Overwatch is a big ol’ world, and as Tracer likes to say, it could always use more heroes. We’ve gotten four new heroes since the game’s launch. Ana Amari was an Overwatch legend, Sombra was teased ahead of time with in game lore drops and an ARG, Orisa was invented by Efi Oladele in Numbani, and we’ve all wanted to see Doomfist (both the weapon and the guy who uses it) since that first cinematic in the trailer.
There are basically two places a hero can come from at this point in Overwatch’s development:
- Someone who has been hinted at or shown in the lore to some degree.
- A representative of a faction or group of people in the world.
Ana and Doomfist obviously fit into the first category, while Orisa fits solidly into the second. (Sombra, an orphan of the omnic crisis who was teased ahead of time, kind of fits both categories)
Finally, they need to be legitimately able to hold their own in a hero arena. Katya Volskaya, for instance, is a major lore character, but there’s no way she’d ever get her hands dirty by tussling with Junkrat or Torbjorn. Lynx Seventeen, from the comic Searching, is a talented hacker, but they got absolutely clowned on by Sombra in like, two seconds... and they’re not even as good at hacking as she is, so they probably won’t ever be a hero.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ripest opportunities or the next Overwatch heroes, based off what we know from in-game lore.
[DECLASSIFIED] After-Action Report: Operation “WHITE DOME” pic.twitter.com/fvnUQQEFDC— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) February 23, 2018
A series of teasers released in February that would eventually lead up to Brigitte’s release told readers about Operation: White Dome. That was a mission led by Reinhardt, Torbjorn, Ana, and... Emre Sarioglu. We don’t know who Emre is, but he was there for at least one important moment of Overwatch history.
Emre might be that guy on the far left - he’s an unknown character who would be around and active at the time of Operation: White Dome. That guy’s also shown up in supplemental Overwatch comics:
So is it possible that this time next year, we’ll get Emre as a hero and Operation: White Dome as the next Overwatch Archives event? Maybe! If we do, you know where you heard it first.
Sanjay has shown up three times in Overwatch lore so far. He had a cameo in the Sombra ARG, but he was prominently featured in Symmetra’s comic, A Better World. He’s one of the higher ups at the Vishkar Corporation, and he’s proven himself to be completely immoral as he goes about building his “better world”.
He’s already kind of a nefarious dude who’s willing to set up explosions to get his Vishkar Corporation contracts... but it’s not like he’s part of Talon or anything, right? Actually, he shows up a third time in the Moira Origins video.
The Vishkar Corporation and hard light technology could lead to a lot of fun potential kits for a new hero. The story is clearly heading somewhere for Sanjay, so why not put him in the game?
We’ve seen five out of six of the founding members of Overwatch: Jack Morrison, Gabriel Reyes (now Soldier 76 and Reaper), Ana Amari, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and... Liao.
We actually don’t know a lot about Liao besides that. First Strike, a look at the early days of Overwatch that has since been cancelled, included a character who might have been Liao in promotional materials:
We don’t actually know who Liao was, but that character’s presence during the early days of Overwatch suggests it might be them. It’s a little odd to not know anything about one of the big cheeses in the early Overwatch scene, but Ana Amari was able to successfully hide away for years, and it’s probably smart to avoid Reaper and Talon at the moment. The omnic they’re with suggests Liao might be robotics or tech oriented. There’s a lot of speculation, but nothing solid about this character.
There are two test subjects missing from the Horizon Lunar Colony. We know where one of them is: Winston’s leading up the new Overwatch from Earth. Specimen 8, Hammond, is curiously missing. The other apes, despite their coup, can all be tracked by Lucheng Interstellar, so it suggests that Hammond isn’t on the base at all.
Hammond was missing for a week before anyone noticed him (possibly because he’s a “smaller test subject”, and there were mysterious noises in the vents leading up to the airlock trap that killed every scientist on Horizon. If Hammond is anything like Winston, he could show up... with a gun.
The Queen of Junkertown
The Queen of Junkertown has never shown up in game, beyond a poster and voice over, but fans of Overwatch love her. This is one of those slam dunk hero concepts that doesn’t require a lot of elaboration or justification—she exists, she’s badass, I want to marry her... I’d say it just seems like a matter of time, but I don’t want to give Blizzard any ideas after they made us wait for Sombra and Doomfist.
Hero, the Overwatch short starring Jack Morrison, is a classic example of man vs self. That bit, where 76 confronts his demons to act like a hero and save a young girl, comes after the man vs entire gang of rocket launcher wielding Los Muertos members.
Los Muertos are a prominent criminal organization in Overwatch, and they have a significant part in Sombra’s story. The organization took her in as a young woman, and she still seems friendly with them today.
It’s very difficult for me to believe that Los Muertos isn’t fielding any heavy hitters who could fit in with the rest of Overwatch. The Junkers are precedent for antagonistic factions besides Talon showing up in-game, and let’s be honest: that tattooed omnic is just oozing style out of every pore. Er, socket.
Maximilien shows up in Doomfist’s Masquerade comic. Immediately after Doomfist breaks out of jail and meets up with Reaper and Widowmaker, the gang go to pay Maximilien a visit. The name sounds vaguely french, but it draws on two Roman generals: Maximus and Aemilianus.
So, here’s what we know about Maximilien: He’s powerful, he’s a member of Talon’s council, he’s reserved, he looks killer in a suit, and he can sit at the same table as Doomfist and not break a sweat... Oh, no, I really need to start watching my omnicphobic idioms.
Max is a cameo in the Overwatch Archives Retribution event, where we learn he’s been part of Talon for at least a decade. That’s interesting, because it means by now he’s a heavy hitter in the scene.
The rest of old Overwatch
Winston’s decision to recall the Overwatch organizations is still playing out. Mei’s decision to accept the Recall and join Winston and Tracer was important enough to justify the rest of the Rise and Shine cinematic. We know Overwatch currently has Tracer, Reinhardt, Brigitte, Mei, and Winston. There are a couple of other agents who are up in the air, like Genji.
There’s still a lot of people who still have yet to answer the call, and the field is wider than you think.
Any one of these agents we don’t recognize can still show up and surprise us, and it seems likely some of them will.
This article was originally published in October 2017, where we predicted the following hero:
Brigitte has shown up in two of the official comics: Dragon Slayer and Reflections. We don’t know a lot about her, except that she’s pretty young compared to the guy she’s travelling around with: Reinhardt. After the fall of both the Crusaders and Overwatch, Reinhardt is travelling around trying to keep his gear together. Brigitte is his squire, and she’s capable of repairing and maintaining Crusader power armor. It’d be awesome to see another tank or a beefy support rolling around, and Brigitte is clearly tough enough for the task.
Brigitte was released as Hero 27 in February 2018.