“All of our maps are beautiful works, and Hanaoka pushes that even further.”
BlizzCon 2023 revealed that the new Overwatch 2 Hanaoka map will arrive in the future alongside the Clash game mode. The Overwatch 2 team later sat down at the Anaheim Convention Center to talk about the inspiration behind the upcoming map and teased some Overwatch 2 Hanaoka lore. Read on for details!
Overwatch 2: From Hanamura to Hanaoka
During a panel, Overwatch 2 associate art director Peter Lee shared how the Hanaoka map will be a new section of Hanamura. He also talked about the careful design and Easter eggs that went into it because the team wanted to preserve Hanamura's identity. Additionally, Lee noted that the previews on stage are works in progress.
"I still remember the day that I created this concept," Lee said. "I was walking down the back alley of a [street in] Japan with [Google Maps]. And I got obsessed about a small mom and pop store. And I was thinking, 'Yes, let's expand this world with our lands.' It was a magical moment that I cannot forget. Just like that, Hanamura was one of the first locations that really made the team feel, 'This is it. This is Overwatch.'"
The vision for Hanamura became clear afterwards. However, the Hanamura map got removed from Overwatch 2 due to challenges involving its game mode. The Assault game mode, also known as Two Capture Point (2CP), proved difficult to balance. Ever since Hanamura's removal, the Overwatch 2 team had wanted to find a way to bring it back.
Instead of Hanamura, however, the new map's name is Hanaoka. In Japanese, Hanaoka means "flower hill."
Overwatch 2 Hanaoka lore and story
According to Lee, the Overwatch 2 team wanted to reintroduce Hanamura without making it feel artificial. To do this, they created Hanaoka as a new section of the map. Hanaoka is a street that's adjacent to the original Hanamura location.
"When you play this map, you can even see some [sections] of the original Hanamura map in the backdrop," Lee explained. He then referred to the screenshot of it on the BlizzCon 2023 stage.
"There's a famous Rikimaru Ramen shop, and you can see the gate right behind it. So when you play this game, you should be able to tell where you are roughly," he added. The gate refers to a chokepoint in the original Hanamura map.
"During this process, we also made a few new assets that can hint at those stories," Lee said. "You have the Shimada clan and the Hashimoto clan and also Kiriko's Yōkai group and many others."
Another example of how Overwatch 2's Hanaoka map showcases lore through environmental storytelling is a mural featuring a tiger and a dragon. While the tiger represents the Hashimoto clan, the dragon represents the Shimada clan.
For context, the Hashimoto clan took control over Hanamura after the dismantling of the Shimada clan. The Hashimoto clan also assassinated Hanzo and Genji's father, who was the Shimada clan's leader.
"So we created this new wall painting [to] subtly [melt] the story into our environment," Lee said.
Walter Kong, Overwatch 2's general manager, agreed. He noted the dedication and joy that Lee and his team had put into the new Hanaoka map as well. He then emphasized how excited he is for everyone to experience it.
"All of our maps are beautiful works, and Hanaoka pushes that even further," Kong said.
That's all for now. Stick around on esports.gg for more news and updates!