Hanzo is one of three Overwatch heroes who can glide across walls in the game. He can scale up them to get a better position to snipe his foes. However, what if he was able to run across them too? Well, that was the original plan Blizzard had in mind.
Both the Shimada brothers have the ability to climb up walls in Overwatch. It makes the duo a lethal threat for any backline, as they get the high ground advantage to rain fire over the tanks.
However, the brothers could have terrorized the Overwatch battlefields even more. To celebrate Overwatch’s fourth anniversary, the developers shared some of their favorite stories about the game — including the time Hanzo and Genji could ride walls like mountain goats.
Technical director Timothy Ford shared some footage from the early days of Overwatch testing. When Hanzo was “in early development,” his wall climb was meant to not just scale up walls, but across them too. This applied to Lucio and Genji, too.
“This video shows a proof-of-concept wall run that has evolved significantly since this early prototype,” Ford explained.
However, the developers ended up deciding on splitting the climb from the ride. “We eventually split the vertical wall climb (for the Shimada brothers) from the horizontal wall ride (for Lucio).”
According to Ford, creating the wall climb for the three heroes was tricky compared to other games. Given there’s hardly any straight walls in Overwatch, the character physics could get a bit janky.
“In Overwatch, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a wall that is perpendicular to the floor and ceiling,” Ford admitted. “It looks great, but it makes our wall-running arithmetic a bit spicy.”
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However, the end product they ended up shipping was smooth, and became part of the Overwatch experience for all players. Without the wall riding, we wouldn’t have Lucio rollouts, and Hanzo would have a hard time reaching high ground.
Would Overwatch devs ever look at implementing the full wall run for all three heroes? Probably not. If Genji and Hanzo could do that, they would be incredibly broken.
It’s interesting to reflect on just how those characters were designed though, and how different — or similar — the concepts are to what players see today.