Overwatch’s next hero is Echo, a learning, flying, robot with a bite bigger than her bark – but that wasn’t always her story. Echo was originally a support character, as fans expected her to be.
In a conversation with PCGamesN, Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan tells us that at first, even the development team thought Echo was going to be a support character: “I think players are going to be shocked that she’s a damage character. Early on, we did forms that were healing versions. It was very challenging and inspiring when some of the designs [lead hero designer] Geoff Goodman brought to us were actually a damage character because a lot of us were like, ‘Wait, she’s support! Look, she’s got wings, and she’s light and elegant,’ you know?”
But upon further consideration and reflection on the already released name Echo, the robot could never have been a role outside of damage, Kaplan says. “We started to get into her abilities and Goodman made some good points. We have Pharah, but we didn’t really have a highly mobile flying damage character that flies in the way Echo does. And then when Goodman has something to go on, like her name Echo, he really wanted to do the duplicate ultimate ability.
“From a game design standpoint, you don’t want your tank or your healer in the middle of combat switching off of tank or healer. It’s, like, the worst nightmare ever. Especially if suddenly, you’ve got a healer who switches on to like McCree for like 20 seconds – like, ‘Oh my god, we’re all gonna die!’ So the only role that it really made sense to have an ultimate like that was the damage role.”
Instead of healing, Echo’s abilities are rather different – sticky bomb different. Her duplicate ability stems from her backstory and who Echo is. Sadly, Echo is Overwatch’s last hero before we get Overwatch 2, so let’s hope the Overwatch 2 release date is soon, ay?