The countdown to this year’s gamescom is dwindling to just a few days, as the interactive games and entertainment trade fair will open its doors to the international gaming community next week. While the event incites excitement in its own right, what is sure to make gamescom 2017 even more hype-worthy is the recent announcement that Blizzard will debut a new Overwatch map and an animated short during the event.

At the time of writing, there aren’t any set-in-stone details on what exactly Overwatch fans will be seeing at gamescom. However, it has been confirmed that the all-new map will be unveiled in a preview video airing on Monday, August 21. For those attending gamescom, the new Overwatch map will also be available to play at the Blizzard booth.

Two days later, on Wednesday, August 23, Blizzard will treat audiences to the new Overwatch short on its main stage at the event. Fans at home can tune into a livestream (aptly titled the Blizzard Reveal Ceremony) aired through the Blizzard gamescom web portal starting at 12pm EDT / 5pm GMT / 6pm CET.

gamescom 2017 blizzard overwatch map animated short

In Blizzard’s terminology, animated shorts are computer graphics-designed, character-focused mini films. Past installments have centered around Widowmaker in her “Alive” short, Hanzo and Genji in their “Dragons” one, plus many more. The upcoming gamescom 2017 short marks the first since Sombra’s “Infiltration” was released last year, and by past remarks made by Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan, it’s perhaps the start of an avalanche of new shorts.

Earlier this year, Kaplan that a second season of animated shorts is in the works. During his explanation, he also admitted that he considers the first “season” to have truly wrapped up with “The Last Bastion,” the adorable origin story of Overwatch‘s blippy robot that premiered in August 2016. “The animated shorts are probably the thing that we have the most fun making,” Kaplan stated. “We really love working with our animation group and digging out the stories not tied to any constraints of gameplay — we can tell any stories we want. We plan to tell more of those. We’re hard at work on more of those.”

While Overwatch enthusiasts have been waiting a while for another animated short, they haven’t had any shortage of maps. Blizzard and the title’s team have been rolling out new ones at an increasingly frequent pace, with the Château Guillard Deathmatch map and the Lucioball arena releasing in the past two weeks alone.

blizzard gamescom 2017

In addition to the new Overwatch material, Blizzard is also lined up to release new looks and extra details on a handful of its games, including Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft 2. Here’s the full run-down:

  • Hearthstone
    • New Fireside Gathering features, including a playable group raid against the Lich King.
    • Hearthstone‘s Global Games Finals take place on August 25 and 26.
  • World of Warcraft
    • New details on the upcoming 7.3 patch on Wednesday, August 23.
    • WoW European Championship Finals take place throughout the event.
  • Heroes of the Storm
    • A new hero will be announced on Monday, August 21.
    • Heroes of the Storm: Showdown will be a live show including fights between community personalities and pros.
  • StarCraft 2
    • New co-op commander will be revealed on Monday, August 21.

blizzard overwatch gamescom map animated short

It appears that Blizzard will have quite the showing, especially with the new Overwatch animated short. Given Kaplan’s prior comments, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if the studio makes a surprise short-related announcement during the event, or even airs a second short. In any case, fans will likely be seriously impressed with what Blizzard has to offer at this year’s gamescom.

Overwatch is out now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Blizzard Entertainment