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This article is about playable characters. For the animated short, see Hero.
OW heroes

The hero roster, as of Overwatch's fourth anniversary

Heroes are the playable characters inOverwatch 2. There are currently 40 heroes available.

Overview

Every hero wields a unique weapon, which is their main way of dealing damage and/or healing. Weapons may have an alternate fire, and some heroes may have multiple weapons, which can be switched using the number keys 1 and 2 by default. Generally, heroes have at least two normal Abilities, which are bound by default to 'Shift' and 'E', and an Ultimate ability, bound to 'Q'. Abilities are capable of dealing damage or healing and can provide impactful utility.

Heroes have health, usually referred to as "HP" or "hit points," which represents the amount of damage the hero can take before they are eliminated. The amount of hit points that different heroes have ranges from 175 to 800, sometimes dependent upon their role. If a hero has taken damage, they start regenerating their lost health at a rate of 10 HP/s + 5% of their maximum HP after 5 seconds of not taking damage (except for Support heroes, who start regenerating lost health after 2.5 seconds).

Heroes move at a base speed of 5.5 m/s (except Genji and Tracer, who have a base speed of 6 m/s). Walking backwards reduces move speed by 10%, and crouching reduces move speed to 3 m/s in every direction. Additionally, all heroes can jump at a height of 0.98 meters under normal gravity.

Each hero offers a unique style of play, and is classified under one of three roles: Tank, Damage, or Support. In Role Queue, the standard game mode, each team is restricted to two Support heroes, two Damage heroes, and one Tank. However, there are various other game modes that have no role limits. Players can switch between heroes in the spawn room.

Heroes come from a variety of national/ethnic backgrounds, and occasionally speak in their native languages.[1] During matches, heroes exchange specific dialogue with each other based on their character history and background.[1]

New heroes are added to the game over time via updates. Currently, players are required to unlock new heroes by leveling up the Battle Pass to a certain level during the season they were added. Heroes can also be unlocked by purchasing the premium Battle Pass for that season, or by completing a set of hero challenges after the season ends.[2] As of Season 10, heroes will not require purchase, and will be available from the outset upon release. However, players must still complete the first-time user experience to unlock heroes.[3]

Hero roster

Heroes in Overwatch 2
 

List of Heroes by release date

There were originally 21 heroes at the launch of the game. Since then, 19 additional heroes have been added. During Overwatch, new heroes were released roughly every four months: in March, July, and November; the November reveal always took place during the opening ceremony of that year's BlizzCon.

In Overwatch 2, new heroes are expected to arrive every other season, starting in Season 2. This means that every evenly numbered season is expected to release with a new hero.

