Jeff Kaplan says Wrecking Ball was a 'controversial' addition to Overwatch

Overwatch's marquee characters include giant monkey with power armor and a super-genius intellect, and these guys, and so you might reasonably think that new character creation is an "anything goes" kind of process. It is not, according to director Jeff Kaplan, who told Kotaku at the recent BlizzCon event that Wrecking Ball, the hamster with a ball that transforms into a quadrupedal battlemech, is about as far as Blizzard wants to go.

"Do we have ideas that are wackier than Hammond? Yes. Will they ever make it into the game? I don’t think so," Kaplan said. 

In fact, Kaplan said that Hammond himself—Hammond is Wrecking Balls' real name—was too far over the line for some Overwatch developers. "Hammond was very controversial on the team," he said. "Like, actual heated debates where we had to calm people down, where we were like, ‘We’re not gonna ruin Overwatch by introducing this character.’ Some people literally felt like we might be. We took that very seriously." 

Wrecking Ball worked out to be a popular Overwatch hero despite the worries, no doubt in part because he's small and furry and so terribly cute, at least when he's not angry and on the guns. Nonetheless, Kaplan said his creation was "a cautionary tale" about pushing creative boundaries. 

“I think when it comes to the creativity of the Overwatch team, pushing up against Hammond and Winston is maybe as far as we go,” he said. “Maybe? For now at least?” 

Overwatch's newest hero, Ashe, was revealed at BlizzCon and went live on the PTR earlier this week. She's fairly conventional as Overwatch characters go, but her friend is kind of weird. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.