During this year’s annual DICE Summit, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan discussed lots of aspects related to the team-based shooter during a half-hour talk, including how Blizzard accidentally used the Italian city of Manarola as a reference point for the style and design of the Mexican-themed map known as Dorado. Kaplan explained that Blizzard was sure it wanted to create a map based on a city from Mexico for Overwatch, but the cities it was most familiar with – Mexico City and Tijuana, for instance – were not the right fit for the kind of flair the studio wanted the area to exude, which was that of an open and colorful coastal city.
As reported by GameSpot, Kaplan admitted to Blizzard’s development team being somewhat lazy in regards to doing actual research prior to the creation of Overwatch‘s Dorado map, with the director revealing that the studio simply went to Google Images to find inspiration. As a mater of fact, Kaplan even provided the precise search terms used to look for the exact style Blizzard wanted for the map – “colorful Mexican town,” to be specific –and it led to the team deciding upon a design similar to the Italian city of Manarola in the image found further below from Flickr user Fihliwe.
“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. 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.”
Hilariously enough, it seems as if Blizzard wasn’t even aware of its mistake until a while after the Dorado map’s creation, as a person from outside of the company pointed out the similarities between the Overwatch area and the Italian city. Kaplan said, “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?'”
Kaplan made sure to point out how Blizzard’s decision to create Dorado based off of a loose inspiration of the photo of Manarola, Italy was a prime example of a point he made throughout the talk at this year’s DICE Summit, which was that Overwatch provides an idea of the studio’s idealistic version of what the world could look like. As it happens, Kaplan said that the game “is not about the reality of what the planet is. Overwatch is much more about what we hope the world would sort of be.”
While such a mix-up might have been an embarrassment for other developers, Kaplan took the mistake in stride and even kidded around about it, saying in a joking manner, “I promise the citizens of Mexico, when we make the Italy map, we will only use a reference of Mexico for that.” Although the statement was surely made in jest, with Blizzard currently working on fresh content in the way of “multiple new heroes” and seasonal events, the game could very well end up seeing the studio follow through on the conceit by providing a new Italy map with Mexican styles just as a wink and a nod to its legions of fans.
Naturally, though, Blizzard has yet to actually confirm if Overwatch is due for a new area, as the studio seems to be focused more so on including a fresh hero first, with the developer having recently offered up a character tease earlier this week in the form of a blog post hinting at the addition of a young robotics expert named Efi Oladele. With this being the case, it’s quite possible that Blizzard could end up adding a map related to her, or perhaps one for the other oft-rumored hero, Doomfist.
Overwatch is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.