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Overwatch’s Orisa Was Designed From A Gameplay Prespective First
Not all heroes have to be waifu material. Orisa the robot tank may not have been what fans expected an Overwatch hero to look like, but it was all done on purpose.
In a recent GDC talk, lead writer of Overwatch Micheal Chu discussed how Orisa came to be. “On the art side, our assistant art director wanted to explore new things,” he said.
“He really wanted to push the boundaries of what an Overwatch hero could look like.”
Thus, the four-legged omnic with horns is born. But before that, Orisa’s initial conception started to tackle a gameplay issue. “Orisa was a character that emerged from game design. We wanted to have what we called an anchor tank: an alternative to Reinhardt.”
As we mentioned in her reveal post, her kit certainly can be an alternative to Reinhardt, though she most likely excel when played on the defensive side. In this part, Orisa excels. But will fans clamour to Orisa like the rest of the Overwatch heroes?
Blizzard have thought of this. Her unconventional design and look will be a hard sell, so they found a way to ground Orisa with something more relatable. That’s where Efi Oladele comes to play.The young inventor might have been introduced at the start of the Orisa teasers just to throw off fans, but she is very much designed to be the gateway for fans to relate to Orisa.
“We needed something to pull it together, and for us, that was the character of Efi, who’s this child genius who believed that she could build a her,” Chu added. “We imagined that when she was working on Orisa and upgrading her, they had a little TV on in the lab, and they were watching the Overwatch Saturday morning cartoon.
“So what if we could perceive Orisa and the world around her through Efi’s eyes and, by association, learn more about the world that way? Orisa as we know her was born. We had this new character learning about her place in the world. She was learning how to be a hero.”
There’s no denying that Blizzard’s art has always been so captivating. Outside of the game, fanarts of various kinds (including NSFW ones) and cosplays continue to be a trend as fans adore these heroes who are all well designed. Seeing Blizzard trying to do something out of the ordinary sometimes is good to see, and the amount of work being thought of to make Orisa fit in the universe is interesting.
But the best thing about all this is how it all started as a way to introduce new gameplay. The rest is just the icing on top.