If gamers ever wonder how much work goes in to designing an Overwatch character, it’s worth taking a look at the concept art for some of the game’s heroes. One notable example of a character that has undergone a tremendous change in development is Chinese climatologist Mei, who apparently used to be a bounty hunter by the name of Frostbite.
Drawing inspiration from the winter ice-carving festivals that take place in China, Blizzard began to create a hero that utilized the cold to her advantage. A new image has surfaced online, taken from the offices of the developer itself, that shows Overwatch‘s Mei originally wielded an ice-rifle, which she used to capture her targets in ice.
The character was more of a hardened adventurer tham the lovable scientist that we all know, and though her clothing is similar, the hero’s body type was significantly changed to a more athletic build. Eventually, Blizzard writes, artist Arnold Tsang drew some rather different concept art, showing Frostbite as a “cute, nerdy scientist” and the ultimate design for Mei was born.
Blizzard imagined a character who was optimistic, loved adventure, and embodied the idea of a “normal” person who could be inspired to take up the path of heroism – a concept which is rather far from Frostbite’s starting point. Of course, appearance is only a small part of new Overwatch character development, and the company has a lot of other aspects to work on before new heroes get released.
At present, we know that the next hero for Overwatch is very far along in development, so it’s extremely likely that the highly-anticipated Doomfist has already got a fixed character design. Now it’s likely just a case of balancing the hero just right so that he fits into the game’s meta perfectly at release.
Of course a character is unlikely to be perfectly balanced when they arrive on Overwatch‘s PTR, but Blizzard is very good at making changes to prevent heroes being too powerful after a few weeks of testing have occurred. Right now, the company also has six maps in development, ready to begin releasing in the coming months. In many ways, these new areas probably require even more testing than characters, due to each side having to be perfectly balanced for all characters to make things fair in competitive play.
Ovewatch is available now for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.