Starting with BlizzCon 2019, the usual Overwatch development window has gone off-script. In years past, there has been a regular schedule for hero releases as well as events. While the Winter Wonderland event launched and ended on predicted dates, the major thing missing thus far has been no new hero announcement.
When Will They Be Announced?
Since the release of Overwatch, there has been a brand-new character released roughly every four months. Starting with Ana in July 2016, Blizzard has put out a new hero in July, November and March. Sometimes the July and March releases shifted to late June and February. The November release has remained consistent due to BlizzCon regularly taking place during that month every year.
But the 2019 BlizzCon saw no new hero. There was the cinematic trailer for Overwatch 2 as well as a gameplay demo of the new mode. A future new hero, Soujourn, appeared in the cinematic and was confirmed as playable down the road with the release of Overwatch 2.
This deviation from the schedule leaves plenty of room for speculation. Will February/March see a hero release, or will they forgo that too? They already announced that there will be no new Archives event story content this year as they are lumping that in with Overwatch 2. There will be at least one new hero before the new game releases, so if the new game is set to release BlizzCon 2020, a March hero release would be a solid halfway point. But there is no telling when the game will release, so if it is Spring of 2021, the hero release would be more likely in July or November 2020.
Who Could It Be?
There is more than plenty speculation as to who the next hero will be. As mentioned earlier, Soujourn will not be the next hero, and thus will be releasing with the new Toronto map in Overwatch 2. But three more heroes seem to have equal claims to vie for the next release.
First is Echo. She was seen first in early concept art, but had no appearance until the Reunion cinematic alongside McCree and Ashe. She likewise made an appearance in the Overwatch 2 cinematic trailer as she helped to fend off the Null Sector forces. According to Jeff Kaplan, she will play a large role in the new storyline, but in an interview with Game Informer he refused to give any details about her or her release.
Second is the Junker Queen who has been long-speculated as coming as a playable character. Kaplan gave fans a bit of hope in his annual Yule Log stream on December 24. During this stream, he discussed her while building a Junkertown LEGO set, saying “What would she be? She’s not going to be Support, right? That doesn’t make a lot of sense”. So if and when she enters the game, she would be either a damage or tank hero.
The third potential new hero is Mauga: a relatively unknown character until Baptiste’s “What You Left Behind” story. He was a former Talon buddy of Baptiste who was a heavy assault trooper. Initially intended to be hero 31, they realized that the abilities they made did not fit him. They then adapted and made Sigma the new hero. That being said, Kaplan mentioned that they would love for Mauga to be playable down the line, with big plans for him.
But ultimately, the obvious choice for hero 32 is Jetpack Cat. A fan favorite for years, it is the only logical choice despite announcements that it will not be playable because it would take Overwatch “too far”.
Featured image courtesy of Dexerto.
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