Overwatch: The Map

12 different maps

Overwatch is game developed by Blizzard Entertainment released today, 5/24/2016. It belongs to the newly coined genre “hero shooters” which is a traditional multiplayer first person shooting where players choose skillsets based on characters instead of classes.

The story has been in development for some time and knowing Blizzard’s handiwork, it’s probably consumed a large amount of resources. I’m personally, glad to see them developing their fictional universe in a setting using real geography that we, the fans, are familiar with and inhabit.

The following are the different arenas and locales spread across the Earth:

Temple of Anubus – This is located in the famous monoment park in Giza, Egypt. It’s a fictional building but the Pyramids that shadow it and the Giza plateau it’s situated on are both very real.

Hanamura – This is a picturesque location with budding cherry blossoms and classical Japanese architecture. This fictional city itself could be any metropolitan suburb in Japan. The direct translation of Hanamura is “Flower Village”. For the purposes of our georefrencing, we’ll use Tokyo for this location since it, along with Kokkaido, are the two most famous places for viewing the cherry blossoms in reality.

Voklskaya Industries is a near-future representation of a Russian heavy industry production plant. The fictional plant converts “omnium” into “Svyatogor”, mechanized fighting exoskeletons. Any large industrial center with infrastructure and access to Siberia can fill the role of this town for georeferencing purposes. Novosibirsk is the biggest city in Siberia with 1,5 million people in 2012 [1]. For the purposes of our georeferencing, we’ll assume Novosibirsk grows into the industrial powerhouse that is home to Voklskaya Industries.

Gibralter is an easy point to map. What’s interesting about Overwatch’s Gibralter is that it seems to have changed hands. In Overwatch, the former British territory serves as a base for the organization of the same name. This international Gibralter is an interesting concept and illustrates the importance of the strategic positioning that Gibralter occupies at the mouth of the Mediterrainian.

Dorado is a fictional city in Mexico. It’s set upon a sweeping bay and features a large power plant that is reminiscent of a mayan pyramid. For the sake of our georeferencing, we’re going to assume this town exists in reality by another name. I settled on Campeche, a city known for its lighted streets, mirrored in the eternally nighttime map of Overwatch’s Dorado. It’s on the Yucatan peninsula, within a the historic Mayan territory and reach of the ruins, possibly providing the local inspiration for its fictional power plant. The Bay of Compache is a feature of the southern Gulf of Mexico and it perfectly fills the discriptor of a sweeping bay in Overwatch’s Darado.

Route 66 is a historic highway in The United States and is the subject of many cultural creations and fanciful folklores.┬áThis highway, once known as the “Main Street of America” sweeped south and west from Chicago to Los Angeles. In Overwatch, the map features some very familiar looking canyon formations. Maybe it’s Flagstaff?

Lijiang Tower is a beautiful skyscraper set in a luminescent, futuristic, East Asian city. It has a real life counterpart, a Lijiang city, in the Yunnan province of southwestern China. The beautiful Lijiang Tower in Overwatch might be in this relatively quaint Chinese town. Currently, in real life, hovering around 1.5 million people, it is a relatively small player in the game of Chinese Metropoli. How this rather humble city becomes the bustling spaceport city with Lijiang Tower nestled in the center is still yet to be seen.

Ilios is a lightly colored seaside town complete with scenic cliffs and ocean breezes. It’s fictional, not appearing on any world maps of modern or historic Earth. It likely is inspired by the many islands of the Aegean sea. Illios, meaning “sun” in Greek, is definitely an appropriate name for this Island. It may be a reference to the legendary city of Troy; Illion. This would put this map in modern day Turkey which contradicts the Greek flag adorning the map. For mapping purposes this is what we are going to assume.

An appropriately geographically named map, Nepal, makes an interesting appearence. How to a group of sentient robots who have experienced spiritual awakening, it has one of the most unique backstories of the map. It’s name, however, is quite vague. It’s a monastary tucked away in the Himylayas. These most famous real life counterpart would arguably be Tengboche a village over 12000 feet in altitude and home to a Buddhist monastery. It’s located in the northwest region of Nepal and is prone to earthquakes. My research hasn’t show any current robot residents so Overwatch’s iteration might still be some time in the future. Let’s just hope the new electronic denizens are shock resistant.

King’s row is a street in a what appears to be a futuristic London. A high tech Big Ben can be seen in the distance and it’s sporting the flag of the United Kingdom.

Numbani, hoiwever, isn’t as easily identified. Situatied along Africa’s west coast, it could be the future iteration of a number of cities spanning Ghana to Nigeria. The flag that accompanies the map is not a real-world flag. It could be a city state. We’ll assume it is a futuristic Lagos. It could also be a futuristic Accra. It could be a new city state entirely.

Hollywood is the easiest location to georeference. It exists in the real world and the world of overwatch.

[1] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=POP&f=tableCode%3A240