The February 2nd update to Overwatch’s Public Test Region (PTR) on PC saw the implementation of a server browser for custom games, the introduction of capture the flag as a permanent game mode, and various character changes to improve the fairness and balance of the four hero classes. Much more exciting, however, were the discoveries made by players of potential future changes to the game interface and map and character designs, all of which point to one thing – the impending introduction of a new hero to the game.
Until last week, it seemed almost certain that Overwatch’s 24th hero was going to be Doomfist – wielder of the gauntlet first seen in the original cinematic trailer that Reaper and Widowmaker attempt to steal in Numbani, and renowned ex-hero who could reportedly level skyscrapers with a punch. Not much is known about Doomfist other than that the title has been carried by at least three men thus far, that all of them have used similar gauntlets in battle, and that if ever introduced as a playable character he will most likely be a tank, hoping to resolve the current, monotonous meta that plagues competitive play.
The present speculation surrounding Doomfist comes not only because of the redesigned hero gallery (which now has a suspiciously empty void where a new character card should be) and reported introduction of Doomfist’s theme as menu music, but also due to the data-mined new models, including those for the Numbani payload. In these, the glass around the gauntlet in its on-car container appears to be smashed, as if the casing has been compromised, leading players to believe that there may be an upcoming Doomfist event or animated short whereby the gauntlet is stolen. If so, this could explain Reaper’s existing voice line that ‘Doomfist should do his own dirty work’ if it is indeed Doomfist who steals his own gauntlet back – or perhaps it could mark the origin story of the latest in the Doomfist line. Or is that too hopeful?
The answer? Yes – yes, it is. Until last week it seemed like Doomfist was going to be the next hero introduced; this may no longer be the case. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s director of gameplay wrote last week in response to a post about new character development on the official Overwatch forums that the company’s current thoughts with regard to game content are that ‘introducing a new hero to the line-up would be more impactful’ and, more importantly, that ’24 is not who you think it is’ – implying that the game’s next hero might not be Doomfist after all.
Kaplan’s comments have thrown the entire Overwatch community into a speculative mess, as no other heroes have currently been teased, and with not so much as a single hint throughout the game as to the potential identity of an alternative hero (besides the brief flashes of unidentified characters in shorts and artwork), fans are at a loss. Thus, with no concrete information, all we players can do is speculate and wait for Blizzard’s next move.