Overwatch

Overwatch artists reveal how they decide which heroes get event skins

by Bill Cooney

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Since Overwatch came out, one of the biggest questions players have had is how developers decide which heroes get new skins for the game's seasonal events. Now, we finally have an answer, thanks to the concept artists who design the cosmetics themselves.

Hero skins are a topic that comes up every time a new event is announced in Overwatch, with most people wondering why their favorite hero (read: D.Va) has been passed up yet again for new cosmetics.

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Now, more than four years after release, we're finally getting some answers from the Overwatch team themselves about how they go about determining which heroes are next in line for new skins.

In an official Blizzard blog post, Overwatch concept artists Kejun Wang and Daryl Tan talked about how they go about deciding on each new skin's theme, and what inspires them to create cosmetics for specific characters.

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Lifeguard Pharah is arguably Overwatch fan's favorite skin from Summer Games 2020.

"Usually, I review different themes to figure out which ones will work for certain characters," Wang explained. "If we take, for example, the Overwatch Summer Games event, I will lay down pictures of different sports or summer activities and see which one of those has recognizable aspects."

"Then, I will create some ideation sketches to see if any of those themes have the potential to work for the character we pick," he continued. "For instance, if we are designing a skin for a more armored character like Brigitte, maybe a swimsuit won’t work very well."

There are several different factors that go into deciding which hero gets which skin, as well, including visual appeal, how appropriate it would be for the character, and how the final product will look.

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Where a lifeguard skin might not suit Brigitte, a heavy fishing outfit certainly does.

"We decide on each theme based on a few things: how engaging and strong the theme is, how visually appealing the end result could be, and how appropriate the theme is for that particular hero," Tan revealed. "For Pharah, we were initially inspired by the water pressure jetpacks in hydro sports, which we thought would be a strong visual for her. Layering the lifeguard theme on top of that tied it all together, as it was a great fit for her character and added a lot of interesting visual elements for us to play with."

While that's all well and good, it still doesn't explain why certain heroes have never been blessed with event skins before. Take D.Va for example, who has never seen gotten a Halloween Terror skin. You'd think there would be plenty of spooky ways to make her MEKA appropriate for the season, but apparently they just haven't found the perfect one yet.