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Blizzard Discusses Its Desire To Make Stealth Fun With Overwatch’s Sombra

Blizzard appears to have nailed introducing stealth gameplay into Overwatch with new character Sombra, but it wasn't an easy road to follow.

Blizzard appears to have nailed introducing stealth gameplay into Overwatch with new character Sombra, but it was far from an easy road to follow, according to the shooter’s principal game designer.

Speaking to Game Informer during an interview at this year’s BlizzCon, Geoff Goodman told the site that Sombra proved to be perhaps the hardest character the design team has ever had to create due to the difficulty in making her core stealth mechanic feel fun but also balanced.

“She [Sombra] was probably the hardest character to make over time. We thought we had this great idea going into it, “Oh, we want to do this stealth character!” That’s what we started with, and “Let’s do a character that’s not so lethal, maybe she can hack people.”

Shortly thereafter, the design team felt that a hero that traded offence for damage-lowering debuffs didn’t sit well. “It ended up just not feeling super visceral, it wasn’t super great.” admits Goodman.

Interestingly, Blizzard had actually attempted to introduce a stealth-focused character into Overwatch before, but ran into similar problems. He may be part of a Glass Cannon archetype in his modern incarnation, but once upon a time, Genji had a vastly different purpose.

He had this move, it was actually kind of fun, it was this move where you get up behind somebody and stun them, and they would fall down. And then you’d do this slow stab motion down. And if you didn’t get shot or moved off, I think it was in three seconds, you just killed them outright.

So it was kind of cool because you could try to find people that were not with their team and everything, but ultimately that’s just frustrating. That’s just like, that’s never going to be fun, right? So when we went back to stealth, we’re not going to make that mistake again.

So, it may have taken several failed attempts to get there, but it looks as if Blizzard has finally managed to perfect its formula for a fun and engaging stealth-based character.

Sombra is playable now in Overwatch‘s Public Test Realm Server for PC players to try her out. Blizzard hasn’t provided a date for when we can expect to see her show up on live servers and consoles, but we can’t imagine you’ll have too long to wait.

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Joe Pring