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  1. #1

    Overwatch 2 - Kiriko Origin Story and Developer Update

    Overwatch 2 - Kiriko Origin Story and Developer Update
    Blizzard has revealed Kiriko's Origin Story!




    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    She's been on all our minds since we teased her in the June reveal event, and now, she’s here. Kiriko Kamori is staged to join the support roster as Overwatch’s 35th hero, and we’re excited to share more about her personality, toolkit, and gameplay!

    Drawing on her Miko and Kunoichi training, Kiriko supports her team through gentle healing, deadly precision, and fluid mobility. The early idea for her kit was to create a dual damage/support hero with strong mobility and a high skill ceiling. Kiriko can be rewarding for high-skill players while also being a great healing option for beginning players.

    She was created by narrative and hero design mostly in tandem since Kiriko’s concept art was originally drafted for a PvE enemy from the ninja ecology. Her concept art inspired the direction of both her gameplay and narrative, and we’re happy that her big personality shines through her playstyle.


    To hear more about the process of bringing Kiriko from concept to launch, we talked to three designers who worked on her: hero designer Josh Noh, and narrative designers Justin Groot and Kyungseo Min.

    Healing Ofuda, Kunai, and Wall Climb

    Kiriko’s primary fire, Healing Ofuda, are talismans that heal her teammates. She fires up to ten healing projectiles depending on how long the primary fire key is held. Healing Ofuda is a single target heal, with blue talismans that home in on allies and turn yellow when they heal; the charms are breezy and slow, so the further you are from your teammates, the longer it will take to heal them.

    "The visual and sound effects associated with Kiriko's primary heal draw on themes from nature, and we tried to match this in her lines," Groot explains. "So, you'll hear Kiriko say things like 'The breeze brings relief,' or 'Like a gentle rain,' when she heals allies."

    Her breezy, tranquil primary fire is a stark contrast to the tempo of her next ability: Kunai. Kiriko’s secondary fire, Kunai, are small, leaf-shaped knives that she throws one at a time. The knives have low overall damage but do additional critical damage—and Kiriko isn’t afraid to taunt enemies who get caught in her Kunai’s path.

    “Kiriko is a mischievous person, and she'll sometimes tease the enemies she eliminates,” says Groot. “She’ll say things like, ‘I thought you were the sniper’ when she lands a kill on Widowmaker or Ana.”

    Kiriko’s passive ability, Wall Climb, allows her to scale up walls. "We decided on Wall Climb because Kiriko went through the same training as Hanzo and Genji, so it makes sense they would share some of the same background,” Noh explains, “And, like each of the Shimadas, Kiriko also has special mobility skill that’s specific to her.”

    Swift Step

    Swift Step allows Kiriko to teleport directly to an ally within a certain distance—even through walls. When you activate the ability, you need to have a target before you can confirm the movement. Confirming an ally will let you go directly to them.

    “Seeing your teammates die behind walls can be frustrating,” Noh explains, “You see your team’s health bar ticking down through walls, but you can’t quite get a line of sight on them.” With this ability, not even walls will prevent Kiriko from covering a generous amount of space to help her teammates!

    She loves to kid around with her teammates, so you can expect to see some witty interactions with her teleport.

    “Although she’s a fierce hero, Kiriko loves to play,” Min says. “She’ll give Cassidy a “Howdy” when she jumps to him, and she tells Mercy, “I’ll be YOUR angel” when Kiriko jumps to her.”

    Swift Stepping at the right time, though, is key to utilizing the ability effectively.

    “You want to be careful about traveling to injured teammates because something’s probably going on over there if their health bar is in the red,” says Noh.

    Once you teleport into the line of fire, you won’t be able to Swift Step back out until the ability is ready again. This might sound dangerous, but like every good fox, Kiriko is full of tricks. When fights take a turn for the worse, she has another ability up her sleeve.


