Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has revealed that Sojourn has been in the works as a hero since before the game was even released.
The 2019 iteration of the Archives in-game event, Storm Rising, introduced a new character in the form of Sojourn, an Overwatch captain who directs the Strike Team as they attempt to capture Talon accountant Maximilien.
Nearly three years after the game’s release, this is the first time that Sojourn has been named, but according to Jeff Kaplan she’s been in development for much longer.
During a discussion with a few Overwatch streamers after the release of Storm Rising, Kaplan revealed that the development team had actually been working on Sojourn since before the game’s release, perhaps as early as 2014.
Kaplan also touched on the team’s approach to new heroes, some of which – like Wrecking Ball, Ana, and Sojourn – had been in development long before the release of Overwatch, while others like Moira and Baptiste were newer ideas that the team liked and therefore prioritized.
The statements also appear to be absolute confirmation that Sojourn is indeed intended as a hero and will eventually be playable in-game, rather than being a peripheral supporting character.
Jeff Kaplan, paraphrased: Hammond was developed before OW was released. Sojourn began development in 2014 or 2015. Some heroes are "newish" (Orisa, Moira, Baptiste), but others (Ana, Hammond, Sojourn (?)) are significantly older. Team tends to pick what they feel like making. pic.twitter.com/yN32zCxeRL— Gabe and Jack (@SegadorYSoldado) April 23, 2019
Though Storm Rising is the first time that Sojourn has appeared in-game, it’s not technically the character’s first appearance in the surrounding lore.
Sojourn’s very first appearance was actually in the first animated short, “Recall”, which sees Winston debating whether he should recall the members of the disbanded Overwatch and fending off an attack from Reaper.
When Winston ultimately decides to initiate the recall, a series of calling cards appear on his screen, cycling through a variety of identifiable Overwatch heroes such as Tracer, Genji, and Reinhardt, before flashing through images of several more unknown characters who aren’t identified by name. One of those characters was Sojourn.
Sojourn appeared again a few months later with the release of the very first post-launch hero, Ana. In her origin story, a young Ana is seen alongside several Overwatch heroes, including Mercy, McCree, and Soldier: 76, as well as two unknown characters – one of whom can now be identified as Sojourn.
Kaplan didn’t elaborate on how long it might be before Sojourn is actually added to the game, but it has been confirmed that neither she nor Echo, who appeared in the Reunion animated short, are the next hero.
With hero 31 due in July, that leaves the next available slot for a potential Sojourn release at BlizzCon in November 2019. Whether or not she’ll be next in line or have to wait even longer remains to be seen, however.