The official Overwatch Twitter account has posted a significant hint that a new character may already be on their way to the team-shooter. The news adds fuel to persistent theories that the new character would be a blend of sniper and support classes.
The tweet in question (embedded below) features turret-builder Torbjörn’s latest weapon blueprint, a “prototype biotic rifle” that combines the healing tech in Mercy’s Caduceus Staff and Soldier: 76’s Biotic Field AOE healing device. The new rifle would allow the wielder to heal allies at long range, however it could also be used to inflict serious damage. The image featured in the tweet also contains a series of messages from Torbjörn and Mercy regarding the weapon.
[ARCHIVE] Communications Records of Ziegler, A. – Overwatch File 00231 – Security Classification: CONFIDENTIAL pic.twitter.com/lLAxTL2DhO
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 6, 2016
“As discussed, this is the proposed rifle that could be equipped by medics in the field,” reads a message from Torbjörn to Soldier: 76 and Reaper. “Despite what my esteemed colleague will surely suggest, the application of her biotic technology is only intended to be used for healing.”
“While Torbjörn has, as ever, put forth a very clever design for his latest weapon,” reads Mercy’s response, “I would like to remind everyone that my intention when agreeing to the development of different biotic delivery mechanisms was to save the lives of Overwatch agents and others in need of medical aid. With this latest proposal, it is clear to me that we are on a slippery slope to modifications that will inevitably result in a weaponized version of this technology: something that I have been completely opposed to from the beginning.”
Fan speculation has run rampant since prior to the game’s official release that a new sniper character, possibly named Sombra (which is Spanish for “Shadow”), would be the first new character to arrive in Overwatch post-launch. Much of this speculation was based on a number of heavily scrutinised shots from Gamespot’s excellent making-of feature as well as a number of hints within the game proper.
Speculation was further fueled by the fact that Reaper appears to know Sombra quite well — one of his voice lines is “Where’s Sombra when you need her?” — and further hints as to her identity are strewn about the Mexican-themed map Dorado. Another fan theory suggests that Sombra is the secret identity of Ana Amari, an Egyptian sniper and mother of Overwatch‘s resident rocket queen Parah (a theory supported by the Brazilian Overwatch Twitter account, whose version of the above image features “A. Amari” as one of the recipients of Torbjörn and Mercy’s messages (again, embedded below).
Histórico de comunicações de Ziegler, A. – Arquivo do Overwatch 00231 – Classificação de Segurança: CONFIDENCIAL pic.twitter.com/4BBGdmiKBi
— Overwatch (@OverwatchBrasil) July 6, 2016
Blizzard has previously confirmed that fresh heroes are in development for the game and that the developer expects to release them as free DLC. Head designer Jeff Kaplan, in a recent interview with Eurogamer, stated that Blizzard plans to roll new characters out single-file so as not to dramatically affect game balance.