Blizzard could be teasing Hammond as the next Overwatch hero.
References to the character found in the updated Horizon Lunar Colony, which is currently on the Overwatch PTR, have sparked renewed speculation around the possibility of Hammond as a playable character.
Like Winston, Hammond is a genetically-enhanced Gorilla who was being studied at the Horizon Lunar Colony. The project ended violently with an uprising by some the gorillas, with the scientists being killed. Only one gorilla, Winston, was originally thought to have made it to earth.
When the Horizon Lunar Colony map was originally introduced to the game, however, Blizzard teased another ape, Hammond, who was reported to have escaped his cage shortly before the uprising. It was discovered that in the “modern day” of the game’s lore, Hammond was no longer to be found there.
The original hints prompted heavy speculation that Hammond would be a new hero, but it was instead the Horizon map that was added to the game.
The recent changes to the map, however, have once again thrust Hammond into the spotlight, with the addition of new rooms, one of which belonged to Hammond. In the room, blueprints and toys hint that Hammond was able to escape the colony by hitching a ride with (a potentially unwitting) Winston.
Details of Hammond beyond this are limited, although it’s speculated that he could be a smaller ape. What he’s been doing since reaching earth, whether he’s a “hero” or really a villain, and what he might be capable of in-game, remain a mystery.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Blizzard has teased a new hero via a map update. Prior to the release of Doomfist, one of the earliest hints that he was coming was the disappearance of the Doomfist gauntlet from its original location on the payload, and other hints of the aftermath of its theft.
So far since the release of Overwatch, a new hero has been released every March, July, and November, with the most recent being the addition of Brigitte on March 20th 2018. If that track record is anything to go by a new hero should arrive towards the end of July, meaning that now is about the right time for the first teasers.