A group of professional artists have banded together to bring Taako from “The Adventure Zone” Dungeons & Dragons podcast to life as an Overwatch character model—and the results are stunning.
The McElroy family, famous for the “My Brother, My Brother and Me” and “The Adventure Zone” podcasts, are national treasures with a penchant for the ridiculous. Overwatch, with angel-winged witches and gorilla scientists, shares said affinity for the outlandish.
It was only fitting that someone would eventually pair the two, but who knew they would do such a good job of it.
Justin McElroy’s character in The Adventure Zone is a lovable Elven wizard named Taako, famed for his wits, kleptomania, and Umbra Staff—an umbrella that he uses to cast spells, akin to a magic wand.
Danny Sweeney, a senior character artist for Warhammer, teamed up with Rich Carey (concept artist), Darrol Moore (character rig), and Theo Bonora (animator) to create an absurdly accurate version of Taako for Overwatch.
Their design fits the game's exact aesthetic, with bright colors and an eccentric look. But so does their attention to detail, as they’ve slightly adapted his staff to fit the game a little more closely than traditional D&D mechanics would offer.
I'm Taako. You know, from Overwatch?!
Here he is, finally, placed and rendered as if he were a playable character in the game.
Thank you so much to all those involved, and to those who took an interest in this amazingly fun project.#thezonecast pic.twitter.com/Q7DZOjh5Pt
— Danny Sweeney✨ (@Dann_Sw) May 10, 2020
Aside from simply being a fun project that delights whatever crossover fans these two worlds may have, this spurs certain interesting questions about how feasible the introduction of a character like Taako could be for Overwatch.
As a D&D wizard, Taako’s principal ability is the Magic Missile: a spell that casts magic darts that do damage dependent upon your level and the RNG of your dice roll. While an RNG-dependent attack may be too luck-based for a competitive FPS, the prospect of an ability leveling up is intriguing.
The latest hero, Echo, has a Focusing Beam that ramps up in power against enemies and shields with less than half health. That sets a precedent for contextual abilities, so the premise of a Magic Missile attack that delivers more damage the longer the hero is alive (or however else they are determined to theoretically level up) is alluring.
As an addition, Sweeney and the guys granted Taako’s umbrella a hybrid shield function. This provides him with a modest shield to “hide behind while he casts spells.” From an in-game perspective, a hero like him could actually be an innovative fit for the game.
From a lore perspective, it’s a no-brainer. Sure, Taako is from a different world entirely. But he has outstanding morals (sometimes) and is headstrong, therefore a perfect fit for the ambitious Overwatch team and a cunning nightmare for Talon.