Gonna start talking about Michael Chu’s presentation at GDC 2017. He talked about building the world and characters of Overwatch. It was actually an extremely informative discussion and I would encourage everyone to watch it.
I’ve uploaded this screenshot separately for research and reference purposes. I figured it would be handy for anyone trying to figure out what the real world inspiration or locations were for some of the maps (in case you want to research: weather, environment, time zones, etc.)
King’s Row, London - now that we have Uprising, we know that much of London modernized after the Omnic Crisis. These buildings were built by Omnic laborers who were not given proper rights as citizens.
Hanamura, Tokyo - authors or artists may want to consider placing the Shimada compound in a historic district or area within Tokyo
Volskaya Industries, St. Petersburg - This is located extremely far from the Siberian Front (Krasnoyarsk)
Dorado, Veracruz, Mexico - more specifically, the Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant seems a likely inspiration for the LumériCo Power Plant. Due to the confirmation that Veracruz is “Dorado’s canon location,” the in-game map of Dorado’s location is incorrect (location is too far north). The maps found in the Soldier: 76 Origins video and the Uprising comic are more accurate. Note that the actual aesthetics of the map are based on a town in Italy named Manarola.
Deadlock Gorge, Route 66, New Mexico - there is really not a particular location where Route 66: 1) is within the vicinity of Santa Fe, 2) has a bridge like that, and 3) also crosses a historic street of Route 66. The closest real world inspiration for the bridge is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
Ilios/Santorini - Would’ve been real hard to see the Colossus of Rhodes from Santorini, but I suppose the statue in-game is meant to be a different colossus or a replica anyways.
Eichenwalde, Black Forest - possibly based on the Hohengeroldseck,
Hohenzollern, or Hohennagold Castles
Oasis, Arabian Desert, Iraq - based on a sci-fi version of Babylon. The Gardens map is meant to be a reference to the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” and the “tower under construction” is a reference to the Tower of Babel. My personal theory is that it may also be based on Lovecraft’s “A Nameless City.”
Other maps not discussed:
Shambali Monastery, Himalayas, Nepal - possibly based on Paro Taktsang, Bhutan or Kee Monastery, India. Note that my guesses are based on the aesthetic designs of the Monasteries, and not on their direct locations.
Temple of Anubis, Giza, Egypt - while relatively straight-forward in terms of location, this should probably at or near the Giza Pyramid Complex.
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California - I’m gonna be That Downer, but this is not what Hollywood looks like in the present day, lol. The real world locational inspiration for this is Grauman’s Chinese Theater/TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The entrance to the movie set appears to be based on Universal Studio’s iconic entrance. Universal Studios is located rather far (as opposed to the like…one block up, one block over it is in the game). Authors or artists may want to consider putting Gabriel Reyes/Reaper’s background or home in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Numbani, Nigeria - It’s a little difficult to determine if there’s an exact inspirational source for Numbani. Based on the Uprising map and Soldier: 76 Origins video, Numbani is probably centrally-located in the tropical savanna zone of Nigeria.
Lijiang Tower, China - Overwatch design artist Arnold Tsang has said that Lijiang was inspired by Chongqing, China at night.
Not only were they shut out of pools and beaches, blacks couldn’t eat, sleep, or even get gas at most white-owned businesses. To avoid the humiliation of being turned away, they often traveled with portable toilets, bedding, gas cans, and ice coolers. Even Coca-Cola machines had “White Customers Only” printed on them. In 1930, 44 out of the 89 counties that lined Route 66 were all-white communities known as “Sundown Towns”—places that banned blacks from entering city limits after dark. Some posted signs that read, “N—–, Don’t Let the Sun Set on You Here.”
Excerpt from The Roots of Route 66 by Candacy Taylor.
The Blue Swallow Motel on old Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico. The vintage motel has been lovingly restored to the aesthetics of its heyday. An earlier post documents my visit to the place. Undated photo by Fred Henstridge on Panoramio.