With BlizzCon approaching on November 1-3, Blizzard are expected to make major announcements about the future of Overwatch, among which should be the game's next hero.
The next hero joining the Overwatch ranks may have been revealed after a report by ESPN revealed several details about the upcoming announcement of Overwatch 2.
The report by Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau initially stated that Echo would be the game’s 32nd hero, but he has since claimed that it is “likely untrue”. In the wake of the ESPN report, further leaks have suggested that Sojourn may in fact be the next new character.
Sojourn is an Overwatch commander who was first revealed as part of the Storm Rising mission for this year’s Overwatch Archives event. The character was technically first seen all the way back in the original Recall animated short, however – albeit only briefly flashing up on a screen – and has been in the works since before Overwatch even released. It seems at last she might finally soon be a playable character.
Meanwhile, Echo, a mysterious female character who appears to be an omnic of some previously-unseen kind, was first introduced in the Reunion animated short, which debuted at BlizzCon 2018. Reunion saw McCree fighting the Deadlock Gang – helmed by Ashe, who proved to be that year’s new hero – for control of a crate housing Echo.
McCree describes Echo as “partner” and sends her to answer the Overwatch Recall initiated by Winston. Blizzard were quick to confirm that while Echo wasn’t that year’s hero, she would be joining the roster eventually, and it seems that time has finally come.
With Blizzard apparently set for a major reveal in the form of Overwatch 2, it’s also not impossible that the sequel could prompt them to add more than one new hero at once for the first time, so fans may yet see both heroes in-game by the time Overwatch 2 releases.
So far, nothing is yet known about what the role or abilities might be for each potential hero.
When will hero 32 be released?
So far through Overwatch’s lifespan, Blizzard have kept fairly strictly to a consistent schedule of three heroes per year, with each usually falling in a particular release window. While the announcement of Overwatch 2 could affect that pattern, if anything it seems more likely that multiple new heroes will be revealed at BlizzCon than none at all.
BlizzCon is Blizzard’s annual convention where they lay out plans for existing titles and upcoming projects, with major announcements often reserved for the event. For Overwatch, it’s always included the introduction of a new hero.
This year’s BlizzCon is taking place on November 1-2, so players can expect the next hero to be revealed by then and likely arrive on the Public Test Realm (PTR) very shortly after. New heroes typically spend three weeks on the PTR before going live.
What role will hero 32 play?
Exactly what kind of hero might be released at BlizzCon is less predictable, as Blizzard have no set order for releasing heroes of particular classes.
That being said, the developers have historically tended to avoid repeating heroes of the same class back-to-back, and with Sigma having been released most recently, a new tank might not be likely. With Baptiste coming before him, technically the Damage class is most due a new hero.
The recently-introduced role queue might change that pattern, however. The Damage role already has the most choice of heroes, and on a more meta level Blizzard hardly need to encourage more players to queue for Damage. It wouldn’t be too surprising, then, to see Tanks and Supports favored for the next few hero releases as the roles are balanced out a bit.
Other hero candidates
While it seems highly likely at this point that Hero 32 will be either Sojourn or Echo, it's still possible that Blizzard could have a surprise up their sleeves, perhaps even with multiple heroes to reveal.
There are certainly plenty of potential characters that have already been established who Blizzard could choose from to make new heroes, so here's a look at some of the other candidates, from those that Blizzard have confirmed will one day be playable characters to the wildest of fan theories.
Confirmed heroes in the works
Blizzard have confirmed in the past that several known characters are being developed as heroes – two of which are Sojourn and Echo, who are now front-runners as number 32.
Nevertheless, it's still possible a different hero might be revealed either in place of or alongside one or both of those two. Blizzard could also introduce an entirely new character as well – Sigma, for instance, came out nowhere as hero 31, despite several of the following candidates having been confirmed as future heroes prior to his release.
Mauga was introduced in Baptiste’s “What You Left Behind” short story in June. Before Sigma was a thing, he was the favorite for a lot of people to become the next new hero after Baptiste.
That obviously didn’t happen, but the Baptiste short story did provide a possible preview of his kit - which seems pretty similar to Sigma’s. If the story is anything to go on, Mauga can deploy defensive shields, but also attack from range with his twin cannons.
He also bears a striking resemblance to the Talon Heavy Trooper from the Storm Rising and Retribution Archives events. Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan even confirmed that Mauga would be a future hero in Overwatch, but didn’t specify when we could expect to be able to try him out.
Potential hero candidates
Beyond those that have been confirmed as future heroes, there are also several known characters in the Overwatch universe who could well be made into playable characters at some point.
The Junker Queen
While Overwatch already has two “Junker” characters in the form of Junkrat and Roadhog (three if you want to count Wrecking Ball), it’s lacking a female representative and support presence as the others are Damage and Tank(s).
Not much is known about the Queen of the Australian scrapyard, except for bits and pieces of lore provided in-game, official machinima and the odd tidbit from those working on the game.
What we do know is the Queen is charismatic, formerly a gladiatorial mech champion in the scrapyard, and rose to power on the back of that fame, leading the Junkers in that area.
We also know that Junkrat and Roadhog stole her ‘treasure’ and were exiled from Junkertown as a result and then failed to assassinate her when they returned.
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Posters of the queen can be found throughout the map depicting a somewhat armor-clad woman holding what appears to be a melee weapon of some sort suggesting that this could be her primary weapon.
Jeff Kaplan teased back in April 2019 that the team has done some concept work for The Junker Queen, making it likely she'll appear eventually, but so far there's been no confirmation that she's definitely becoming a hero.
One of the most demanded heroes ever since his appearance in the Doomfist Masquerade comic, Maximilien is a classy suit-wearing, Talon-affiliated Omnic.