    Protection Suzu

    Protection Suzu is a small, bell-shaped projectile that makes allies briefly invulnerable and cleanses negative status effects when it impacts the ground or an ally directly. The ability affects all allies within a small area of effect (AOE), including Kiriko if she throws it at her feet.

    “We wanted to make Protection Suzu an active ability that Kiriko could use to defend and engage with her team,” says Noh. “We want to enable players to use this ability actively instead of holding onto it as a response to other abilities.”

    During the Overwatch 2 Beta, Noh explains, this sort of ability-hoarding was something the team saw after Moira’s updates were implemented: “When we changed Moira’s damage orb to Necrotic Orb, players held onto the ability for long periods of time.”

    The brief immortality, paired with a cleanse, provides Kiriko with a chance to save teammates from negative status effects and death blows. Protection Suzu is the source of a lot of Kiriko’s utility, but it’s come a long way since we first started ideating on it.

    The first idea for this ability was a smoke bomb inspired by her ninja training; however, early playtests led to some interesting observations.
    “We tried a vision occlusion that blocked enemies' sight,” says Noh, “but the game would become one giant smoke cloud with a Kiriko on both teams.”

    Teams also began to develop interesting playstyles around the ability.

    “Instead of using the smoke bomb as a tool to disengage, teams would throw it ahead of them and use the visual cover to pop up in front of the enemy team,” Noh recalls from internal playtests.

    Ultimately, the final version of Protection Suzu fits with Kiriko’s narrative, while also serving an important function not currently present in-game. Although strong, this ability does come with a cooldown that requires diligent judgement and timing. Enemies will watch for this ability prior to using ultimates and initiating fights.

    Kitsune Rush

    Kitsune Rush is Kiriko’s ultimate ability. She opens her ultimate by saying, “Let the Kitsune guide you,” and she summons a fox that rushes forward, creating a glowing path for her team in its wake. This path gives Kiriko and her allies a buff that increases the speed of all allies’ actions, including movement speed, rate of fire, and cooldowns. Kitsune’s path is marked by gateways, and allies need to be within the gateways to get the buff. Stepping out of the path will remove the ultimate’s buffs.

    “The fox is central to Kiriko’s design, and her ultimate felt like a natural place for the fox to come out,” explains Noh.

    Kiriko works alongside her fox similarly to how Genji and Hanzo work alongside their dragons.

    Kiriko is a natural leader, and her ultimate ability reflects this. Kitsune Rush is a linear path that encourages teammates to move forward into a fight or objective. Kiriko can direct her teammates with this ultimate, making space for them to engage in fights or capture specific areas of a map.

    Some of the old, some of the new

    She’s cunning, agile, and a bit of a trickster. Although light-hearted, she’s a powerful protector with a strong moral compass and believes in taking care of the people around her.

    “Our goal with her story was to celebrate the powerful women on our roster,” Min explains. “Kiriko is a strong human with strong values and convictions. I definitely put my “kick ass” woman pants on to write for her.”

    Kiriko respects traditions to honor her grandmother, who gave her last name to hide and protect her. But she recognizes the need to change, adapt, and progress, just like her mother. As Kiriko would say, "You can't change the world by following all the rules.”



    Kiriko will debut with the Overwatch 2 launch on October 4, and we can’t wait to see how players interact with her in-game!

  2. #2
    cringiko.
    Immagine wasting dev time on stuff like this.

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer chrisisvacant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinured View Post
    cringiko.
    Immagine wasting dev time on stuff like this.
    Imagine shit posting like this.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinured View Post
    cringiko.
    Immagine wasting dev time on stuff like this.
    Imagine* and probably spend more time on your school work.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinured View Post
    cringiko.
    Immagine wasting dev time on stuff like this.
    Imagine having a cringey take on an unreleased character

  6. #6
    Her real origin story is they wanted something that would make people buy a battlepass.

