Overwatch data mining implies winter event is in the works

Audio files suggest holiday theme and a new Arena

While most of the focus of the new update on Overwatch‘s Public Test Realm (PTR) has been on the changes to Symmetra, it looks like some other data for the upcoming patch may have given away Overwatch‘s next holiday event. Reddit user Venxa went digging through the patch’s audio files and discovered several new voice lines, as well as a remix of the game’s main theme:

It’s not a lot to go on, but similar audio files preceded the Summer Games and Halloween events. The theme has a lot of instrumentation that aligns with traditional Christmas songs, including sleigh bells and some high notes on a xylophone. 

I was talking with a few of the friends I play with, and we discussed which of the stages might get a wintery overhaul, something like what was done with the Hollywood map during the Halloween event. Both Nepal and Volskaya industries already contain plenty of crystallized, frozen water on the ground. But part of Overwatch‘s appeal is that its cast of characters are very inclusive, and Nepal is the home territory for Zenyatta, who appears to be a Buddhist. I think it’s more likely that Volskaya will be decorated with festive lights, presents and decorated pine trees, if only because it’s somewhat less likely someone would get offended.

In addition to the remixed theme, Venxa discovered several new character interactions and even some new voice lines from Winston’s digital assistant, Athena. Athena acts as Overwatch’s announcer, and you’ve heard her voice before every match, letting you know what map is loading and sometimes how much time you have left in a round. These new lines appear to point to a new mode, since Athena is referring to an Arena,

A Challenger,

and a Gladiator.

Overwatch gained a one-on-one versus mode in the last major patch, but all duels take place on the Ecopoint: Antarctica map. Whether the Arena Athena refers to is a new map, a new mode, or both is unclear at this point.

Getting back to the winter update, I think a Santa hat and white beard for Torbjörn is pretty likely, and I wouldn’t mind seeing D. Va’s Mech preceded by eight tiny reindeer. Mei and Mercy would make adorable elves, and Genji would make a perfect ninjabread man. I’d love to see Yeti Winston smacking around a tinsel-draped Bastion, and maaybe it’s just me, but I think Reaper would be perfect as the Queen of the Sugarplum Fairies.

Some Heroes interactions + SFX + Xmas Overwatch ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ [Reddit]

Kevin McClusky
I'm a longtime member of Destructoid, and you may have known me in a prior life as Qalamari. In other words, hi. I've been here a long time. There's a good chance I'm older than you. I write freelance articles for other publications, so you might see my name elsewhere occasionally. Disclosure: I wrote a paid testimonial for the Speedify VPN service in April 2017.