Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has revealed to IBTimes UK that the hit online shooter's next playable hero is a lot closer than fans may have expected just two weeks after the introduction of the game's last hero, Orisa.
Speaking in London ahead of this week's BAFTA Video Game Awards, Kaplan sat down to discuss the game with IBTimes UK. The full interview will be published on 5 April.
"Yes! I absolutely know who the next hero is going to be," Kaplan said in response to our question about the 25th playable character. "The next hero is very far along in development, so we're at the point where we're doing art for that hero, we're doing a lot of aggressive play-testing.
"We know what that hero, what the abilities are and how they interact, so we're at that point. The heroes past that hero are more in prototype, exploration phase but the next hero we're pretty set on."
Hero 24, tank class android Orisa, was announced and released in March, and so far has been a hit with the game's enormous fan base. Orisa was the third hero to be added to the game since its launch last year, following healer Ana and offensive hacker Sombra.
The only character class in Overwatch that hasn't yet received a new hero is the defence class, so we asked Kaplan whether it would be safe to assume a new defence hero was on the way. "No it is not safe to assume that," is all he said.
IBTimes UK also asked Kaplan about the reaction to Orisa, two weeks on from her introduction.
"It's been great," he said. "We've seen reactions scanning the gambit, where some people are commenting on her gameplay and the uniqueness her different abilities bring to the game, and the new role she fills. And then there are a lot of people who are just responding to her as a character."
The character's bio on the official Overwatch site reads: "Orisa serves as the central anchor of her team and defends her teammates from the frontline with a protective barrier. She can attack from long range, fortify her own defences, launch graviton charges to slow and move enemies, and deploy a Supercharger to boost the damage output of multiple allies at once."
Overwatch was named our game of the year for 2016 and was one of the biggest hits of last year. As of January the game hit 25 million active players, a figure which Kaplan reiterated during our interview.