Lore pieces and little snippets led to the heroes we now know and love.
For most of its lifespan, Overwatchs developers have been hiding hints about the future of the game in plain sight. Future events, lore pieces, and even possible hero additions have often been subtly hinted at long before they make an appearance to the general public.
A 2019 news snippet from GameInformer in which the author describes four possible heroes for Overwatch 2 is making the rounds in the community after Ramattras recent introduction to the game. Former game lead Jeff Kaplan, who departed Blizzard Entertainment in early 2021, showed the author a series of silhouettes that anyone would now recognize as the four heroes added to Overwatch 2 since its launch in October.
The author most notably describes a character they believed to be male holding a crooked staff, looking somewhat like a wizard, warlock, or voodoo priest, which is now easily recognizable as Ramattra. There are also extensive references to a female character with a fox at her side, clearly one of Kirikos earliest forms. The other two silhouettes were assumed to be female, which tracks with Sojourn and Junker Queens introductions to Overwatch 2.
Even though this presentation is a heavy-handed example of Kaplans willingness to give hints about future content, in retrospect, he and the development team werent shy about giving out details for Overwatch 2. The breadcrumbs were always there. Did you miss them?
Though he wasnt named in any way at the time, Ramattra played a key part in the Overwatch Archives: Storm Rising mission in early 2019. The PvE missionand one of the games most popular story modessaw Tracer and the Overwatch crew chasing after Maximilien, a wealthy omnic with deep ties to the criminal organization Talon.
As it turned out, the Overwatch squad didnt want Maximilien. They wanted an introduction to Talons best. The scene then cuts to Doomfist, one of Talons best-known members, talking with an unknown omnic who’s about to make a deal with the organization. Even this brief exchange revealed the omnic was related to Null Sector, a common enemy for Overwatch, but didnt give many more details.
We now know the omnic was Ramattra, but Kaplan and the developer team clearly already knew hed be a part of Overwatch 2. Storm Rising debuted in April 2019 and the Ramattra silhouette was shown off around BlizzCon 2019 in November.
From what feels like Overwatchs initial release, rumors about a hero related to the kitsuneor spirit foxswirled around the community. Multiple leaks over the years pointed to a female hero that had an actual fox following her around. She was described as a ninja character with a four-pointed star weapon, which tracks with the GameInformer description of the silhouette shown in 2019.
We later learned that this was the first iteration of Kiriko, modeled as a more damage-heavy character, in the Developer Update about her release in Overwatch 2.
Kiriko, however, was hanging around for years in the pages of Overwatch lore. In early 2021, a letter written by Asa Yamagamiwho we now know to be Kirikos motherwas posted. While the letter is mostly about the state of Kanezaka (released as a Deathmatch map alongside this lore) and its takeover by the Hashimoto clan, Asa Yamagami talks a lot about her daughter. She also mentions the fox spirit and the eventual entire lore of Kirikos origin story.
That doesnt seem too remarkable knowing what we do now, but consider that this piece of lore was put out a full year and a half before Kiriko would make her appearance in Overwatch 2.
Befitting her personality, hints about Junker Queen werent as subtle as those surrounding some of her Overwatch 2 counterparts. She was introduced in the Junkertown: The Plan cinematic (and in the map of the same name) in 2017 and fans immediately latched onto the mythical story and brassy voice of the Junker Queen. For years, she existed only as a screaming threat over Junkertowns rusty speakers and as fodder for hundreds of fan artists over the years.
Fans pretty much demanded her inclusion in the game, but developers were apparently also smitten with the Queen. Kaplan mentioned Junker Queen during one of his annual Yule Log broadcasts in 2019. He even said she should be a damage or tank hero. She was officially introduced as the sequels first new tank hero with Overwatch 2s launch on Oct. 4, 2022.
The heroes that ended up in Overwatch 2 have clearly been in development for a long time, but none had quite the tenure that Sojourn did. In 2019before Overwatch 2 was even announcedKaplan revealed that Sojourn had been in development as early as 2014.
Because she spent so much time in the minds of developers, shes been a part of Overwatch in subtle ways since the games initial release. A picture of Sojourn is briefly flashed in the 2016 cinematic Recall in which Winston calls for former Overwatch agents to rejoin the fight. She made a more official appearance in the Storm Rising campaign, guiding players through the story mission.
After her large role in Storm Rising, it wasnt much of a surprise when she was announced as the next Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2019. Though it would take another two years for her to arrive alongside the Overwatch 2 beta tests, it was clear that Sojourn was a critical part of the games new era.
Of all the heroes that were eventually released with Overwatch 2, Sojourn likely had the most sentimental value to Kaplan and his team. Around 2019, Kaplan reportedly received a letter from a fan named Vivian, asking for a black female hero to be added to the game. This year, Sojournalso known as Vivian Chasemade her debut in the game.