When Overwatch 2 launched in October 2022, it debuted a brand-new PvE mode called Push. Reactions were mixed, with some players happy to have a new way to prove their superiority in battle, and others frustrated by its core concept: Push a robot across a map until it’s in your enemy’s spawn point. But with Overwatch 2: Invasion, we’re getting another new game mode called Flashpoint—and I think everyone’s gonna like it.
I got a chance to play just a few rounds of the new mode during a hands-on preview. Here’s how it went.
Overwatch 2 Flashpoint preview
Flashpoint is, essentially, Overwatch 2’s version of Hardpoint, a Call of Duty mode that’s been around since Black Ops II. At the start of the match, a single control point will open up in the center of the (rather large) map which teams will have to fight for control over. After a squad successfully holds the first, central point, one of four other points scattered across the map will randomly open up, sending players on a mad dash to cap it for their squad. The first team to cap three points wins.
What makes Flashpoint so unique isn’t just its frantic, non-linear pace, but the makeup of its maps. Suravasa and New Junk City, both of which are launching with the Invasion season on August 10, are huge and completely symmetrical. “These are the biggest maps we’ve ever built in this game,” game director Aaron Keller said during a press presentation on July 25.
That size allows for a lot of variety when it comes to modes of attack—in certain moments you may be in a tight space and will want a close-range fighter like Reaper or Tracer; in others you’ll have a clear view down a far stretch and would prefer Widowmaker’s scope or Ashe’s semi-automatic rifle. The symmetry of each map also means there’s a lot of omni-directional combat, with players fighting at capture points, enroute to capture points, and near each other’s spawns. “You gotta keep your head on a swivel, there’s all kinds of flank routes,” said principal environment artist Daniel McGowan during a press roundtable.
The biggest complaint about Push, the mode that dropped with the launch of Overwatch 2, is that it can feel like an endlessly uphill battle if you fall behind early on, as the bot is pushed so far into your zone it’s tough to turn the tide and make any headway in the other direction. I asked McGowan and lead level designer Ryan Smith how they thought players would react to Flashpoint. “Flashpoint is a very balanced mode…I don’t think that it’s going to be divisive in any way,” Smith assured me. “There’s definitely the ability to turn it around late-game with player swaps, and if you have good map knowledge, closing off a couple of critical paths, or getting some really quick picks, if someone was off by themselves—I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for players,” McGowan chimed in.
Though my time with Flashpoint wasn’t the most accurate depiction of how the mode will play when it launches on August 10 (we were on a test server of just media and content creators and it was hard to find enough people to fill a match, so I played several with a mix of bots and humans), I can confidently say that this mode is going to be a lot of fun—especially for highly competitive players like myself.
Not only are the new maps gorgeous (Suravasa, which is set in India, is particularly breathtaking with lush foliage, bright flowers, and shimmering architecture), but they’re dynamic and well-balanced as well. There’s an almost Halo-style feel to being able to sprint ahead through a flank point, come out behind the enemy squad, and let loose a barrage of bullets into their ass cheeks. The points’ randomization adds some much-needed variety to Overwatch 2’s PvP, but Blizzard has also ensured that there are two spawn points for each team that change based on where the active point currently is—so no one is getting an unfair advantage. “We’re making sure all of those things are meticulously balanced,” McGowan said.
Flashpoint drops with the sixth season of Overwatch 2 on August 10. It won’t be available in competitive modes just yet (boo), but Smith and the team are hoping it’ll be in the rotation “as soon as possible.” Same.