BlizzCon 2018 Overwatch: What’s Next Panel Transcript


Geoff: Thank you. Alright. So yeah, let’s talk about how she made it into the game. I think the most common question I probably get asked in the interviews and things is… what is our design process like for getting a hero into the game? Where does it start?


So it’s interesting, because the answer is: it’s not really the same every time. It comes from all over the place. Like often we’ll have some game design concepts we want to play with, and then we kind of like go “I want to do this crazy thing… like what does that look like to you?” (laughs)

It’s pretty hard sometimes, but sometimes it’ll just be– in the office… like Arnold will draw something awesome, and then I’m like “I got to figure how to put that in. Again, that looks sweet.” So this was the first time, actually, we had something come right out of the story and franchise development.

A lot of times, like we’re planning heroes like way ahead. So we’re thinking here is what we are going to do next, here is what we want to prototype, and what we were thinking from the design side is like we have had a couple DPS damage-dealing characters come out post release: being Sombra and Doomfist.

But those characters are more unlike the ability side. We tend to think of heroes as like majorly weapon-focused, or ability-focused a lot of times. So heroes like Pharah and Widowmaker (for example) are very weapon-focused. They have abilities that their abilities pretty much support their weapons.They are all about applying that weapon as well as they can; and then obviously, characters like Doomfist are all about their abilities. So those are kind of the differences.

And we were kinda are already thinking like… man we know it’ll be cool to do like a more weapon-focused hero, and we are kind of in that space; and like almost at the same time it was… we get these like– you guys saw real early sketches of storyboards and stuff that we are getting from the Reunion video, and like it was like immediate with Ashe.

I could say we saw her, like: “Oh my God! She’s amazing!” and like seeing that lever-action rifle, we were just like that would be a super fun gun to make. We could really do cool stuff with that. So we saw that we were all super excited, and like independently, we had a couple designers go back and actually like write up proposals for designs. Like right away we sent them out.

Actually I think B.O.B. was the one thing that made it through the design like from multiple people. We were like: “We got to get B.O.B.” because he is just so awesome–

Jason: We had multiple people run it of on their own separately when we started building design docs for it.



Geoff: It was like we were super excited. So this is sort of the kit we ended up with. Again, she’s very much focused on this weapon that we call the Viper — which is a lever-action rifle. So it’s interesting, and it is in the same way that like McCree’s revolver; and it’s sort of like why would he use a revolver sort of in the future; but his is a super high-powered, and it has like energy edge to it.


It is kind of a personalized weapon. Hers is very much the same thing. I mean, I’ll play her ability here. So the Viper has a lot of really interesting properties to it. The main way you use it, as you see in the video here, you just kind of use primary fire really quickly without using the alternate fire.


You could just fire pretty fast almost like McCree’s alternate fire; but it’s not as– McCree almost loses control of the thing when he shoots it really fast; but she has a lot more control, it doesn’t fire quite as fast, and it doesn’t fire the whole thing unless you can kind of do piecemeal; but if you use the alternate fire that’s when you’re really aiming, it’s a lot slower rate of fire, but it hits really hard. So that’s typically where you are going to want to do and try to aim and try to get those headshots.


It also has a neutral property we’ve never done before, where she doesn’t reload by sticking magazine in there, but it really wouldn’t make sense for an action rifle, I suppose. So you can see there the video have to reload every bullet by bullet as– I mean, it really looks like in the loop for you, but you can stop anytime you want; but it’s sort of a cost for if you’re not using the alternate fire for the slower rate of fire.

You’ll want to shoot your rifle really fast to try to take someone out. You can do a pretty good amount of damage doing that, but then you have like this long reload, or you’ll have to put every bullet back in it; and it can take quite a while.

Jason: But what’s great about that is like you can empty your entire… all your bullets, and then duck behind a corner, put two in and just jump out and fire. Jump back, put one more in, and so this is very organic and very just fast.



Geoff: First ability called the Coach Gun. So her coach gun here is– like I said– she’s mostly a weapon-focused hero, so it is an ability that does damage; but its true purpose isn’t so much the amount of damage that it does, it’s more of the mobility it gives her.

Not only does it consistently knocks herself backwards away, but also knocks the enemies you hit away. So you can actually create like this double-distance, or knock somebody up if you want. It’s kind of a fun trick shot. You can knock somebody up in the air, and then pull up a shot, and hit him in mid-air… if you want to get it on YouTube or something.

So it is really cool. It is kind of her only real escape. So you get like Winston’s jumping on you… or something like that… this is like your one good way out of jail-free card, hopefully, if he doesn’t block it with a shield.

Michael: That is useful for a criminal. Get out jail-free card.

Geoff: The Get away?

Michael: Get out of jail-free card.



Geoff: Terrible. You didn’t say that. Okay, her next ability is called Dynamite. This ability actually does a ton of damage. So even though she is kind of hold about the weapon she does this one very high highly-damaging ability.


The main reason it does a lot of damage is because you can see it takes quite a while to go off. You throw it down and then– you know, Overwatch is a very fast-paced game, you throw this thing down it sits on the ground for two seconds. No one’s really going to be sitting on it like waiting for it to go off like: “Okay, I’ll give you this one.”

So even though it does a lot of damage, it has this long fuse. Could be hard to use, but she does have a trick up her sleeve where she can shoot it at any time with either the Coach gun or her Viper, and it makes it detonate early.

