Overwatch is nearly due another new hero, and speculation is building as to who the game's next playable character - the 32nd hero in the roster - will be.
While Blizzard haven't offered any recent hints about who is next in line to join the game, previous release patterns and statements about what they're working on allow us to make some well-educated guesses about who the hero will be, when they'll be released, and even what role they might play.
Here's everything we know or can speculate about the next new hero so far.
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 Blizzard certainly could change that pattern if they wanted, the next scheduled release is the most consistent of the lot, as it’s the one that’s revealed at BlizzCon.
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.
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.
While Overwatch hasn’t really expanded upon its story past the Recall animated short, we’ve been provided lore in the form of comics, short stories, in-game events, and even the occasional forum post.
As we patiently wait for Hero 32 to be officially revealed, there are plenty of potential for characters that have already been established to make their way into the game as a playable addition.
From Talon, Overwatch, Junkers and more. The game has numerous factions which provide potential clues for who is next up and ready for release. Here's a look at some of the candidates.
While they haven’t given any clues as to which specific hero is coming next, Blizzard have confirmed in the past that several known characters are being developed as heroes.
It’s very possible that one of these characters will finally appear in-game as hero 32, although 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.
This female Omnic-looking creature first made an appearance at the end of the Reunion animated short. In the short, the slick cybernetic hero who was on board a crate on the derailed Route 66 train and placed on the payload by the Deadlock gang and Ashe.
Eventually, Jesse McCree fights off the gang and reactivates Echo, who had been asleep or in some sort of hibernation mode for some time.
The short ends with McCree driving off and telling Echo to “say hi to the monkey for me,” referring to Winston.
Aside from some affiliation to Overwatch and its past, nothing else is really known about Echo from a lore perspective, but developer Joshua Noh said in an interview that the team will “definitely make her a hero at some point”.
At Blizzcon 2018, Game Director Jeff Kaplan told Atlanta Reign streamer Fran that Echo was a hero they had been developing and building up and they have “big plans” for.
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.
Sojourn is also a new character just introduced to Overwatch in the last year, during the Storm Rising event. Technically she’s appeared in the game before, but Storm Rising was the first time players heard her voice and were really exposed to the character.
She only appears as an image on a screen during Storm Rising, where she’s the commander of Winston, Tracer, Mercy and Genji’s strike team in Havana. Jeff Kaplan has confirmed, however, that Sojourn has been in the works since before Overwatch was even released, so it's very possible that now she's played a significant in-game role, she may be on her way to finally being a playable character.
Just what her abilities or kit would look like remain a complete mystery, but based on the reaction to Sojourn in the Overwatch Community, she would be pretty popular right away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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 10, 2019 at 5:30 AM EST
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