No. Hero Role Nationality Reveal Date Release Date
01 [4]
Icon-tracer
Tracer
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
7 November 2014 (Overwatch announced)
24 May 2016 (Overwatch released)
02 [4]
Icon-reaper
Reaper
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of the United States
United States
03 [4]
Icon-widowmaker
Widowmaker
New Damage Icon
Damage2
Flag of France
France
04 [4]
Icon-pharah
Pharah
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of Egypt
Egypt
05 [4]
Icon-reinhardt
Reinhardt
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Germany
Germany
06 [4]
Icon-mercy
Mercy
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
07 [4]
Icon-torbjörn
Torbjörn
New Damage Icon
Damage2
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
08 [4]
Icon-hanzo
Hanzo
New Damage Icon
Damage2
Flag of Japan
Japan
09 [4]
Icon-winston
Winston
New Tank Icon
Tank
N/A
10 [4]
Icon-zenyatta
Zenyatta
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Nepal
Nepal
11 [4]
Icon-bastion
Bastion
New Damage Icon
Damage2
N/A
12 [4]
Icon-symmetra
Symmetra
New Damage Icon
Damage3
Flag of India
India
13
Icon-zarya
Zarya
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Russia
Russia
6 March 2015
14
Icon-cassidy
Cassidy
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of the United States
United States
15
Icon-Soldier76
Soldier: 76
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of the United States
United States
7 July 2015
16
Icon-lúcio
Lúcio
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Brazil
Brazil
5 August 2015
17
Icon-roadhog
Roadhog
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Australia
Australia
22 September 2015
18
Icon-junkrat
Junkrat
New Damage Icon
Damage2
Flag of Australia
Australia
19
Icon-dva
D.Va
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of South Korea
South Korea
6 November 2015
20
Icon-mei
Mei
New Damage Icon
Damage2
Flag of China
China
21
Icon-genji
Genji
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of Japan
Japan
22
Icon-ana
Ana
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Egypt
Egypt
12 July 2016
19 July 2016
23
Icon-sombra
Sombra
New Damage Icon
Damage1
Flag of Mexico
Mexico
4 November 2016
15 November 2016
24
Icon-orisa
Orisa
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Numbani
Numbani
2 March 2017
21 March 2017
25
Icon-doomfist
Doomfist
New Tank Icon
Tank4, 1
Flag of Nigeria
Nigeria
27 July 2017
26
Icon-moira
Moira
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Ireland
Ireland
3 November 2017
16 November 2017
27
Icon-brigitte
Brigitte
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
28 February 2018
20 March 2018
28
Icon-wrecking ball
Wrecking Ball
New Tank Icon
Tank
N/A
28 June 2018
24 July 2018
29
Icon-ashe
Ashe
New Damage Icon
Damage
Flag of the United States
United States
2 November 2018
13 November 2018
30
Icon-baptiste
Baptiste
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Haiti
Haiti
25 February 2019
19 March 2019
31
Icon-sigma
Sigma
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of the Netherlands
Netherlands
22 July 2019
13 August 2019
32
Icon-echo
Echo
New Damage Icon
Damage
Flag of Singapore
Singapore
18 March 2020
14 April 2020
33
Icon-sojourn
Sojourn
New Damage Icon
Damage
Flag of Canada
Canada
1 November 2019
(Overwatch 2 announced)
26 April 2022
(Overwatch 2 PvP Beta #1)
34
Icon-junker queen
Junker Queen
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Australia
Australia
12 June 2022
28 June 2022
(Overwatch 2 PvP Beta #2)
35
Icon-kiriko
Kiriko
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Japan
Japan
15 September 2022
4 October 2022
(Overwatch 2 released)
36
Icon-ramattra
Ramattra
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Nepal
Nepal
4 November 2022
6 December 2022
37
Icon-lifeweaver
Lifeweaver
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Thailand
Thailand
3 April 2023
11 April 2023
38
Icon-illari
Illari
New Support Icon
Support
Flag of Peru
Peru
16 May 2023
10 August 2023
39
Icon-mauga
Mauga
New Tank Icon
Tank
Flag of Samoa
Samoa
5 December 2023
40
Icon-Venture
Venture
New Damage Icon
Damage
Flag of Canada
Canada
3 November 2023
16 April 2024
41
"Space Ranger"
New Support Icon
Support
N/A

1 Originally Offense, 2 Originally Defense, 3 Originally Support, 4 Originally Damage

Development

There are always a few heroes in development at any given time. Which hero's development gets priority is determined through the game's current state, and what hero has the best compatibility with it.[5]

Design Process

Heroes are based off popular and recognizable archetypes.[6] When a hero is pitched, a group of five developers examine gameplay, character concept, and character backstory to see if the idea is worth fleshing out. If that's in the affirmative, the team of five becomes a team of ten to 15, who are tasked with "finding the fun" in the hero and bringing out its "core." This includes work on art, design, engineering, audio and quality assurance. Once this is completed, the hero gains (or will have gained) 40 or more developers, who build its respective content (skins, emotes, voice lines, etc.).[7] For early heroes, it was common to theme the hero mainly around their weapon (examples of this include Widowmaker and Pharah).[8] How a hero is developed can vary; sometimes their look and feel inspire their abilities, and sometimes it’s the other way around.[9]

After the hero is fully playable, a different team is brought in to build the hero's story, bringing the total team to about 80 people. These individuals work on material including origin story cinematics, comics, and animated shorts. After that, the hero then needs to be publicized. By this last stage, over 150 individuals will have worked on the hero in some form.[7]

