of the other scientists. In some of the other spawn rooms you’ll see the space suits of the scientists and you’ll pick up on some of their names. And you’ll even pick up on some names and some potential mysteries of — some of Winston’s peers. Some of the other gorillas that were also part of the Horizon experiment.”
A great example of this is a large screen shown during Overwatch‘s Horizon Lunar colony map trailer, which shows the names of all “specimens” within the facility. Two of nine specimens are listed as “Not Found,” one of which is Winston. The second, Specimen 8 also known as Hammond, is likely tied to the mystery that Jeff cited.
Story and lore are just one part of what Blizzard’s delivering in the moon map. The other side of the coin is the fact that it’s a new map for Overwatch players to enjoy. Horizon Lunar Colony is a two capture point Assault map which leans heavily into verticality. Jeff also reveals that the map will feature altered gravity, though not on the main map point. Instead, the first point will have a flanking route that goes into space, which then has lessened gravity.
While low gravity felt a bit too “gimmicky” to be a major feature in the Horizon Zero Colony map, Jeff does understand that players are going to want to try it for themselves. When the new map launches, Overwatch will get a new Arcade title which will apply low gravity to any current in-game map, lasting for at least a week. Low gravity will also be an option for players to add in Custom Games. Jeff thinks low gravity is a bit too broken and silly to last very long in the arcade, but if people enjoy it then who knows what might happen.
Overwatch is currently available PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The Horizon Lunar Colony Map will be added to the game soon, in addition to the new low gravity Arcade mode and Custom Game option.