As far as story presence, Maximilien has been name-dropped and shown many times such as at end of the Retribution event. In a voice over, McCree says that “new faces stepped up to fill the void” left after Blackwatch killed Talon’s Antonio Bartalotti. As he speaks, an image of Maximilien is shown on a screen.
We first heard Maximilien’s voice in the Storm Rising event which takes place six years prior to Recall. In it, Tracer, Genji, Mercy and Winston chase the Omnic antagonist through Havana and eventually apprehend him. Afterwards, he makes a deal with the four and provides information of the whereabouts of Doomfist, which leads to his arrest in Singapore.
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Thus far, there are no clues as to what abilities Max may possess as he doesn’t seem like much of a fighter. This could result in him having a very different play-style than most heroes in the game if he is indeed intended to be a playable character down the line.
One of the more interesting and unique fan theories is that Antonio – yes, the same Antonio that Gabriel Reyes shot point-blank with a shotgun in Retribution – could make a come-back as a playable character.
While Antonio is currently presumed dead, Reddit user Cyber_Artz made a compelling case that the Talon boss could eventually be the realization of one of the early hero concept designs that’s so far been unused.
The character in question has multiple cybernetic enhancements, including a face mask attached to tubes which could well be keeping him alive after the injuries he sustained at the hands of Reyes. He certainly wouldn’t be the first character to return after being believed dead – the likes of Genji and Reaper himself have survived supposedly fatal injuries.
The Vishkar Corporation has been established as a player in the Overwatch universe with the likes of Symmetra, who works for the company and utilizes their tech, but so far, no other hero has made use of this technology.
Korpal can kill two birds with one stone by being both a member of Talon and an official at the Vishkar Corporation as he was present at the Talon meeting in the Masquerade comic as well as one in the Moira origin story.
Given the fact there is so much more that the developers can do with the light technology and Overwatch hasn’t had a builder character in quite awhile, Sanjay is a clear candidate.
That and having someone evil to offset Symmetra in the Vishkar faction would be a welcome touch.
The mysterious Omnic at the end of Storm Rising
Not much is known about the shadowy figure who meets with Doomfist in Egypt after the end of the Storm Rising mission.
Some believe the Omnic may have ties to Null Sector, the terrorist group that operated out of the UK and were the antagonists in the Uprising event.
Considering Null Sector hasn’t really been heard from after Uprising, rendering their story rather pointless, having this Omnic serve as an affiliate after revenge would be a good way to tie everything together.
What we know is the potential hero is introduced shortly before Doomfist’s arrest in Singapore which takes place after the Storm Rising event which takes place six years before Recall.
As we wait for more information to flesh out the plot and backstory, given the way this character was introduced, it seems likely that Blizzard has big plans for him.
Beyond those characters who could plausibly be future heroes, there are also a few characters from the game’s lore or known concept work that some fans might like to imagine playing as one day, but who currently seem unlikely to actually make it into the game.
D.Mon/Other Meka Pilots
D.Va’s Shooting Star animated short and the control map Busan gave us a look at the other MEKA pilots besides D.Va. They all could be heroes in their own right, but one other pilot in particular has caught people’s eye - D.Mon.
D.Mon and D.Va were one the same esports team in Overwatch lore, which is why they have such similar tags. Creative Overwatch fans have already fully rendered D.Mon’s Best Mech, which looks like it could be one of the largest character models in the game if it were ever added.
Overwatch fans definitely wouldn’t mind another MEKA to roll around in, but developers haven’t said one way or the other whether D.Mon or any of the other pilots will become heroes. Given how similar in concept and design the other MEKA pilots would likely be to D.Va, however, it seems unlikely that Blizzard will introduce another any time soon.
If we want to put on our tin foil hats for a second, this could mean a MEKA pilot Overwatch spinoff game is in the works, but that is just pure speculation.
Jetpack Cat was one of the early hero concepts for Overwatch, but developers thought a cat flying around with rockets was too wacky, then they went and made Wrecking Ball.
The character has basically become an inside joke for Overwatch fans, with references to Jetpack Cat popping up in any discussion about upcoming heroes. The feline also made an appearance in Brigitte’s Origin story, in the shot where she’s making armor for her cat in Torb’s workshop.
Chances are we’ll never see Jetpack Cat as a hero, since we already have a literal hamster rolling around in a mech, but it’s still a great Overwatch meme.
In what is either a massive troll job by Jeff Kaplan or a genuine lore drop, the Game Director revealed in a September 28, 2017 forum post that someone named Ray pilots the dropship spawns on King of the Hill Maps.
The comment came after user SomebodyElse made a thread titled “who pilots the dropships” and elaborated saying “You know, those big white ones used for capture point maps... The ones with the basketballs in them.”
Kaplan’s response was short and added no additional context: “Ray.”
All we know for now is Ray is someone who exists in the Overwatch universe and pilots ships.
Despite only being a hero design concept for Titan - the MMO project that would transform into Overwatch, Mama Hong has been a popular fan favorite ever since her reveal at the 2017 Blizzcon Overwatch Archives Panel.
During a developer streamer with content creators OhNickel, Fareeha and Nateson, it was revealed that Mama Hong was the second most controversial hero behind Hammond.
Just the idea of a cigarette-smoking Asian woman with hair curlers being in an FPS game is incredible. Plus, her concept art listed an ability as “manslaughter” although it had no further info on what it would do.
With Overwatch still going strong after its 2016 release, any of these are on the table for the game’s next hero. Only time will tell who emerges out of these or from out of blue.
Last updated: October 28, 2019 at 2:40 AM EST