Blizzard has revealed a surprise new Overwatch map titled Kanezaka, which apparently has some Overwatch 2 Easter eggs. Overwatch 2, the sequel to the massively popular online multiplayer game, was initially announced at last year's BlizzCon. Since then, not much else has been disclosed about the game. However, Overwatch is still an online powerhouse, and it even made its debut on the Nintendo Switch last year.
More recently, Blizzard has shown off this year's upcoming Winter Wonderland event, which it's held every year since 2016. This year will feature a brand-new game mode called Freezethaw Elimination, a 4v4 match in which players will work together to completely freeze the opposing team. There will also be various skins to unlock, as well, such as Penguin Mei, Elf Junkrat, and Gingerbread Ana, to name a few.
Through a Developer Update video on the official Overwatch YouTube account, Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed a surprise new map. The new Free-for-All map, which is called Kanezaka, is set in Japan just beneath the existing Hanamura map. Kaplan says that players can even spot Hanamura's castle if they look up. Players will also be able to see some Overwatch 2 Easter eggs - which will evidently make sense when the sequel is released - and learn more about the Shimada brothers. "There's a lot of contextual storytelling we're doing in this Free-for-All map," Kaplan explains.
Kanezaka will enter a public testing realm later this month and will fully release in early 2021, possibly January. As Kaplan details in the YouTube video, Kanezaka was made by a new team member named Morton, and the map impressed the team so much that they decided to add it to the game. Kanezaka even includes a cat café, which includes the pet cats of various Overwatch staff members.
This news came out of nowhere. Although Overwatch has recently added the new character Echo and has an upcoming Winter Wonderland event, it's been quite some time since Blizzard has added a new map to the game. It's been safe to assume that the people at Blizzard have been dedicating all of their energy to Overwatch 2, so the announcement of Kanezaka is surprising to say the least. Surprises aside, it's exciting to think that Overwatch fans could be playing this as early as January.
Additionally, no one knows what new, narrative-based information fans may able to deduce from Kanezaka. As Kaplan himself said, there are several Overwatch 2 Easter eggs hiding in the new map, so passionate fans will likely get to work as soon as this map releases. It's been a while since Overwatch 2 news, and Kanezaka is probably hiding some important details. Until then, however, fans can look forward to playing a new Overwatch map early next year.