During a media briefing for Overwatch 2: Invasion, lead developers at Blizzard Entertainment spoke candidly about some of the challenges that came with attempting to push the long-running game forward with ambitious new modes and maps, while also continuing to make sure everything ran smoothly on legacy platforms – especially on the Nintendo Switch.
Overwatch 2: Invasion is a significant update to Blizzard’s multiplayer hero shooter, introducing story missions for the first time in the series.
In response to a question posed by Brad Norton of Dexerto, Jorge Murillo, a Senior Mission Designer at Blizzard, remarked that overcoming the technical challenges of developing the story missions for the Switch was ‘a pretty big headache.’
‘It’s been a pretty big headache. It’s pretty crazy how big these [maps] are – we had to develop new tools and systems to do a lot of memory cleanup,’ Murillo explained.
‘For the PvP maps, things are always on all the time, because players are around the whole time. But we had to [use] a lot of different tricks and things – basically, what I’ve been doing for the [Story] Missions is making sure I’m closing off sections, unloading parts of the map, and doing things like that, that we traditionally don’t have to worry about for PvP.’
‘But because these [maps] are so much larger, we had to do a lot of memory cleanup, and just be really conscious and smart with our optimisation, especially because we want to support Switch, and that’s like the biggest bottleneck that we have.’
Murillo ended the explanation on a positive note, however. ‘The nice thing is, if it runs on Switch, it’s gonna run pretty well on everything else. So it’s almost a nice bottleneck in a weird, roundabout way.’
Blizzard games have traditionally been quite good at scaling up and down to support a wide range of PC configurations – both powerful and not-so-powerful – so it’s nice to see this penchant for adaptability has not wavered.