It’s been a busy Gamescom for Overwatch [official site] news. The angelic doctor Mercy will be seeing huge changes to her healing powers, a new Mei themed short was released, and significant alterations to notorious Dorito consumer D.va are planned as well. But we’re also soon being treated to a new map, Junkertown, set in a Mad Max style Australian wasteland. I sauntered over to the Blizzard encampment in Cologne to watch the developers talk about it and got the chance to briefly ask about an intriguing possibility: Are they making the Junk Queen of the new short animation a playable character? The short answer: not really. The more hopeful answer: never say “never”.
“We’re really glad that people like her voice,” laughed Chacko Sonny, Blizzard’s production director. “It’s a good foundation. In many ways that’s all she is right now. We’re not confirming anything about the next character or any characters really right now but, just as indicated by the fact that Junkertown was this place we felt we needed to go, we think that there is a lot of fertile ground for exploration. And she is a super interesting character.”
So basically: Nah mate we made a throwaway voice and some fans are going a bit daft for it and we don’t know why but also hmmmmmmmm.
Blizzard have a habit of teasing upcoming characters through in-game art or features. Doomfist was long preceded by posters and banners with his name and picture, as well as surrounding lore, for example. But they have also previously said in developer updates that they plan the mechanics and abilities of any new hero first, then fill in the body, voice, and personality later. Which gives the impression of an on-the-hoof character design process that’s reactive to fans. Perfect for LOUDLY DEMANDING A JUNK QUEEN CHARACTER.
Other (perhaps more professional) journos in the room asked about the possibility of adding player-created modes to the game proper, such as a zombie mode in which a team of turret-toting Torbjorns must fend off tanky Reinhardts, who add to their numbers by killing the Swedish mechanics and “turning” them. Would things like this come to the base game? Blizz were pretty non-committal about that too, but they are seeking to open up the custom game tools, they say.
“What we find compelling about that is that there’s this hunger among our community to do some crazy stuff,” said Timothy Ford, gameplay engineer. “And unsurprisingly there is a hunger among the game engineering team to give players the tools to do crazier game modes.
“This is stuff we talk about… we only have so much time in a month to prioritise features, so I’m not sure where it lies, but it’s certainly part of our dialogue right now. We are talking about ways to give players more control over those custom games.”
There was also a question asking if Dva will get a bikini to wear, which made the entire room wince.
“I don’t know if that would be character appropriate,” said Ford. “I could see her in a boxing costume.”