Overwatch’s Hammond revealed as mecha death hamster (and he’s live on the PTR server right now)

Overwatch

Update: Looks like Blizzard got the ball rolling quickly on this one. Shortly after revealing new Overwatch hero Hammond the Hamster’s true nature as a diminutive spider-tank pilot in a brief teaser video, they rolled the little fuzzball out on the public test servers so you can try him out in combat right now. They also released origin story and developer update videos (watch within), along with his codename: Wrecking Ball.

As well as some solid info on the mech-piloting rodent, you also can read our original story within, back from the dark ages of about five hours ago, when all we had to go on was a short teaser video and some cryptic hints.

I’ve got a feeling that Blizzard got tired of doing long and convoluted character teasers with Sombra. Why run a pseudo-ARG for months when you can just drop a few hints here and there, then have the character just saunter on up to the test servers locked, loaded and ready to rock? Not that I’m complaining, although I’ve got to reinstall Overwatch if I want to give the heavyweight hamster a try on the battlefield. Here’s his origin story, by the by:

So, Hammond is a retired mecha pit-fighter, after escaping from his laboratory home on the moon after a primate uprising and landing in post-apocalyptic Australia. Now he’s an experienced combat pilot and wanting to get back in the big leagues, so he’s hooked up with the Overwatch crew. A little more grandiose than I expected for the rodent, but cool nonetheless. Plus, we at least get confirmation that the Queen of Australia picks her champions from the best of the best. Now for some info on how he works in-game.

To play as Hammond, open up your Battle.net launcher, click the Region/Account button above the Play button, and switch to the ‘In Development’ Public Test Realm server. His big twist is that he’s a dual-stance character. He can either be a highly mobile rolling ball (with a grappling hook to allow for some ridiculous feats of agility), or a slow-moving machinegun tank. Overall, he’s a tank-type character, but with some defensive mine-laying tricks up his tiny fuzzy sleeves. Happy hunting.

Original Story: Blizzard have been teasing who Overwatch‘s next hero is going to be for a while now. Among the hints dropped in-game and out, we’ve had confirmation of a name – Hammond – as well as some small, non-human footprints and a teasing little video clip of a mechanised ball rolling around. Today’s video released on Twitter revealed a truth more horrifying than any could have imagined.

I’ve never trusted hamsters. They always look so shifty, like they’re planning something. Now we know; those ‘adorable’ little balls of fuzz are more than happy to saddle up in their mecha death-balls and go to war. We must protect ourselves against this cute and squeaking tide, or we’ll be the ones being fed pellets and forced to run in giant transparent plastic wheels next.

What with his supposed relationship to Winston and their shared origins at the Horizon lunar research facility, I was sure that Hammond was going to be some manner of primate. Ideally some kind of super monkey, rolling around in a ball. Still, I must admit that the name makes more sense now. Probably for the best, anyway – if he were a chimp, they’d need to put clothes on him. After all, the last thing we need to see is Hammond’s organ.

Quite what lunatic (because they’re from the moon, get it?) scientist figured they should upgrade a hamster ball into a robot spider death-tank probably needs to be brought up on war crimes charges, but it’s interesting to see such a wildly different character design. Hopefully it leads to some interesting new gameplay, too – high mobility/armor when in ball mode, but heavy firepower when deployed in mech-turret form, perhaps? What other tricks could this nefarious rodent have tucked away in his cheeks?

We’re still at the mysterious teasing phase of this particular hero’s reveal, so it’s probably a while til we find out how Hammond works in-game and when he’ll be rolling out to the public test servers. At least we now know what the face of our impending doom looks like; round, fuzzy and with big buck teeth. While we’re waiting for the hamster tide to bring fire and death to the world, Overwatch just got a major update that overhauls Symmetra, adds new group-finding functionality, and (terrifyingly) extends McCree’s Ultimate to sniper-like ranges.

43 Comments

  1. Zorgulon says:

    Well played, Blizzard, there we all were expecting a chimp. Suppose the ball should have made it more obvious.

    I wonder how he’ll play: like a more mobile, tanky Bastion-lite? Or something else entirely…

  2. Kollega says:

    As ludicrous as this seems… the hard truth is that far from every game lets you play as a war hamster. This is an example of novelty as glaringly obvious as you’re probably going to get – and though I don’t like Overwatch, I applaud this.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I am always hoping for more weird and non-human characters (and enemies) in games. Gruff Military Man With Gun is just so boring.

      (Sorry Squad Dad 76, but you are)

      • Kollega says:

        Yeah – right now, you’re talking to a guy who thinks that the Ratchet & Clank series has the best protagonists ever. So yes, I do wish that we got more games (in the sci-fi genre, to start with) where you get to play as a non-human protagonist. The possibilities are endless!

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          They really are! Earthly inhuman critters, aliens, robots, plants, mountains, cities, herds of lampposts, slices of bread, star-trekky
          entities, … Bring on the more broadly varied variety, I say!

    • Aetylus says:

      Not as novel as you might think. Atlas Reactor released their Hamster in a War Ball a little while back:
      link to atlasreactorgame.com

      • SWManiac says:

        I think you’re forgetting that everyone is just copying Blizzard, regardless of the actual timing of specific events.

