Players will travel to Antarctica and have a chance to interact with local fauna.
Overwatch 2 season 3 is expected to start on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and it's bringing several changes to matchmaking, battle passes and in-game currency, among other features. The changes sound great, and I don't want to downplay them. But I also don't want to bury arguably bigger news: The game is also adding a new map called Antarctic Peninsula, and that new map has penguins in the environment.
Antarctic Peninsula will be the game's first new control (sometimes called king-of-the-hill, or KOTH) map since Busan was released in September 2018. In fact, it's only the second control map the game has added since launch. As with all maps of this type, it'll include three submaps: an icebreaker ship, a mining sublevel, and the laboratory where Overwatch hero Mei and her colleagues worked. In some ways, it's an expansion of the Ecopoint: Antarctica arcade map.
Season 3 is shaping up to be a pivotal season for Overwatch 2, which is closing out its third month post-release. We won't get a new hero this season, but the developers are making changes to the game's matchmaking to address player complaints that games are neither balanced nor particularly fun. The changes, detailed in a developer blog, aim to balance teams more evenly by role. The requirements for competitive updates -- when you get your updated rank -- will also be lowered from seven wins/20 losses to five wins/15 losses. These updates should be significant improvements in regard to some of the community's biggest pain points.
But I want to go back to the penguins. I can't truly say they're a better or more exciting addition than the other changes. Matchmaking really needed some adjustments. But it's a fun little detail that's in line with the bright future Overwatch attempts to inhabit. (We asked if you can interact with the penguins. You can. We asked if you can shoot at the penguins. You can. One person asked if you can kill the penguins. Thankfully, you can't.)
And the penguins aren't the only fun detail players will find in the map. In media interviews, the developers talked about updating their shaders so you could leave footprints behind and draw in the snow. And Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie hinted that the new map may also answer long-standing questions like, "Why didn't Overwatch rescue Mei and her team?" and also hint at other pieces of lore.
Blizzard is expected to release more information about season 3 ahead of its start next week.