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Overwatch's Dorado Map Was Accidentally Based On The Wrong Country

A future Italy map may end up having a distinctly Mexican vibe to it.


The games industry's annual DICE Summit is now underway, and today's event started off with a half-hour talk by Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan. He shared some interesting anecdotes, including one about the origins of the Dorado map.

As Kaplan explained, Blizzard knew it wanted to build a map based on a city from Mexico. The Mexican cities it was most familiar with--like Mexico City and Tijuana--didn't quite fit what it was looking for, which was an open, coastal city with hills and a lot of color.

Overwatch's Dorado map
Overwatch's Dorado map

"Being the utmost, top researchers in the industry, we went to Google Images and typed in--this is literally like, you can type this in right now on your phone if you want--'colorful Mexican town' is what we typed in," Kaplan recalled. "And we weren't even looking at the pictures; we were just looking at the thumbnails pictures. And we were like, 'This is it; this is perfect. It's so awesome. This is exactly the version of Mexico that we want to build.'"

"We hadn't even blown up the picture, but the one we talked about the most that really fit the greybox blockout of the map that we had, was this one right here [below], which was just gorgeous, this coastal, seaside town.

The image in question. Credit: Flickr user fihliwe
The image in question. Credit: Flickr user fihliwe

"After we completed the map--I think it was about two months after--someone came up to us and said, 'Why did you use Manarola, Italy as your reference for your Mexico map?'"

He cited this as a prime example of a point he made throughout the talk, which is that Overwatch "is not about the reality of what the planet is. Overwatch is much more about what we hope the world would sort of be."

He then followed this up by--perhaps jokingly--promising to do the same thing when it comes time to build an Italy map.

"I promise the citizens of Mexico, when we make the Italy map, we will only use reference of Mexico for that," he said.

Also during the chat, Kaplan provided some insight into the inception of Overwatch. Following the cancellation of Titan, the team had a six-week window that it used as an "ideation process." This was split up into two-week chunks, during which it briefly worked on two MMO concepts.

"We spent two weeks on an MMO that was in another Blizzard universe that we haven't made an MMO in--lot of choices for you to figure out which it was," he quipped. "Then we spent another two weeks on a brand-new MMO set in another, completely new intellectual property."

While this was happening, Blizzard was also working on the idea that would eventually turn into Overwatch. You can find out more about the creation of the game in our feature from last year.

Development on Overwatch continues, and it looks like a new character may soon be revealed. A blog post teased who it might be this week, although a formal announcement has not yet been made.

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