BlizzCon 2015 Overwatch What’s Next Panel Transcript


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Tsang: So that’s it? That’s all the heroes?

Goodman: Oh, yea!

Tsang: Was there one more? I don’t remember. Oh, there!

Goodman: Alright!

Tsang: So everybody’s favorite robot ninja. Genji. We are super excited. It was really interesting to see everybody’s kinda speculation after we kinda showed Genji on the poster last year, and abilities, and stuff like that. We are going to shed some light on that today.



So Genji, as you all saw yesterday in the gameplay show in the opening ceremony, is Hanzo’s brother. Hanzo and Genji are both from the Shimada clan which is basically this ancient ninja clan who is now in the modern day more like a Yakuza gang that runs guns and drugs, and stuff; and Hanzo was in line to become the successor to leader. The father is the leader of the Shimada clan, and Genji was the younger brother.

But instead, Genji was more just like this playboy that didn’t really care about the family business. He would just go out and squander the family fortune, and go party and have fun; and he didn’t really care about everything that Hanzo had to endure that is take care of the family business. So when their father died, the elders of the shimada clan came to Hanzo and said: “Hey, you have got to get your brother in line. He’s a huge liability to the family. He’s out there causing all kinds of trouble.”

So finally, Hanzo confronts Genji. They have this epic battle, and Hanzo basically delivers a fatal blow at Genji, and leaves him for dead. Hanzo leaves the Shimada clan. At that point, Genji is there at the brink of death, when Overwatch finds him. Dr. Angela Ziegler, also known as Merci, resucitates him and then gives him a cybernetic body. So Overwatch has been keeping tabs on this Shimada clan for a long time; and they needed that one key thing to take down the clan, and that’s where Genji comes in, they wanted Genji in exchange for giving him his new body to help them dismantle the Shimada clan and take them out for good.

At this time Genji he just got this new body, he just had this epic battle with his brother and he’s a pretty torn dude. So he’s basically this crazy secret weapon that Overwatch has sent in to take out the Shimada clan and Genji’s mission is over, he basically leaves Overwatch and try to search for his meaning to his new existence and his journey leads him to Zenyatta. Under Zenyatta’s tutelage he finally becomes one with his dual existence: his cybernetic side and his ninja human side; and now he’s basically on adventure where he roams the earth having different adventures with members of Overwatch.



A little bit about how we got to Genji, ninjas and samurais and cyber-ninjas are my favorite things to draw. So for Overwatch, at the very beginning we did so many different sketches of– “We’ve got to the cyber-ninja in the game right?”



The one that we ended up with that everybody liked was the one on the left you see there was the original Hanzo concept. We called them Hanzo at the time and we did all these different sketches of different ninja abilities and weapons like the bow, the katana, shuriken and different hooks and chains and all kinds of stuff and we wanted to cram that all into this one ninja but one of our design philosophies was we wanted to keep the design focused and have all the essential elements boiled down for that one character.

So having always these weapons didn’t really gel together into one hero. One day someone was like “why don’t we make two ninjas”?, I’m like “yes, more ninjas, the more ninjas the better”.

Can’t have too many ninjas. The rule.

Tsang: So I still remember in the room with Chris Metzen and the guys, and we came up with this awesome story about these two brothers, their fate intertwined; one with a sword one with a bow. Hanzo is actually a master swordsman. Probably even better than Genji, but after delivering that final blow to his brother he puts down the sword for good, and he picks up the bow. You know, Jeff — the design team came up with these awesome bow ideas for Hanzo’s storm bow whereas Genji, we gave him the sword but that proved to have some different challenges that Jeff will get into. So without further ado, Jeff will talk a little bit about Genji’s abilities.

Geoff: As Arn said, and as he was originally drawn you can see shurikens (his weapons are shurikens but you didn’t see them in his hand) because the original concept was very simple, it was this guy with a sword and he’s just really scary, he gets up on you and cuts you up. Turns out that’s not very easy to design. That’s very difficult.


It’s hard to make a character that can have a sword like that as a primary weapon, but is also fun for both sides and it feels fair to both sides. Then we suddenly had this realization like well, what if we just made it his ultimate and then we can really make it the amazing thing we wanted to make; and it’s odd to be frustrating, because it’s his ultimate right?

