Today’s art design stream was all about Overwatch’s next hero, Hammond AKA Wrecking Ball. We learned that the two legendary skins Hammond receives at launch will be Junkertown and Horizon Lunar Colony themed.
Blizzard’s Arnold Tsang and Ben Zhang shared some fun facts during the stream, like the fact that Hammond’s favorite color is purple, and then got to work with drawing the Horizon Lunar Colony launch skin players can unlock for Wrecking Ball. We also learned a lot about the design process that led to Hammond, and how he became Hero 28.
Players got to see a lot of different concepts for the hero would eventually become Hammond. From the beginning, they knew they wanted a cute hero. At one point, the gameplay hook in mind was a “free-flying flamethrower” hero. That ended up leading to Jetpack Cat, the infamous hero who was eventually scrapped for not being thematically appropriate.
The other design track was “the demolitionist”, who would become Junkrat. One of those concepts turned into “Ball Guy”, a ball who could turn into a guy and a guy who could turn into a ball. The team wasn’t clear whether this was a man or an omnic, but the spherical concept caught on.
The team got to work, coming up with a concept for Ball Guy based around 1) being a ball and 2) magnetic powers that could be used for tanking and drawing fire (quite literally). Eventually, Ball Guy was scrapped. There were too many omnics in the works, like Bastion and Zenyatta... but the team returned to the idea of a cute hero and began to merge those tracks.
To start, there was Wrecking Ball, an omnic hamster. This is already pretty close to the Wrecking Ball of today, but the team really wanted the hero to be cute. This omnic Hammond was cool, but what’s cuter than a real life hamster you could cuddle?
Blizzard worked on several stylized hamsters, using Tracer as a concept. The artists cited Eastern art styles as inspiration for Hammond; the Overwatch art style is meant to be East meets West, and Asian art of animals ended up factoring heavily into the final design of Hammond the hamster.
Throughout the stream, we got to see a beautiful drawing of Wrecking Ball’s Horizon skin come to life.