Update, January 2: The latest Overwatch developer update suggests that hero 27 is well on the way.
Today’s Overwatch developer update offered plenty of details on what’s to come for the game in 2018, including new event iterations, legendary skins, and other big bits for the game’s continued development. But the biggest addition to the shooter, as always, will be its next hero, and Jeff Kaplan suggests development of the new character is progressing quickly.
Check our guide to the best Overwatch characters.
“We are well along the path on hero 27,” says Kaplan. “We think the hero is going to be awesome. We think the hero is very needed. We’re not really sure exactly when the release date is. The release date is less important to us than getting the hero right. We have the hero in internal testing, and so far we’re having a ton of fun and we’re making a lot of great progress.”
That’s all a bit vague, but we’re happy to hear ol’ number 27 is meeting good progress, and hopefully we’ll hear more soon.
Original story, December 12 2017: Moira is arguably Overwatch’s best-ever addition to its roster, immediately interesting, competitive, and a fresh take on one of the game’s less used archetypes in an almost-pure healer. It’s never enough though, so what’s the deal with whoever is up next, the mysterious number 27?
“One of the things our fans are always curious to hear about is why we tease some heroes way earlier and why with some heroes they just kinda come out and surprise us,” game director Jeff Kaplan explained during an interview at the Fun & Serious Game Festival in Bilbao. “I think Moira was more in that ‘surprise everybody’ category.”
Blizzard were aiming for more of a middle road, and were a little surprised Moira didn’t have more hype headed into BlizzCon. “We were trying to subtly hint at her: she was in the Doomfist comic, and seeing how fans had glommed onto everything back in the Sombra ARG days, they literally picked apart everything, so we thought they would pick up on that a lot more.”
Something similar seems to be happening around hero 27. While Kaplan was tight lipped on any details, he did let on that it’s a bit of hinting, a bit of a surprise again. “Let’s just leave it at that. A surprise that has perhaps been hinted at.”
Taking a glance at our list of possible new Overwatch heroes, this rules out characters like the Junkertown Queen or Brigitte, who are already established in the lore. It also means someone like Athena, who has been floating around since beta as a background character, is probably off the table as well.
However, thanks to the Overwatch Archives panel at BlizzCon, and a raft of comics and shorts with possible background characters, there are dozens of other characters to choose from. Indeed, there’s a theory a Talon-affiliated tank hero was teased in Moira’s Origin story. No doubt that won’t stop the ever-ravenous community from searching far and wide for nuggets of information.
Hopefully the eventual release of 27 goes as well as Moira’s release, which Kaplan was also very happy about, saying “Moira’s been pretty awesome. I think she’s playing out well in the metagame. She’s getting a little bit of play [in Overwatch League], not a whole lot just yet, I think people are gaining some familiarity with her. Right now in the pro scene we see her largely used when people are about to lose a point, and she’s very quick to get back because of that Fade ability.
“I think her throughput healing is really good. She’s become for a lot of people a counter to certain heroes that previously it was viewed that support didn’t have counters to, like Genji’s a great example. Moira’s really effective against him, and I think for a lot of support [players] that feels really great. We’ll see, I think as people gain familiarity with the hero, we’ll see her used more and more, but she’s already pretty present in the meta, which is good.”