Overwatch 2 launches next month, and Blizzard has now revealed the final new hero coming to the game, as well as a brand new map.
Both Kiriko and the brand new map Esperanca, Portugal will be available when the game launches on October 4, and in a group interview Video Gamer attended, we got to find out a little more about both.
Speaking to us were Overwatch 2’s art director Dion Rogers, narrative designer Kyugseo Min and senior hero designer Piero Herrera. Here’s everything we learned from our chat.
Overwatch 2 new hero Kiriko
Kiriko is a support hero hailing from Japan. She’s a daring Ninja character that’s nimble – like Genji – but has more healing abilities to help her team.
However, unlike most support heroes, she’s also been designed with some damage in mind, which was a deliberate move, revealed art director Dion Rogers. “Part of Kiriko’s design is kind of to entice damage players to play a support hero.”
In fact, she started off as a PVE character, but when plans changed to “decouple” the game’s PvE and PvP modes and first focus on PvP – the team liked the work they’d done so far for her so much, they retooled her for PvP.
“I think we landed on something really interesting that a lot of damage players will enjoy, playing as this hero while being able to have a pretty powerful healer amongst the team.”
Her abilities then, include Healing Ofuda as a primary, that sees her throwing out slips of paper that home in on allies and heal them.
Then, her secondary – Kunai allows her to deal damage, with 12 of these at her disposal. “What makes the Kunai really special,” Piero Herrera told us, “it can crit, so players that are really good at aiming are going to be able to do a lot of damage with the secondary fire.”
Her other abilities are based on movement. These include Swift Step, which allows her teleport large distances to allies, and even through walls. Then her Protection Suzu can shield teammates and Kiriko herself from damage and effects for a limited time.
Finally, her Ultimate – Kitsune Rush – will project a path of torri in front of her – this ability buffs her and her allies with increased movement, attack and reload speed – and a cooldown reduction on other hero’s abilities for a limited time.
Lore-wise, there’s of course some overlap between Kiriko’s and existing ninja heroes Genji and Hanzo.
“Kiriko’s mother is a very esteemed ninja – and she actually trained Genji and Hanzo” reveals narrative designer Kyugseo Min. “And Kiriko’s a young girl trained alongside Genji and Hanzo.”
“So to Genji and Hanzo, they look at her like a cute niece that trained alongside them. And with Genji and Hanzo’s falling out, she felt that.”
Overwatch 2 new map Esperanca, Portugal
The new map, meanwhile – is a Push mode map set in Portugal. It’s a sunny space, somewhat reminiscent of the sunny Mediterranean maps from Overwatch 1.
It’s been designed specifically with Overwatch 2’s new mode in mind – so while it’s very symmetrical (to keep things fair) – it still allowed the art team to have fun with the design of the architecture.
“So one side of the map feels a little bit more like it’s under repair or under construction,” says Rogers, “we use a lot of reds. While the other side uses cooler blues and more complete construction on the architecture.”
Portugal joins Toronto and Rome as the latest maps for the new Push mode at launch. The map, Rogers says, will be relatively wide open around the push-bot, offering a lot of opportunity and requiring teamwork to make the most of.
The Clock Tower will give players a height advantage, and allow teams to keep track on the position of the Push-bot on the map.
Overwatch 2 – new battle pass, Season 1 and more
Overwatch 2, going free to play, will introduce a new way for players to get heroes with the introduction of a Battle Pass.
For the first season, anyone who already owns Overwatch 1 and logs into the new game before Season 2 will get a Founder’s Pack that allows them to get Kiriko for free as well as the two other new heroes: Sojourn and Junker Queen.
Those who don’t get her this way will be able to earn her – and subsequent new characters – by reaching Tier 55 of the battle pass.
However, new heroes will always be on the free track, so you won’t have to buy it to get her. If you do buy the battle pass mind, you’ll unlock her immediately.
The team says that this new switch didn’t really have much impact on the design of the game or its heroes. “We kind of focus more on creating the best game we can make,” says Rogers.
“We just don’t have any shortages of ideas – and as players of the game, we see the ideas that we have and we want to get them out.”
“I think this allows us to just create more – we’re a bigger team, (..) and it just feels so good because… we have a backlog of ideas we can get out there, test and reveal.”
The team mentioned this change hasn’t factored too much into the design of heroes either. “We’re always looking for the fantasy of a hero. This comes first, we do this first before designing anything.”
“We draw cool drawings, look at what type of hero we want to be or the type of fantasy we’re trying to get across, and then that’s how we choose the next steps for the designs of our heroes.
Overwatch 2 is set to launch on October 4 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC.
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