  7. #7
    Not a fan. She isnt a bad character, but doesnt feel like she fits in. Too cartoony.
    The greater the light, the darker the shadow. And this light casts a shadow over all I see - the Prophet Velen, when asked what's next for Blizzard

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Karawaka View Post
    Not a fan. She isnt a bad character, but doesnt feel like she fits in. Too cartoony.
    Interesting take for a game that already has a literal hamster riding some kind of a ball and a talking monkey on top of 20 other totally-not cartoony characters.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxos View Post
    When you play the game of MMOs, you win or you go f2p.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Airlick View Post
    Interesting take for a game that already has a literal hamster riding some kind of a ball and a talking monkey on top of 20 other totally-not cartoony characters.
    The rest of the cast has a sci fi type background, with hanzo and genji already pushing the limits. Animal experimentation isnt that out of place. Fox magic, actual real magic is. You cant nanomachine out of that one.
    The greater the light, the darker the shadow. And this light casts a shadow over all I see - the Prophet Velen, when asked what's next for Blizzard

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Karawaka View Post
    The rest of the cast has a sci fi type background, with hanzo and genji already pushing the limits. Animal experimentation isnt that out of place. Fox magic, actual real magic is. You cant nanomachine out of that one.
    Sci-fi is not pew pew lazergun spaceships; sci-fi is based on science. Pew pew lazergun spaceships is as fantasy as dragons and elves, and OW is 100% fantasy. It's Blizzards Marvel Universe, where you have supersoldiers and tech-geniuses fighting alongside wizards and witches.

  11. #11
    Legendary! Zuben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rageonit View Post
    Sci-fi is not pew pew lazergun spaceships; sci-fi is based on science. Pew pew lazergun spaceships is as fantasy as dragons and elves, and OW is 100% fantasy. It's Blizzards Marvel Universe, where you have supersoldiers and tech-geniuses fighting alongside wizards and witches.
    With Kiriko it has become that. Earlier cases of such force was unexplained, dubious (Hanzo's spirit dragons, Zenyatta's healing), but Kiriko's power wasn't left obscure, instead it was rather openly tied to the ofuda and the fox spirit, her cultural heritage. With that literal magic has officially broken into the universe of Overwatch. This matters, as there is a distinction between "sciencey magic" and magic tied to a deity or other supernatural force, as the former is common to science fiction stories*; things like psychic powers, alien mind control, liberal use of nanomachines.

    *yes, I disagree with your definition of Sci-fi, I think the likes of Star Wars and Starcraft belong to the genre as much as Interstellar and Asimov's books. We can agree they might hold different sub-genres, if you want to get pedantic.

    I don't personally mind that Overwatch is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy now. It always was whimsical in the spirit of MCU, as you said.
    Now you see it. Now you don't.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Karawaka View Post
    Not a fan. She isnt a bad character, but doesnt feel like she fits in. Too cartoony.
    To be fair all of the characters feel like they came straight out of a pixar movie. The cinematics being dramatic are the only thing that gives overwatch a feel of seriousness.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Karawaka View Post
    The rest of the cast has a sci fi type background, with hanzo and genji already pushing the limits. Animal experimentation isnt that out of place. Fox magic, actual real magic is. You cant nanomachine out of that one.
    That is not what you said. "Cartoony" isn't a genre, it's a style. Does she fit in a true sci-fi universe? Probably not, but then almost none of the characters would. Plus, OW is as much of a true sci-fi as Star Wars, that is, none at all. It's a fantasy trying to pose as sci-fi, as up said, and that means nothing is really out of place here and you probably shouldn't take any bit of lore or characters seriously.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxos View Post
    When you play the game of MMOs, you win or you go f2p.

  14. #14
    A technoligicalically advanced, and based futuristic society is considered fantasy and not science fiction? Am I really that out of touch?

