Smite's next playable character is Heimdallr the Vigilant, the Norse god who wields the powerful horn Gjallarhorn and the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr has been a possibility the Smite community has discussed for some time, and Hi-Rez has announced that he's finally arriving in the game next month—although in a role that may be a surprise for many fans.
See, Heimdallr is a big, burly Norse god, with arms big enough to hoist Gjallarhorn and a pair of mean-looking axes. But instead of a guardian or warrior role, Hi-Rez has cast Heimdallr as a hunter, which are generally more agile, lithe characters like Apollo, Jing Wei, and Neith.
Smite lead game designer AJ Walker says his team wanted Heimdallr to feel unique.
"When we made our next physical hunter, we wanted them to feel different from the rest of our hunters, which is why we picked this character who's a bigger, stronger, armored Viking who throws these giant axes," Walker explained to PC Gamer. "We're intentionally breaking some of [the community's] expectations with Heimdallr because a lot of people perceived him to be a guardian or warrior—very tanky, very stoic, very defensive."
That said, the important lore elements the community was expecting for Heimdallr, like his horn and sword, will all feature into his abilities and equipment, Walker said.
While Walker wasn't ready to go into specifics on Heimdallr's abilities yet, they're each highlighted in the new trailer above. And Walker gave us a general idea of what to expect from Heimdallr on the field.
One of his abilities, for example, is a mixture of a warding or vision with a shaped skillshot component. Another is a disruptive, channeled area of attack spell. And Heimdallr gets around using Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard with the world of humans.
As Hi-Rez's design team developed Heimdallr, they experimented with some ideas that didn't make the final cut. One of those was the ability to trigger Ragnarok by blowing Gjallarhorn.
"What that meant was we would spawn five evil Norse gods and five good Norse gods that would have a giant fight on top of your fight, and you would have to dodge them killing each other and knocking each other around," Walker said. "We were like, that's a little too crazy maybe, or a little too confusing. But we had all sorts of interesting ideas for him."
We'll be able to try Heimdallr for ourselves when he arrives in Smite in December. The Hi-Rez Expo 2019 is currently underway in Atlanta, Georgia. It runs through this weekend, and you can watch live on Twitch.