Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan has reiterated the team doesn’t have a “specific number of heroes” in mind for the game, but he does see the addition of new characters slowing down over time.
Speaking with PC Gamer, Kaplan said at present, Overwatch players are familiar with every hero and needs to be maintained. This is something Lewis Burnell touched upon in his piece regarding hero releases, when he said “understanding each heroes purpose, their strengths and limitations is often key to success.”
Kaplan also said any new hero would need to compliment “the existing cast” and not take away the worth or value of the others. At this point, the magic number of hero releases is three to four per year.
He also said Blizzard doesn’t want to “homogenize heroes by repeating abilities or variants of the same ability.”
“We still have some amazing ideas for heroes that would have unique gameplay and backstories that would fit well within our game,” said Kaplan, “but ultimately, when it comes to heroes, we prefer quality over quantity.”
Kaplan previously said, when he reveled the scrapped concept of a jetpack with a cat lying in it, that only three to four heroes would be released per year. This is where it stands currently, and he doesn’t want to see hero development go “any faster than that.”
Principal director Geoff Goodman added that they team has “barely scratched the surface” of fun things to try with Overwatch heroes, and there’s a “giant list of cool ideas to try out.” This includes new heroes and other mechanics.
“Pharah was one of our first heroes, but I remember when we implemented her I was immediately thinking of a hero that flies 100% of the time and never needs to touch the ground—that might be interesting to try some day,” said Goodman.
“We’ve had a few experiments where we had abilities or guns that could pierce walls… what if a hero could just blast a hole through a wall? Or somehow create objects for players to run on or stand on? The possibilities are endless.”
Until new heroes arrive, you can always just change them up with new skins, and there are plenty to be had through Loot Box drops in the Anniversary event going on now through June 12.
And, maybe someday in the future, players will be handed new hero skins based on other Blizzard properties. Kaplan told PC Gamer this is a possibility as Overwatch continues to become “more firmly established as a Blizzard Universe.”