Ecopoint: Antarctica is potentially the location that most points toward a future Overwatch expansion in the game than any other map. More of that later in this article.
10 years ago, there was a rise on climatic changes affecting the world. These climatic changes were attributed to new technologies, increased consumption of resources, and even overpopulation of omnics. Unusual climatic disasters around the world, prompted Overwatch to establish several ecopoints at critical locations throughout the world in order to investigate the source. One of these was Ecopoint Antarctica.
According to the Overwatch Visual Sourcebook, Mei was assigned to the monitoring station to investigate the cause of drastic climatic changes in Antarctica.
Ecopoint: Antarctica Infrastructure
There are six core habitat modules in Ecopoint: Antarctica:
- Crew Quarters
- Cryo Lab
- Battery (contains the battery and servers)
- Climatology (monitoring station)
There are however 8 modules at the top of the mountain, which are not accessible by players, and a helicopter.
The 1v1 / 3v3 Arena map reveals the names of Mei’s colleagues. A malfunction in the cryonic system killed her hibernating crew. Their names are imprinted on the cryogenic pods:
- Adam (researcher)
- Macready (engineering)
- Opara (cryonics)
- Torres (cryonics)
- Arrhenius (climatology)
A catastrophic polar storm damaged the solar array tower powering the Ecopoint: Antarctica station. More specific, one of the module tanks within the tower — as seen in the Ecopoint: Antarctica image below.
There are two cylindrical modules in the solar array tower. The one damaged has a sticker that identifies it as #2. The Battery station has the same sticker. That means, the solar array tower was no longer powering the battery station. Thus, eventually the battery couldn’t sustain to power most of the station’s electronics.
The Battery station says Battery power low. Solar array critical damage. Battery power: 7%. Alert: Storm Incoming. Temperature: -43C.
In the Crew Quarters, Mei kept track of the available resources, leaving a note on the refrigerator concerning the supplies remaining:
- 28 cups of noodles
- 10 liters of water
- 7 packets of tea
- 13 protein bars
The footnote of this note estimated there was enough nutrients for the team to last merely 4 days.
When food and resources started to dwindle, the crew decided it was best to enter their cryogenic chambers hoping that Overwatch would eventually find them. However, Overwatch was disbanded, their headquarters blown, and Jack Morrison was thought dead. All Ecopoints were shutdown, and thus no one came to their rescue for 10 years. Mei was the only survivor rescued.
Mei is now dedicated to power up the other abandoned Ecopoints in search of answers surrounding the climate phenomenon.
It might be a crew joke, but it might be possible that Blizzard is hinting at what is causing the climate changes around the globe. If that’s the case, then something tells me there might be an expansion taking us to that next step.
There is a map in the Climatology monitoring center showing the location of Ecopoint: Antarctica, a Relay Station with signal disrupted to the far east, and south of the relay station is a blinking yellow dot marking an anomaly detected. Looking at the climate monitor the storm is coming from the east.
The funny thing is that there is a written note, just inches away from the “anomaly detected” hologram. The note says: “What’s causing the anomaly? Global warming. Unexplained phenomenon. Aliens!!!”
We have a hero with supernatural abilities from beyond death: Reaper.
We have a talking gorilla with a PhD in physics: Winston.
We have a sentient Omnic with special spiritual views that differ with those of the Shambali: Zenyatta.
We have a mystical-powered ninja and samurai.
We have Talon pursuing control over ancient mythology ruins and artifacts in Ilios. Potential new hero.
Overwatch. Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities.
How long before Mei’s efforts seeking answers surrounding the climatic anomaly uncovers an alien threat attempting to destroy humans from within?
If the note in Ecopoint: Antarctica is a hint of things to come, that rises a lot of questions. Will there ever be a single player campaign? We know that after the demise of Project Titan, Overwatch was rushed for release in flash time record since its announcement. There was no time for a single player experience. That doesn’t mean there can’t be one at a later point.
If there is an alien threat, that means new enemies. Maybe another faction other than Overwatch and the Talon. That also means, there might be sympathetic aliens as well that might become our allies against a galactic threat.
Let’s not forget there were already two hints at alien life out there: Hollywood and Route 66.
Hanmura is an Assault map located in Japan. Attackers fight to capture two objectives. Defenders hold them off until time runs out. This colorful land and its cherry blossoms is dwarfed by the tall Fuji mountain in the background.
In real life, there is a restaurant named Hanamura, and a location in the far western side of Japan named Hamura — but 12 hours away from Mount Fuji. Thus, the Overwatch map is mostly a fictional location near Tokyo. In japanese, Hanamura means “Village of Blossom Flowers.”
