Overwatch has changed a lot since its May 2016 debut. The team-based multiplayer FPS has been updated with new characters, game modes, and tools like the Game Browser. One thing that won't change any time soon, however, is the fact that you can't make your own maps for the fast-paced shooter. But never say never--Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan said on the official Overwatch forums that the team could eventually release a map editor to the public.
Map editors can help keep players interested long after they've grown tired of exploring the same locations over and over again. They can also help people appreciate the care that goes into designing and balancing a multiplayer map. It's kind of like Nintendo's Super Mario Maker: You probably won't design a better level than 1-1 from the original Super Mario Bros, but it's fun to try, and even more fun when you make something other people enjoy. (And, yes, we know that map editors were around long before Super Mario Maker, but that game introduced level creation to a whole new audience.)
The trick is adding a map editor to something as new as Overwatch. Here's what Kaplan said in his post about the possibility of doing so in the future:
We are extremely open-minded about releasing a map editor for Overwatch someday. But because Overwatch was made with a brand new engine, this is not a small task or one which can happen any time soon. We have this on our long-term road map and believe heavily in user-made content. But there are many challenges ahead of us and it will be a very long road before our editor can be made available to the public.
Blizzard has shown before that it wants to give Overwatch players the freedom to do what they like. The Game Browser introduced in February, for example, was designed to give you "the power to create your own games, change the rules, and make your creations accessible to a much wider range of players" and give other players "the tools to find your games and participate." A map editor would complement the Game Browser pretty well.
The good news is that an Overwatch map editor seems more like a question of "when" than a question of "if." In the meantime, Blizzard has kept busy with a new character named Orisa and her looming debut, changes for the fourth "season" of competitive play, and more. If the lack of a map editor isn't a deal breaker for you, Overwatch is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. (Don't expect it on the Nintendo Switch any time soon.)
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.