So there is a lot of really cool trick shots you could do. You could throw it, hit something around a corner by shooting it just at the right time as it is going around the corner — which is really common, because you could like wing somebody, then they’re like hurt at the edge around a corner, you have to get them and they go around; but actually, it’s got a lot of use for just throwing it on the ground and letting the fuse detonate itself too.

Like you have a bunch of tanks rolling up through a choke or something, and if the barrier is up, and you’re like “Well, I’m not very good in this situation with my rifle;” but if you just throw the dynamite down in front of them it’s like they can’t kind of walk through that really slowly because there’s so much damage. So there is a lot of utility in this ability as well.



And then of course, couldn’t be Ashe without B.O.B. So I do have to say Ashe almost didn’t happen because we were out of it about B.O.B. being with her, and it was surprisingly technically very challenging to get her in the game. There is a lot of technical requirements and memory constraints.

We have characters like Torbjorn that can create a turret, but a turret is much less detailed than B.O.B. is. B.O.B. is pretty much a full hero. It is like… for that moment in time, you can get two heroes on the map at the same time.


Michael: Yeah, a turret can’t do uppercuts, can’t capture the payload.

Geoff: It can’t uppercut yet… So B.O.B. — the way he works is you call him in, he kind of jumps in over you, and lands right in front you; and starts running forward; and the first person he hits, he knocks up in the air, he’ll knock everyone around in the air if he hits anybody; and then he lets come to a stop and start shooting. He pulls out his arm pins to start shooting, but also if he hits a wall, he will just turn around and starts shooting as well.

So it is really powerful for just like aleut moves which is really fun if you hit somebody with it, he does a lot of damage, knock them up in the air; but they also lose air control when they’re in the air. They can still do their abilities and everything. So if you’re like Reaper, you can break form and try to avoid further damage; but if you’re somebody that doesn’t have that, you kind of knocked in the air, and Ashe is like: “Well, this is the perfect opportunity!” … like a really easy moving target here.

So that’s a great combo with him, but even if you don’t follow through with that, you just like throw him into a wall… now you have this like really powerful turret with a ton of health behind the enemy which… you know, Overwatch tends to be this kind of game with a lot of battle lines, and now you have this like really powerful thing they have to deal with. You can’t just like let it shoot everybody back there.

So it kind of causes a lot of chaos there, and she gets to just have free reign while he’s going crazy. B.O.B. also has a couple of properties about him that are very different than other turrets, and what we call “pets” in the game.

He in a lot of ways acts like a seventh hero in her team. He could be healed, he could be like Debuffed and buffed, he can be Nano-Boosted. That’s a really good combo by the way… (laughs)… if you try that, it’s really powerful. He can also be slept, though.


If you sleep him, and nobody shoots him… let’s hope that happens, then it sort of nullifies him entirely. So there’s a lot of really cool stuff you can do, you can Zarya-bubble him, and everything. He also can capture and contest points for you so he is like– (laugh) he is there, so…


We actually had a time we had to change a few things, because it was getting a little crazy. A lot of stuff he could do, because he was for a while (internally) we just let him literally be a full hero in the game; but it led to weird moments where it was like: “Okay, you are playing like elimination Deathmatch game, and then you died, but right before you died you throw B.O.B. out there, and then you die, but the game’s not over because you still have a member on your team still living.

And as long as he kills everybody else, you win because the team was still alive.

Michael: Seems fair.

Geoff: We could change that look. There’s also where we had like a the game that had not started yet, we had waiting for players, and it would be like five, and one team six on another. You call B.O.B. when the game starts.

Jason: It is like… Okay, I mean… I might rather have B.O.B. than some of the other teammates–

Geoff: Fair enough, fair enough. I’m the objective.

Jason: He doesn’t talk back.

Geoff: Alright. So that’s kind of the overview of everything she can do. We actually have a video showing all that action right about now.

Cinematic: Funny. They say there’s no honor among thieves, but that is not how things work around here. If you cross me, or if you break your word, there will be hell to pay. You can count on it. Let’s clean up this mess. You want to try me? Closer. Back off. Burn it all down.

Now that gets the blood pumping. There you are. I call the shots. B.O.B. do something!!!

Jason: It is like we need a B.O.B. cinematic. It would be a silent film.

Arnold: I love that we got the “B.O.B. do something!!!” line from the cinematic?

Geoff: Yeah. It was actually a funny story. So like I was saying, we were working on the production early, and we’re prototyping everything, and one of the things about prototyping is we don’t have any assets yet. So I’m usually like just stealing whatever we have… I got a skin from this character, and like I’m a terrible VFX artist, so whatever I could do in VFX, I get it in there.

And then I was realizing that like: Man, we really need like when “B.O.B. do something!!!”… in the play test, we are having issues where it’s like… people don’t know, or they’ll hear when he is coming about; and we need like a line… I’m like “Hey, oh wait… they already recorded these lines. We could just use these.”

So it’s during like prototyping all the time we would hear “B.O.B. get in there!!!” and smoke them out in the air, and then throw a dynamite… it was like ingrained in our consciousness every time we play her; but it was great to have that sort of extra advantage people working on the prototype.



BlizzCon 2018 Overwatch: What's Next panel transcript
1. Story2. Cinematics3. B.O.B.4. Abilities
5. Concept Art6. Skins

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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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