BlizzCon 2015 Overwatch What’s Next Panel Transcript

 

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Panel Q&A

 

New Heroes: Mei

Kaplan: But what you are probably the more excited to hear about is the three new heroes. So there is nobody better to talk about these than the two gentlemen on my left. Arnold, why don’t you walk us through them.

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Tsang: Thanks, Jeff. First here, we are going to talk about Mei. if you guys remember from the opening cinematic of Overwatch last year, Overwatch is about soldiers, scientists, adventurers, oddities. Now we have got a lot of soldiers in Overwatch. We even have a guy called Soldier-76. Cowboy McCree. We have got all these badass heroes. We needed more scientists and adventurers. That’s where Mei comes in. She probably fits in with the League of Explorers.

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She is a climatologist. She works as a scientist for Overwatch, and in addition to saving the world from the Omnic Crisis, and all these military threats. Overwatch is also looking at other threats that might threaten humanity, such as enviromental threats. To do that they setup all these eco-watchpoints throughout the globe. Mei was stationed with a team at eco-watchpoint: Antarctica; and they were doing research there on the south pole when there was a polar icestorm that cut them off from the rest of humanity.

They lost communication with Overwatch, they were stranded, they were running out of supplies. So what Mei did, being the brilliant scientist that she is, she took out their equipment and rigged up this cryostasis chamber and put everybody in cryostasis to wait for rescue. The thing is nobody came to rescue them. Years passed. Overwatch was disbanded. The Omnic Crisis was over, and the world changed around her. One day Mei was eventually discovered, but she realized that her crew … she was the only survivor; and the world had changed around her. All the eco-watchpoints had been shutdown, and now she basically travels the world going to all these eco-watchpoints, trying to turn them back on. Trying to collect the data, and trying to find all the different threats that might threaten our planet.

So a little bit about how we came to this design. One of the things that we always wanted to do was to introduce the mechanic of ice, and freezing people. We thought that that was so cool, and freezing people, make them slow down, making icewalls — and she does all of that stuff. She shoots icycles at you. Geoff can talk about that later. To do that we really wanted a silhouette that captured some of those places of ice from somewhere really cold. You see some of the badass poses in the Overwatch line-up, so we really wanted someone who stood out.

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We gave her a big puffy jacket with a big arctic hood; and then we gave her this big ice-cannon; but then we realized — you know, looking back — she looked a lot like another hero in the line-up: Zaria. She also had a big two-handed wide cannon, big pants and boots. So we went back to the drawing board and we explored a little bit and got a couple of sketches; and we got a sketch where she was casually hanging out, and we gave her glasses just for fun, and the team really loved it. It really resonated with the team, and it was a really adorable way to portray this brilliant scientist — out to save the world. So that evolved our design to what you see in the final concept here.

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She also has a — you can see kinda over her shoulder that she has a little drone called snowball which follows her around in her adventures. She gets pretty lonely and so her little buddy kinda travels with her, and he is also this weather-manipulation bot. All that gameplay stuff, Geoff is going to get into it. He’s way more suitable to talk about that. So let’s Geoff take it from here.

Goodman: Let’s talk about Mei’s gameplay. She was very interesting to make. As Arnold said, we kinda came at her from this perspective of looking at the whole roster, and heroes like the Widowmaker (she is this ruthless assassin), and then we had Soldier-76 (a hardened soldier) … we didn’t really have anybody whose sort of almost in a way doesn’t belong, but she’s there. It was an interesting challenge to incorporate that in the gameplay as well. It really opened up a lot of opportunities for us. She plays very differently than pretty much every other hero that we have so far.

She’s actually really hard to kill. She doesn’t dish out a ton of damage, but she really assists her team with these amazing teamplay moves. Her gun is called endothermic blaster. It is like the one-handed gun she’s got there. This sort of freezing liquid is coming from a canister she has on the back. It’s coming from there. It doesn’t do a lot of damage, but if you hold on to people for long enough they go progressively slower and slower, and eventually just freeze; and then they are stunned for a little while and again she doesn’t do a lot of damage but that freeze effect is amazing. So if they are low you can pretty much finish him pretty easily; and it also has an alternate fire. If you press the alternate fire, it freezes a little icycle inside the gun and shoots that out like a shard of ice. It’s really accurate. It’s a little slow to aim, because you click it and you’ve got this delay before it fires.

Her first ability is Icewall — which you hopefully saw in the cinematic trailer. It’s amazing. Superfun to play with. It literally creates a wall. It blocks line-of-sight, and projectiles, and moving collision, it’s everything. Hanzo can climb on it. Lúcio can skate along it. It’s really fun. It’s kinda flat on the top, so you can build it under yourself or under teammates and lift them up. So it opens up a lot of opportunities for the team. It’s really fun.

Second ability is Cryo-Freeze. For those of you who have played WoW, you know about frost mage’s ice-block. It’s very similar to that. Inside this ice of block, she can save herself instantly from danger, and she creates this sort of solid block around her; and that block will block projectiles, and it’s a good way to protect your team.

Her Ultimate is called Blizzard, because it wouldnt’ be a Blizzard game if you don’t have a couple of Blizzard on it. She throws her robot snowball off and the cute little robot makes little noises, goes up and makes sorta like her primary fire does, but it freezes a larger area freezing everybody; and it is kinda the same effect as her primary fire, you get progressively slower. So if you get in there while the ultimate is going off you can kinda freeze them extra faster with the gun to freeze everybody up. It’s an amazing teamplay move.

The stun lasts quite a while. You wanna get everyone in there and clean up. We have a bunch of videos that we have made to show off a little of the gameplay for all of our heroes.

Next: D.va

 

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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