How many people does it take to make an Overwatch character? Over 150

Blizzard has been releasing a continuous stream of new characters for its game Overwatch since it originally launched more than two years ago, and this is no easy task. The process for bringing a new playable hero to the game is massive — so massive, in fact, that more than 150 different people are involved in the implementation of a single character.

During the panel “Creating a Hero” at BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard ran us through the different steps in bringing an Overwatch hero to the game. Initially, about five developers are involved in the concept development phase, which consists of creating basic gameplay and narrative ideas for a new hero.

From there, a team of between 10 and 15 people attempt to “find the fun,” working on elements like design, engineering, art, and audio, before a roughly 40-person team takes the character into full development. This stage involves finishing core work on the hero, as well as designing various skins, emotes, and voice lines.

The team size then doubles for the story development phase, where the team creates short videos, animations, comics, and books to help flesh out the hero and give them a place in the universe. In order to then implement the final hero into the game, localize it for different regions, and share it with the community, the final team size on one hero is more than 150 people.

overwatch three more maps 2017 bastion thumb

Were it not for the development tools Blizzard has at its disposal, this process would likely involve more people and even more time. During a series of panels at BlizzCon 2018 on November 3, Overwatch developers ran us through the art and animation design for a hero, starting with the concept art before handing off the piece to a technical artist who gives models a “skeleton” that can then be manipulated by animators.

Animating heroes in Overwatch can be particularly tricky because several of them have more than one form, and the pieces present in one form must have a place in the other. Bastion, for instance, undergoes a massive change when switching from “recon” mode to “sentry” mode. However, every component you see in one mode is folded or unfolded to exist in the other — it likely helped in the design process for the character’s buildable Lego model, as well, which doesn’t have to be broken down to change between the two.

Overwatch is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Check out our BlizzCon 2018 hub for even more information on the game, including new hero Ashe.

Movies & TV

To drive its giant virtual world, Ready Player One needed a custom A.I. engine

Steven Spielberg and a visual effects team led by Roger Goyett built a new, virtual universe populated by a host of familiar characters for the Oscar-nominated Ready Player One, but they still had to maintain a powerful emotional depth in…

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Movies & TV

How Avengers: Infinity War’s Oscar-nominated VFX team made Thanos a movie star

The purple-skinned Thanos proved to be a breakout character in Avengers: Infinity War, thanks to the work of actor Josh Brolin and visual effects studios Digital Domain and Weta. Here's how they brought him to life and earned the film an…

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Transform into a tetromino master with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks

Tetris 99 is the latest battle royale game to stir up quite a bit of commotion. The Nintendo Switch Online exclusive adds a few new unexplained quirks to the Tetris formula. We've got you covered with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks.

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 

Battle royale-style Tetris 99 is the first Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive game

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.

The best PUBG weapons to win you that coveted chicken dinner

Which weapons in PUBG are worth the time to scout out and fit with attachments? Which are going to help you become the last player standing? We've got the answers you need in our best PUBG weapons guide.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.

Walmart slices prices on PS4 DualShock 4 controllers just in time for Anthem

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

Here's everything you need to know to trade with friends in Pokémon Go

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.