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

The hamster dance of death

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:

Cover image for YouTube video

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.

Cover image for YouTube video

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.

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Dominic Tarason