Last year we asked you all of you to help us build the perfect FPS. We mixed up the most popular ideas you submitted in our reader survey, and the steampunk post-apocalyptic WW2 game called "Rising Dark Shadow: Apocalypse Protocol" emerged from the chaos. And since that method produced something memorable the first time, we decided to do it again.
We loved this fan-made Overwatch character by Mario Manzanares so much that it inspired us to make our own. So we created another Google survey to ask all of you what you want the next Overwatch character to be like. Over 5,200 people offered their character design expertise.
We mashed the top results together, and hired the fantastic Esther Smisdom—artist behind another one of our favorite fan-made Overwatch Heroes, Cyrille—to bring them to life. Even if this isn't exactly the character you imagined, it is indicative of larger trends that the Overwatch community may be craving.
So without any further ado, we present the next Overwatch hero, as designed by the PC Gamer community, Venus.
Venus is a Canadian ex-scientist who began experimenting with plants, inevitably leading them to take over and mutate parts of her body. She is a melee Offense hero that uses AoE vine attacks at a close range and has a bad attitude.
Starting simple, 40.6% of you voted for an Offense hero, with second place being Tank at 28.3%, that’s a pretty big victory. Unsurprisingly, Support did the worst at 12.4%, which makes sense given a support was just added to the game.
Human beat out omnic by about 9%, though our somewhat jokey answer of ‘Genetically modified plant’ even did better than omnic. ‘Genetically modified animal’ did the worst at 16.8%, sorry Winston.
We asked you to pick their color scheme from a list of 10, and the clear winner was green with 23.1%, followed by black at 16.1% and then red at 14.6%. As a result, green became her primary color, black her secondary, and we added red for some extra detail.
When asked about the ability theme for our hero, things started to fall into place. The top choice for weapon and ability theme was ‘Plants’ with 15.7% of the vote—in a category with 18 options, that’s a resounding win. Second place was ‘Hand-to-Hand’ with 13%, which we’ll come back to later.
The top character theme for most of the contest was ‘Mystical,’ but that was beaten out by just 17 votes on the last day by ‘Mutant-Animal Hybrid.’ This close race, combined with the clear ‘Plant’ ability theme and surprisingly strong showing for ‘Genetically modified plant’ in the species question meant we decided to mix all these idea together a bit, and a magical genetically modified plant-hybrid person that you see above was the result.
The character details
Believe it or not, Venus was actually the most suggested name—well, after Sombra and Harambe—and we thought it was perfect. Sorry, Harambe.
Another clear trend is that Venus is definitely from Canada. In a short answer response question (meaning people had to physically type an answer in), Canada got an unbelievable 8.5% of the almost 4,300 responses. How is that even possible? Take note, Blizzard.
The ‘Scientist or Doctor’ background won out with 21%, followed by ‘Criminal’ at 17%. That second part comes somewhat in handy, because when asked to rate the attitude of our hero on a scale of 1-5 (one being edgy like Reaper, five being cheery like Tracer) Venus came in at a 2 with 35.5%.
We also asked you who her closest friend and biggest enemy was, but apparently the Great White North is a solitary place, because the answer was ‘no one’ for both, with 13% of the vote each time. For laughs, Bastion was the second place for friend with 11.7%, and Reaper was second place for enemy with 9%.
Also, 59.1% of you think she hasn’t come back from the dead. 22.5% just can’t be sure.
The abilities and playstyle
After we asked about her background, we decided to get into her abilities and playstyle, which is a bit harder to poll. But even so, a pretty clear image appeared of what Venus would be like to play. The ability image above is a sampling of suggestions you gave that fit into the most popular themes and ability effects.
In question allowing you to check multiple answer boxes about what playstyle she had, there were three big winners: Close up at 36.9%, Crowd Control at 32.8%, and AoE at 26.5%. The next answer drops to 13%, and those three are actually pretty coherent.
Her basic attack being a melee vine whip seemed fitting to both the theme and the general playstyle suggestions. It was recommended a few times across various answer boxes, and just really seems to go well with the rest of her ability kit.
Venus’ ‘Shift’ ability is clearly a movement mechanic, with 26% of the the vote. The vine pull ability highlighted above seemed like a cool way to incorporate the plant theme, and though may be a little bit similar to Widowmaker, it would also be used as sort of a reverse Roadhog hook to pull Venus toward an enemy. A couple other common and cool suggestions were placing vines on a wall that all allies can climb and burrowing into the ground.
Her 'E' ability was more of a split decision, but ‘AoE’ came out on top at 17.6%, followed by ‘Defensive’ at 15.5%. The AoE win goes nicely with the playstyle question above, and the AoE spore cloud heal suggested by one responder seemed like a nice fit to tie all these ideas together, and to keep her alive if she’ll be jumping into a fight. A few other cool suggestion were blurring enemy vision, poison spore clouds, dropping trees on people.
Venus’ ultimate also had a pretty clear winner to it, with ‘Disrupts the enemy team in a big way’ winning with 28.1% of the vote, followed by ‘Massive AoE damage’ at 24.4%. Our favorite suggestion with an AoE immobilization, basically putting every nearby enemy into a Junkrat trap-like effect with roots coming out of the ground. It synergizes well with her entire kit, was suggested a couple times, and just sounds awesome.
In the end, I’m pretty amazed with how well Venus turned out. She’s a strange character, that’s for sure, but the internet hivemind that is our readers actually managed to create a somewhat coherent design across theme, abilities, naming, and even color scheme!
We also asked for voice line suggestions, and by far the most common suggestion was "Grow up!" A few other good ones were: "Man and Machine may rule the Earth now, but one day Plants will dominate the land," or "(To Mei) - You have to let it grow," and simply "[Banana noises]."
Thanks to everyone who voted and made suggestions, and a big thank you to the fantastically talented artist who brought Venus to life, Esther Smisdom. You can find more of her work on her ArtStation page.