Overwatch‘s newest character, Doomfist, was a long time coming–his existence in the lore was known before the game released, and players had been clamoring to see him since launch last year. But the character that will soon be available is quite different from earlier versions that Overwatch’s developers worked on.
At San Diego Comic-Con tonight, Blizzard hosted a panel where it discussed the development process of Doomfist, sharing early concept art and ideas that didn’t ultimately make it into the final iteration. Lead designer Geoff Goodman explained that an early version of Doomfist was able to physically pick up enemies. This allowed him to use them as human shields to absorb damage or even throw them off of cliffs.
“But as fun as this is, it’s getting away from the original idea of Doomfist,” Goodman explained. “He’s not a wrestler. He’s not a luchador.”
Another thing Doomfist could do was pick up pieces of the ground and throw them as projectiles. This would allow him to “pick up big rocks and knock Pharah out of the air.” And his Ultimate, where he flies into the air and then slams down, started out as part of Orisa’s kit before being moved to Doomfist.
Also addressed was the question of why Doomfist doesn’t simply punch people more directly. It all goes back to the issues Blizzard encountered with melee attacks when designing Genji, who at one point only had a sword. That style of gameplay was difficult to get right, so Blizzard ultimately introduced ranged attacks like his shurikens; similarly, Doomfist ended up with ranged attacks. While he can shoot bullets, an earlier version of his ranged attack involved him punching the air, which caused a “phantom fist thing” to shoot out in front of him.
Blizzard noted that Doomfist was considered a tank early on in development. Although the developers believed this made sense, Goodman noted, “It ended up feeling weird. His fist can’t be crazy lethal. And we can’t have a Roadhog-like situation coming back.”
Doomfist is playable now on the Public Test Realm in the game’s PC version; he’ll be launched in full on all platforms on July 27. Since his introduction on the PTR, he’s already seen some adjustments.