Jeff Kaplan has explained why new-release DPS hero Echo will be the last character added to Overwatch’s roster for the foreseeable future, as Blizzard turns its focus to development on the FPS title’s long-awaited sequel.
Echo has finally arrived to much fanfare in Overwatch, with players able to get their hands on the new-look damage hero on the PTR now. She’s been slapped with a tiny nerf to her flight, but overall her arrival has been celebrated.
This may be the last time players get to experience the hype of a new hero release though. Blizzard developers have confirmed Echo will be the last release in Overwatch. At least, the last to appear in the franchise “for now,” Kaplan said.
Overwatch 2 development nips new heroes in the bud
According to Kaplan, the processes surrounding upcoming sequel Overwatch 2 have meant the first Overwatch release is being shelved design-wise. With story modes, new characters, and more coming in OW2, it’s all hands on deck.
“I don’t think we’ll see more heroes for Overwatch. We’re heavily focused on Overwatch 2 at this point” Kaplan admitted in a video with Stylosa after Echo was released. He did, however, add there were more heroes “on their way” eventually.
“We know how much people love new heroes. We’re making new heroes for Overwatch 2. There is development happening, but we don't want people's expectations in the wrong place — for now, we will not be getting another Overwatch hero," Blizzard's vice president confirmed.
New tanks & supports will be released in OW2
Kaplan added to this line of thinking in an interview with French media too. The famous dev figurehead added “the sooner OW2 is out, the better.” This means all ongoing Overwatch 1 developments, including heroes, were shelved.
This was confirmed by lead character artist Renaud Galand. He revealed in an interview with French streamer Alphacast the dev team “wanted to release another hero before OW2,” but now it looks like it “probably won’t happen.”
That’s not to say there won’t be more heroes on the horizon, of course. Anything added to the upcoming sequel will also land in the base game too, Blizzard has previously confirmed. This will include new heroes, maps, and balance changes.
Kaplan also revealed Blizzard does have more tank and support heroes on the way post-OW2, now Echo has been released: “We have multiple tanks and supports in development. We know that more tanks and supports are needed.”
For mobile readers, the related segment begins at 3:33 in the video below.
How long it will be before we see those new characters — more than half a dozen, according to Kaplan — still remains a major mystery though.
According to leaks, Overwatch 2 is expected to arrive on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC this year. This does line up with Galand’s suggestion we’d see the new heroes in Autumn. There has still been no official release date penned in just yet.