“Hanamura is a well-preserved village of unassuming shops and quiet streets, known mostly for its idyllic cherry blossom festival every spring. But to those who know its history, Hanamura is the ancestral home of the Shimada ninja clan, which had grown over the centuries to become a powerful criminal organization. As its neighboring cities expanded, Hanamura was encircled, and eventually it was incorporated as a district within a larger city. For now, the imposing compound of the Shimada family lies empty, but that peace may soon be broken.” — Overwatch Visual Source Book (Overwatch: Collector’s Edition)
The Temple of Anubis is an Assault map located in Egypt. Attackers fight to capture two objectives; defenders hold them off until time runs out.
“Nestled among the ancient ruins of the Giza Plateau on the outskirts of Cairo, the Temple of Anubis is one of many new excavations in the area. While most believe that the site is of interest for archaeological reasons, it also hides the entrance to a research facility that extends deep beneath the earth. The facility is alleged to house an artificial intelligence, but the whole truth is known only to a select few. Not even the agents of Helix Security International who guard the facility know what they’re protecting.” — Overwatch Visual Source Book (Overwatch: Collector’s Edition)
King’s Row is located in London (England). It is an Assault / Escort (hybrid) map. Attackers first capture a payload, then escort it to its destination. Defenders attempt to hold them back.
“King’s Row is an upscale, cosmopolitan neighborhood of London, but just beneath its peaceful surface, tensions between omnics and humans are running high. While much of modern England was built on the backs of omnic laborers, they have been denied the basic rights that humans have, with most omnics forced to live in the dense, claustrophobic city-beneath-the-city known by some as “the Underworld.” Of greater concern is that recent demonstrations by pro-omnic-rights protestors have resulted in violent clashes with the police, and a solution is nowhere in sight. Many of London’s new buildings were constructed by the omnic labor.” — Overwatch Visual Source Book (Overwatch: Collector’s Edition)
Nepal is a Control map where two teams fight to hold a single objective at a time. The first team to win two rounds wins the match.
“Years ago, a group of omnic robots experienced what they described as a spiritual awakening. They abandoned their preprogrammed lives to establish a monastery high in the Himalayas, where like-minded omnics could gather to meditate on the nature of their existence. Led by their spiritual leader, Tekhartha Mondatta, they took over the ruins of an ancient monastery and turned it into the home of the Shambali, a place where omnics and humans alike make pilgrimages in the hopes of finding a greater truth.” — Source: Overwatch Visual Source Book (Overwatch Collector’s Edition).
Nepal is composed of three maps, going from bottom (village), middle (shrine), and top (sanctum).
- Nepal: Village
- Nepal: Shrine
- Nepal: Sanctum
Volskaya Industries is an assault map located in Russia, and the manufacturer of the massive human-piloted Svyatogor mechs that independently liberated the country from the Siberian omnium crisis without the help of the Overwatch organization.
“Russia was one of the countries hit hardest by the Omnic Crisis, but during the rebuilding process, it rode the wave of the mechanized labor industry’s revitalization and entered a period of rapid growth. However, after recent attacks from the long-dormant Siberian omnium, Russia has returned to war footing, guarding its sparkling cities with the massive, human-piloted Svyatogor mechs developed and produced by Volskaya Industries.” — source: Overwatch Visual Source Book (Overwatch Collector’s Edition, page 153).
The Lijiang Tower is a Control Map located in China. It is unknown if it is related to the Lijian city located in the Yunnan Province. That real-world Lijian city history goes as far back to the Warring States Period (221 B.C.). The local economy reached its peak during the Tang Dynasty with the construction of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road (formerly Silk Road) which opened trade between the Burman, Sichuan, Shangri-la, Tibet, and Yunnan Provinces, and extended through Iran, the Fertile Crecent and the Mediterranean Sea.
There is currently no hero associated with Lijiang Tower, but there is speculation that one of the founding members of Overwatch, Liao, might join Overwatch at a later time. If so, Lijiang Tower lore might be introduced via Digital Comics and/or Animated Short when Liao or another local hero gets introduced.
“Lijian Tower was built in the heart of a modern Chinese metropolis, its busy streets lined with stores, gardens, restaurants, and famouse night markets, where foods from around the region are available at all hours. The tower itself is home to one of the leading companies in China’s state-of-the-art space industry, Lucheng Interstellar, an organization with a long pioneering history that is currently pushing the boundaries of space exploration.” — source: Overwatch: Visual Source Book in the Collector’s Edition, page 133.
Two teams fight to hold a single objective at a time. The first team to win two rounds wins the match. Lijiang Tower is a control map with three locations:
- Lijiang Tower: Night Market
- Lijiang Tower: Garden
- Lijiang Tower: Control Center
Ilios is an Overwatch control map located in a Greece archipelago (a set of islands near each other). You can see at least four islands surrounding Ilios. There isn’t much lore about Ilios in the Overwatch universe, nor a Greek Hero. However, at some point Blizzard Entertainment might add a Greek hero and a digital comics to introduce lore about this place.