We really got to put all the power into it there. So it’s his ultimate. You see at the bottom, I guess, starting from the bottom. As he pulls out the sword, and it just does a ton of damage and get it for about 10 seconds, he get it for a decent amount of time; but he can’t have it forever, but he just carves every bit of it. It’s really scary when you hear him pull that out. Every one is like: “Oh my god!”… panic mode.

He normally runs around with a kind of a shuriken setup. He has a shuriken sort of dispenser in his arm because his arms are actually a full cybernetic body and everything. So they are actually kind of inside of his arm. So he’s got a real cool animation where he pulls them out, and he’s holding three; and he normally throws them with a left-click as a primary fire. He throws a kind of reverse fire one after another really fast. They are perfectly accurate. So if you’re really good at sniping with these things are good at bleeding people. They’re really, really deadly.

He has an alternate fire where you can throw them all at once, kind of in a fan pattern. It’s good for if somebody is raising a little hell you can just take them out, or there’s a couple targets you want to hit, or big targets in front of you. You can hit them with all three. It’s pretty strong.

His first ability is called Swift Strike, he dashes forward, he has a small blade on his lower back you can see there. He pulls that out and slashes with it. Everybody he goes through takes damage over time continuously and it also allows you to go any direction you are looking — including up. So unlike Tracer, he can jump up on top of buildings or anywhere. He can jump up and slash a Pharah out of the sky or something. It’s really amazing for that, and also has a very interesting property where if you ever get an elimination of any kind it resets the cooldown on it. So you can go on these terraces where you just get on a roll and like: “I’m unstoppable!” Especially when you have the sword. It’s amazing.

He has a second ability called Deflect. Hopefully, you guys saw it from the opening ceremonies in that trailer; it was amazing. That ability he has it for a couple seconds, he pulls up his blade and any enemy projectiles that hit you are instead redirected as your projectiles to your cursor where you are looking so it’s amazing that you got a bunch of people shoot at you and you kind of focus on one person and deflects everything to that one person; super fun. It work’s on ultimates like we’ve had times where a Zarya comes up on alts and you have swift strikes and deflects it back at her team that the possibilities are so fun with this thing.

He also has a couple passives: he can wall climb much like his brother Hanzo, he also has a double jump he does like an extra flip out of the air so he’s really mobile in that way. Especially if he can get in of those kill streaks like I mentioned with Swift Strike so without further ado let’s see what he looks like in-game.


Geoff: If you guys get a chance to play, if you have a Widowmaker sniping on the enemy team you get to deflect snipe shot right back at her head, it’s the most satisfying thing you get. It feels so good.

Kaplan: Pharah Rocket broad she’s up there. I also like when the enemy team has a Bastion and you got somebody just go nuts and I don’t like to aim back at the Bastion, I like to aim back at one of the teammates and Bastion will just feed into the Genji and just kill some poor teammate. Stop shooting, that’s all you have to do. You guys like the new heroes? Awesome, we had a ton of fun making them I really hope that everybody here gets a chance to play them. We’d love feedback on them as well. So anytime you see everybody working the Overwatch booth as a Blizzard employee give them your thoughts. These are brand new heroes, we need feedback on them. They really change the way the game is played, we’re excited to see the game evolve a little bit like D.Va for example and Genji are both tremendous counters to Widowmaker. So if you’re concerned like: “Oh sniping is really strong in the game right now,” D.Va with her Defense Barrier ability and her ability to just boost-up, yea.

Geoff: It means both at the same time, you just fly right at her with that and she’s like “ok, I don’t know…”

Kaplan: Worst case, she’ll send up the thing and blow it up with the alt. Take that Widowmaker out, but we love to hear what you guys have to say about these. Before we get into Q&A, and we want to leave as much time as possible for Q&A, there is a panel tomorrow called The World of Overwatch. No we’re not announcing am MMO. We didn’t name the panel. It’s called the World of Overwatch. It’s going to feature Chris Metzen, Michael Chu and Bill Petras; and there’s a lot of awesome stuff.

So if you guys care about story and lore, tomorrow morning (I think it’s at 11:30 AM right here on this stage) that is the panel for you. There’s also going to be some really cool announcements and never before seen stuff. So I highly recommend if you are a story person come in to that panel tomorrow. Now we are happy to take questions, we’ll answer as many as we can in the time we have remaining; we’d love to hear you guys’ thoughts. You all should just shout them out at the same time. No, I think there’s a microphone over there.


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Panel Q&A

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts


Tomas Hernandez is owner of 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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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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