Overwatch

Overwatch 2's Rio de Janeiro map inspired by classic Counter-Strike map

by Theo Salaun
Blizzard Entertainment

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Overwatch 2 will bring new maps, modes, and heroes to the popular title—and one of those maps has reportedly drawn inspiration from an iconic Brazilian custom map in Counter-Strike.

Unless you’re speaking about Valorant or CS:GO’s review system, Counter-Strike and OW are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. But FPS esports owes much of its history to Counter-Strike and, apparently, Overwatch 2 map Rio de Janeiro will owe some design influence to the legendary title too.

An award-winning custom map from 2001, cs_rio helped pave the way for CSGO's Favela map and subsequent iterations seen later in FPS games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Now, a friend of Blizzard’s Senior Environment Artist, Thiago Klafke, suggests that the influential map will be referenced in Overwatch 2.  

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YpeRKX0bho

Blizzard are no strangers to tropical cities, with Cuba’s Havana currently existing within Overwatch’s map pool as a colorful Escort map with palm trees, vintage cars, and rum galore. And OW is no stranger to Brazil, as everyone’s favorite healing DJ, Lucio, hails from none other than Rio de Janeiro himself. 

Lucio’s backstory is key to the map’s inclusion in Overwatch 2, as the map will set stage for a PVE Story Experience, “the Battle of Rio,” as well as a possible, albeit unlikely (given the map’s enormous size) PVP mode. Given Brazil’s role in FPS history and OW lore, including nods to cs_rio make for perfect easter eggs.

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While 2’s Rio de Janeiro may call upon some common design elements from cs_rio, like restaurants and favela homes, there’s serious potential for some amazing references. One that stands out is a playable soccer field.

The FPS already featured Lucio Ball soccer fields, with 2016’s Summer Games taking place in the city—so adding in a casually playable soccer field, like the one found in cs_rio, would be a pretty easy nod.

The other, more exciting possibility would be the incredibly rare meta easter egg. In cs_rio, you could break some random stuff, score a goal, and then see an alien (closely resembling Half-Life’s Nihilanth) above a building. While it seems unlikely that Blizzard will reference another game’s reference of another game, the possibility must be spoken into existence.

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Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch 2's Rio de Janeiro is already set to lean into Brazil's tropical climate.

As of yet, no one knows exactly what easter eggs and design elements will be discovered in Overwatch 2’s map pool—with only some preliminary PVE gameplay to dissect. One can hope that aliens will be making an appearance, but we’re still in the mystery X-Files phase before the big reveal. 

At the very least, though, it’s certainly exciting to know that Blizzard is invoking Brazil’s rich FPS history in their design process.