'Overwatch' Year of the Rooster: Capture the Flag mode explained in new developer update

Blizzard Entertainment

The new Overwatch seasonal event, Year of the Rooster, is now live on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Alongside the official reveal trailer, Blizzard released a new developer update video, a series in which Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan speaks directly the community about anything new going on in the Overwatch world.

In the newest video, he talks about the new Capture the Flag mode, called "Capture the Rooster." One of the more interesting revelations is that the Overwatch team has been toying around with a Capture the Flag mode since before the game's release.

Overwatch Year of the Rooster: Capture the Flag mode explained by Jeff Kaplan

The full video is embedded below, but we have a quick summary underneath if you don't have to time to watch it.

Source: PlayOverwatch/YouTube

Kaplan said the Capture the Flag mode was not included until now because it presented a series of design challenges.

"Overwatch works best when there's a single objective," Kaplan said. But Capture the Flag is different because there are two separate and competing objectives: You have to balance capturing the enemy's flag while simultaneously protecting your own.

Additionally, since some characters are more mobile than others, the team was unsure about whether certain characters would be overpowered. As an example, Kaplan used Tracer, who could theoretically blink quickly enough to pick up the flag at the start of the mode before immediately using her Recall ability to hop right back to her spawn point and score.

To combat this, Kaplan said the team considered banning any kind of mobility powers, but this just made the mode feel boring overall — it didn't really feel like Overwatch

"Instead of trying to overly balance and overly tune" Overwatch around these rules, Kaplan said, they took a more free-form, chaotic approach, allowing players to use all their abilities. The new mode "embraces more of what Overwatch is about, which is your awesome hero with your awesome abilities."

To make the mode a bit more balanced, you have to hold still on the flag for a moment or two, which is interrupted if you take any damage.

Kaplan said the team is eager to hear what players think about the mode, but Blizzard doesn't currently have any plans to add it to the quick-play or competitive mode rotation. If the feedback is great, they might consider bringing it back to the arcade mode, but that's probably a ways off.

The Year of the Rooster event — and by extension, the Capture the Flag mode — will be available until Feb. 13.

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