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The Overwatch team may be teasing the game’s next hero

Is it another gorilla?

Winston from Overwatch
Winston from Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Blizzard Entertainment appears to be hinting at the arrival of a new hero for Overwatch, according to the game’s fictional Atlas News outlet. All signs seemingly point to that new hero being another genetically modified gorilla who was raised on the moon.

Blizzard’s latest tease comes in the form of new information about the fate of the Horizon Lunar Colony, the moon base on which Overwatch hero Winston was raised. In a series of emails between scientists at the Horizon Lunar Colony, we get a few hints about who Overwatch’s next hero — or villain — might be.

Here’s the first message, which hints at the gorilla-led uprising that ultimately spelled disaster at the moon base:

Screenshot of email from Overwatch website Blizzard Entertainment

While Overwatch’s Winston developed genius-level intelligence as part of his genetic modifications, it appears other primates on the Horizon Lunar Colony responded differently. Other emails liken the gorillas to rowdy teenagers acting out against their caretakers and mention that all test subjects on the colony have experienced similar negative effects.

One of the emails calls out a specific subject by name: Hammond.

Blizzard Entertainment

Beyond putting a name to Overwatch’s potential new character, the email offers a distinction between Winston and Hammond. The latter is apparently a “smaller test subject,” meaning he might not be the brutish tank that Winston is. Another email mentions that scientists on the colony have heard “strange sounds coming through the ventilation system throughout the colony,” a possible clue that Hammond could be a smaller, stealthier genetically modified gorilla.

(Incidentally, Hammond is also the surname of Jurassic Park’s founder in Michael Crichton’s novel and Steven Spielberg’s film. It’s hard to find a better example of genetic engineering gone wrong than that in the collective consciousness.)

Overwatch’s Horizon Lunar Colony was, according to in-game fiction, “established as a first step for humanity's renewed exploration of space.” The station housed gorillas as part of an experiment to determine the effects of “prolonged habitation in space.” That experiment had a gruesome end: The gorillas revolted and killed the colony’s scientists, and took over the station. Using a rocket ship, Winston escaped to Earth and joined Overwatch.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan may have subtly hinted at Hammond in a recent interview. During a livestream on Twitch, Kaplan said “there’s also some really cool hero news just on the horizon,” which is either a fun coincidence or a very sneaky tease about the origins of Overwatch’s next character.

The arrival of the game’s 25th hero could be imminent. Kaplan said during the same interview that there are “cool content drops every single month between now and the end of the year.” Kaplan could, however, be referring to new maps coming to Overwatch. He said that “more main core maps” are en route for Overwatch’s quick play and competitive modes. Blizzard launched Overwatch’s Anniversary event, which included three new arena maps and 11 legendary character skins, in May.

Blizzard has released three post-launch heroes for Overwatch: Ana last July, Sombra last November and Orisa in March.