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Overwatch’s holiday event returns next week with new Mei-focused mode

Jump into Mei’s Yeti Hunt

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

It’s that time of year: Overwatch’s seasonal event for the holidays, Winter Wonderland, returns Dec. 12 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, developer Blizzard Entertainment announced today.

As usual, the event will offer a number of seasonally appropriate legendary skins, although Blizzard isn’t revealing them just yet. In a developer update video, which you can watch above, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan did confirm that at least three heroes will receive holiday-themed skins.

“A long-awaited Hanzo skin that you’ve seen before in one of our comics is coming to life,” said Kaplan. He added that holiday skins are also on the way for “two of our favorite Junkers” — i.e., Junkrat and Roadhog.

The centerpiece of 2017’s Winter Wonderland event is a wild new Arcade mode called Mei’s Yeti Hunt, which Kaplan said was the result of Blizzard wanting to “try something different and fun.” It’s an asymmetrical multiplayer mode: Modeled after a boss fight à la Evolve, it pits five Meis against one “yeti,” Winston. Set on the Nepal map, Mei’s Yeti Hunt does still focus on characters shooting each other — but there’s a twist.

The person playing as Winston has to run around the map picking up meat to build up his ultimate ability, Primal Rage. Everyone playing as Mei tries to find Winston and take him down. But once Winston triggers Primal Rage, the mode flips: It becomes all about the Meis attempting to escape before Winston can kill them. Mei has a new ability that’s specific to this mode, Ice Trap, and she can use it along with her usual Ice Wall to fend off the yeti. If Winston dies, the Meis win; if enough of the Meis die, Winston wins.

“I know a lot of you are thinking it sounds kind of silly and kind of ridiculous,” said Kaplan of Mei’s Yeti Hunt. “And, well, I’m here to tell you it absolutely is.” Kaplan added that many of Overwatch’s seasonal brawls are simply designed to be fun, lighthearted and refreshing Arcade exercises that are available for a limited time.

In addition to Mei’s Yeti Hunt, this year’s Winter Wonderland update will offer the Mei-focused mode from last year’s event, Mei’s Snowball Offensive. Blizzard has moved that six-on-six gametype to Black Forest, and has given that German map a new holiday makeover. (The snowball fight will also be available in its original setting, Ecopoint: Antarctica.) Last year’s holiday passes for King’s Row and Hanamura are also returning for Winter Wonderland 2017.

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