Overwatch’s PTR patch brought an unannounced improvement to the game’s audio system. The update fixed some issues that should make it easier to hear incoming footsteps and sounds from behind walls, according to audio director Scott Lawlor.
Lawlor mentioned that the developers found a bug with the game’s occlusion system. “This is the system that muffles sounds when they are behind walls,” he said.
The glitch made its way to the game when optimizing it for its Nintendo Switch release. “The calculations were wrong and we were muffling sounds much more than was intended,” Lawlor said.
The bug was brought to Lawlor’s attention through player reporting. A comprehensive post on the Blizzard forums listed several instances of audio-related bugs, including players flanking with no footstep sounds and following the movement of training bots from different positions. “The sound weirdly cuts off, which should not be the case,” the author said.
The two-week-old post also said that a temporary fix was available on the PTR by changing languages, but it would only last for a single loading of a map. Quitting to the main menu would cause the issues to reoccur.
The audio fix should make its way to the live servers alongside Patch 1.45, which will also introduce the controversial hero pools. The new feature will disable a handful of heroes on a weekly rotation in ranked play and aims to keep the meta more fluid. The update is scheduled for release on March 5 and its Overwatch League debut should happen just two days later on March 7.