    No, everyone else must be wrong
    The greater the light, the darker the shadow. And this light casts a shadow over all I see - the Prophet Velen, when asked what's next for Blizzard

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Zuben View Post
    With Kiriko it has become that. Earlier cases of such force was unexplained, dubious (Hanzo's spirit dragons, Zenyatta's healing), but Kiriko's power wasn't left obscure, instead it was rather openly tied to the ofuda and the fox spirit, her cultural heritage. With that literal magic has officially broken into the universe of Overwatch. This matters, as there is a distinction between "sciencey magic" and magic tied to a deity or other supernatural force, as the former is common to science fiction stories*; things like psychic powers, alien mind control, liberal use of nanomachines.

    *yes, I disagree with your definition of Sci-fi, I think the likes of Star Wars and Starcraft belong to the genre as much as Interstellar and Asimov's books. We can agree they might hold different sub-genres, if you want to get pedantic.

    I don't personally mind that Overwatch is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy now. It always was whimsical in the spirit of MCU, as you said.
    I mean.

    Hanzo and Genji's dragons have always been tied to the Shimada clan. Hanzo even mentions it in the cinematics, that only a Shimada can control the dragons.

    It might not have been highlighted as much, but it's definitely the same kinda deal, their clan is blessed by the dragons, like Kiriko's is by the fox.

  16. #16
    Say what you want about the game itself, but the Overwatch shorts have always been really well animated and interesting.
    Also, I’m not super familiar with her character lore, but I thought I read she has ties to Genji and Hanzo. Was that the two of them in the dojo with her and her mother? The one to the right looks like the young Hanzo skin.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Joe View Post
    I mean.

    Hanzo and Genji's dragons have always been tied to the Shimada clan. Hanzo even mentions it in the cinematics, that only a Shimada can control the dragons.

    It might not have been highlighted as much, but it's definitely the same kinda deal, their clan is blessed by the dragons, like Kiriko's is by the fox.
    Zenyetta is sort of in the same boat. His floating and healing aren't because of technology. There are voicelines from characters who are essentially the people who would build omnics asking Zen how he floats and/or heals, and his answer is essentially "its magic".

  18. #18
    Legendary! Darththeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eapoe View Post
    Say what you want about the game itself, but the Overwatch shorts have always been really well animated and interesting.
    Also, I’m not super familiar with her character lore, but I thought I read she has ties to Genji and Hanzo. Was that the two of them in the dojo with her and her mother? The one to the right looks like the young Hanzo skin.
    Kiriko's mother was Genji's and Hanzo's sensei in learning the sword.

    However, I am confused by Genji's appearance, Genji is 35 while Kiriko is early 20s (Same as Brig). Genji looks maybe 5 years older than Kiriko, and certainly more than 3 years younger than Hanzo (Hanzo is 38). So either Kiriko is getting aged up or Genji aged down or some combination.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by StillMcfuu View Post
    Zenyetta is sort of in the same boat. His floating and healing aren't because of technology. There are voicelines from characters who are essentially the people who would build omnics asking Zen how he floats and/or heals, and his answer is essentially "its magic".
    Oh yeah, I heard one of those recently from Mercy actually. That she doesn't even understand how it works, and he was like, "what is magic but science we don't understand yet?" Or something along those lines.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Darththeo View Post
    Kiriko's mother was Genji's and Hanzo's sensei in learning the sword.

    However, I am confused by Genji's appearance, Genji is 35 while Kiriko is early 20s (Same as Brig). Genji looks maybe 5 years older than Kiriko, and certainly more than 3 years younger than Hanzo (Hanzo is 38). So either Kiriko is getting aged up or Genji aged down or some combination.
    Several of Genjis skins age him down to be fair. If he's not a cyborg, it's a young skin.

  20. #20
    Legendary! Darththeo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Joe View Post
    Several of Genjis skins age him down to be fair. If he's not a cyborg, it's a young skin.
    I wasn't talking about a skin.

    I was referring to the images in the Origin trailer.
    Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength. Through strength I gain power.
    Through power I gain victory. Through victory my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.
    –The Sith Code

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