Cut Heroes

The following heroes have been cut during development of the game:

Heroes Pitch

An early heroes pitch—some heroes are in the final version

Unnamed

  • A hero wearing a hazmat suit was pitched during development, but did not progress beyond the initial concept.[10]
  • A female Russian hero that was pitched in the early days of development. She would be riding a bear and dual-wielding AK-47s. Her ultimate would be for the bear to also pull out dual AKs.[11]

Heroes in Development

Trivia

  • The Overwatch development team added a dummy string (code with no use) to a part of the game's code very early on, which contained the name of a fake hero: "Dying Breed." This was done to identify if the game's files were datamined and uploaded to the internet. They forgot to remove the string when the beta was shipped, and it created some confusion among the team members who discovered it for the first time.[13] The string has long since been removed.
  • Jeff Kaplan, the former game director of Overwatch and Overwatch 2, has not ruled out removing heroes from the roster in the future.[14]
  • The purpose of hero roles was to make it easier for new players to get into the game, and to better understand how each character would play.[15]
  • From August 2019 to April 2020, after the reveal of Overwatch 2, there were no new heroes released. It was promised that multiple heroes were to be released at once with the release of Overwatch 2, and "at least" one new hero was expected to release before then.[16] Echo was released in April 2020, which ended up being the final hero release of Overwatch. Three new heroes were released upon Overwatch 2's release: Sojourn, Junker Queen and Kiriko.[17]
  • During Overwatch, players immediately had access to new heroes without any requirements to unlock them.
    • Until Season 10 of Overwatch 2, heroes had to be unlocked through either buying the premium Battle Pass track, or by leveling up the Battle Pass to a certain tier. However, starting with Season 10, new heroes are once again unlocked for every player upon release.[3]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 2015-08-16, Reddit Q&A about Solider 76 | Overwatch. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-08-06
  2. 2015-12-07, DEV UPDATE TALKS FREE FUTURE HEROES, GAME SYSTEM AND OPTIONS UPDATES. Blizzpro, accessed on 2015-12-15
  3. 3.0 3.1 2024-03-19, DEVELOPER UPDATE: HERO RELEASES, MYTHICS, AND GAMEPLAY UPDATES. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2024-03-20
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 Blizzcon 2017 - Making of Overwatch
  5. 2022-11, Overwatch 2 Art Director Dion Rogers Talks About The Design Principles Behind The Dual Modes For Ramattra In Interview. Gamerbraves, accessed on 2022-11-15
  6. 2023-04-15, Overwatch 2: Lifeweaver Comes Into Bloom | Dev Update. YouTube, accessed on 2023-05-20
  7. 7.0 7.1 2018-11-03, OVERWATCH: BUILDING A HERO. Blizzpro, accessed on 2018-11-14
  8. 2022-04-16, Overwatch 2: Sojourn | Developer Update. YouTube, accessed on 2022-04-20
  9. 2023-04-04, SPRING INTO ACTION! A DEEP DIVE INTO LIFEWEAVER, OVERWATCH’S NEWEST HERO.. PlayOverwatch, accessed on 2023-04-12
  10. Forging Worlds: Stories Behind the Art of Blizzard Entertainment
  11. 2017-11-05, OVERWATCH ARCHIVES PANEL. Blizzpro, accessed on 2017-11-19
  12. 12.0 12.1 2023-11-05, Complete Blizzcon 2023 Summary. Reddit, accessed on 2023-11-05
  13. 2016-05-24, Overwatch Visual Source Book. pp. 168. Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2017-11-26.
  14. 2016-08-24. Designing Overwatch: From Titan to Torbjorn. GameInformer, accessed on 2024-05-01
  15. 2017-05-17, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan Answers Overwatch Questions From Twitter | Tech Support | WIRED. YouTube, accessed on 2017-05-18
  16. 2019-11-02, Overwatch 2 | Future New Heroes & Likely Release Window - Jeff Talks OW2. YouTube, accessed on 2018-11-02
  17. 2020-03-19, Echo Last Hero Character Before Overwatch 2. IGN, accessed on 2020-04-14
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