      • Kollega says:

        Well, that’s definitely “impressive”. Just when I thought that Blizzard may have decided to go with the ever-awesome approach of “think of something brazenly ridiculous inspired by commonplace ideas, then see how to make it work” for this character… it then turns out that another game did the same kind of thing quite recently. And I mean, I’d give them the benefit of a doubt… if I actually liked them. But I don’t.

      • Shadow says:

        I see a pretty loose resemblance, far looser than Tol-Ren’s to Genji and Meridian’s to Reinhardt, for instance.

    • Apologised says:

      Agreed, and I can’t wait to see him in HotS. Because we are definitely getting him for HotS.

  3. JTDenton says:

    The best thing about this reveal has been people working themselves into a frenzy over convincing themselves that it’s actually the Junkertown Queen, and this is her ult. Which, mind you, is just plausible enough that I’m not willing to write it off entirely until we get a full reveal :p

    • Excors says:

      That does seem plausible, like how people thought Efi might have been a new hero, until a few days later it was revealed she was just part of Orisa’s story. Similarly Hammond is the Champion of Junkertown, and part of the Queen’s story.

      On the other hand, Hammond looks a lot more fun and it’d be rather disappointing if he wasn’t actually the hero.

  4. Minglefingler says:

    Don’t worry primate fans, the next hero will be a bellowing ape called Clarkson.

  5. mitrovarr says:

    In b4 the obligatory Minsc reference.

  6. NetharSpinos says:

    Blizzard taking notes from Atlas Reactor then, I take it?

    If nothing else I’m sure their incarnation will be more warmly received; everyone* hates Isadora.

    *hyperbolically speaking, of course.

    • Menthalion says:

      Going on the usual narrative spin of RPS on Blizzard games, they’re probably going to post a story how Atlas Reactor is a clone of Overwatch soon after Hammond hits live.

  7. brucethemoose says:

    Am I crazy, or is this a Richard Hammond reference?

    • battles_atlas says:

      I always associated “hamster Hammond” with Stuart Lee’s Top Gear material, rather than the show itself. Though given I didn’t watch the show this is hardly revealing of what the original source was.

      • brucethemoose says:

        Oh, he was definitely called “hampster” in Top Gear itself. I don’t know when Lee’s references were made, but Clarkson and May were relentless about it for, well, I can’t even remember how long.

        Grand Tour needs a competetive gaming segment with Overwatch before it gets shut down. I’m sure May and Clarkson would push it just for this new hero, if they knew.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I was going to post some curmudgeonly something about this being too cutesy and absurd, but then I guess there’s already a talking ape.

    Still kinda absurd though.

    That said, hey. The game has been out a year, and any semblance of story gets obliterated by the randomly-teaming-up people fighting over nothing-really.

    So bring on the hamsters.

    • Dogahn says:

      Have you ever had hamsters? I had three once. One of them got pist, tore into the other two. Fucked one up so bad you could see a hole in its skull. Third one died from injuries sustained winning that fight.

      Hamsters yo.

      • Themadcow says:

        They are indeed evil bastards – see my hamster cannibalism story a few posts below…

        Why people would put them up their bottoms I’ll never know.

  9. Vacuity729 says:

    I don’t play Overwatch. I don’t really care about Overwatch.

    But this is seven shades of awesome! More games need protagonists along these lines.

  10. Themadcow says:

    Hamsters ARE shifty. I had 6 while growing up as a child, 3 of which died via apparent suicide or misadventure.

    Two broke their necks falling onto their seed tray while using the ceiling of their cage as monkey bars, one cracked it’s hamster ball crashing into the fire-place… the cat took it’s opportunity, and my two Russian hamsters – Fatty and Skinny – fell out. Fatty ate Skinny overnight.

    Overall, they seem pretty well suited to violent death.

  11. Chasdiel says:

    As a man who’s wife’s appreciation of his gaming directly influences how much he can play, I believe I have found my new main.

  12. cpt_freakout says:

    Please be an evil hamster that talks about its world-domination plans in a squeaky voice, please…

  13. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    They sure do like their stuffed cheeks over there…

  14. coleislazy says:

    “Hammond does not speak English or any other language. That would be completely ridiculous.” -Jeff Kaplan, straight-faced

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Credit where it’s due, he has a good poker face.

    • Moraven says:

      He/They said on stream that Hammond uses soundboards to talk.

      • Excors says:

        In the game, all the voice lines appear to be Hammond squeaking followed by the mech speaking in English, so it seems more like an automatic audio translator.

        Presumably Hammond does understand English, which is how he could program his mech to translate, and how he could teach himself engineering by reading the books lying around Horizon Lunar Colony; he just lacks the vocal cords to physically speak himself.

    • Mr. Unpleasant says:

      The best Jeff after Jeff Goldblum.

  15. Ninjustin1302 says:

    Titan died for this… :(

    • mitrovarr says:

      A worthy successor to TF2 and a genuinely fun game instead of another games-as-work MMO that even the studio making it agreed wasn’t fun? I’ll take it!

  16. NaShav says:

    That “Hammond Organ” pun came out of nowhere, brilliantly executed !
    Oh and the character seems fun, I guess ?

  17. The K says:

    Following the latest “controversy”, i now want a detailed essay about how racist, misogynist, ableist, whatever-ist this Hamster is.

    Or at least how he may LOOK like a Hamster, but identifies himself as a pansexual, genderfluid nonbinary Droideka, or something.

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