Making Overwatch 2’s Sojourn Was Hard Because ‘Raiguns Are Kind Of Overpowered’

Blizzard is very excited about Sojourn, overwatch 2‘s first new hero that will be playable in the upcoming closed beta. The studio is eager to show it off not just because she is the first black woman on the hero list after six years of updates, but also because she is carrying a powerful FPS item: the railgun.

Blizzard has been thinking about adding a railgun to Overwatch’s weapon pool for a long time, but has struggled to balance itself around such a powerful and accurate weapon. The first prototype resembled a classic Quake 2 cannon with high damage, hitscan accuracy, low recoil, and no aiming required.

“It was a kind of balancing catastrophe,” as hero designer Geoff Goodman described in a Sojourn Q&A live stream today. “You could essentially fire the Widow[maker] shots with no cooldown or anything, just constantly.” Goodman said it was important that it still felt like a railgun without becoming overwhelming. “Ultimately, I think we found a solution that we really liked.”

ONE new blog post outlining Sojourn’s abilities goes into detail on how his rail cannon works:

  • Primary fire: Fast-firing projectiles that generate energy on impact
  • Secondary fire: High-impact shot that consumes stored energy

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Thus, the railgun’s primary fire is a rapid-fire machine gun that fires projectiles (in other words, not hitscan) and builds up energy to fire a high-damage charged beam. Senior hero designer Josh Noh describes her as a “mid-range heroine that rewards precision” but still fun at any level of play. It’s an interesting compromise – based on the description alone, Sojourn kind of sounds like Soldier 76 when left-clicking and Widowmaker (minus scope) when right-clicking. It’s easy to see why Blizzard finds it difficult to master. Depending on how slowly her energy builds up for a right click, she might feel a damage deficit if she’s not landing cannon shots (not unlike a Widowmaker struggling to land headshots).

Complementing your weapon are two more abilities: Disruptor trip and Power Slide. Disruptor Shot is an interesting one: an AOE field that “traps enemies and eats away at their health”. This sounds like a weaker version of Mei’s ultimate, although this one is meant to give Sojourn openings for precision hits. “…if you get caught in her Disruptor Shot, there’s a good chance she’ll have you in her sights,” the blog reads.

A brief gameplay clip of Sojourn shared at BlizzCon online last year.

Power Slide gives Sojourn some mobility, but in a different way than Overwatch’s other flexible heroes like Lucio and Baptiste. She lowers herself onto a slide and instantly cancels into a jump that goes high enough to access “high ground observation points”. To me it looks like she will at least be able to jump a ladder or the top of a building, a big bonus over a similar hero like Soldier 76.

As for overlockSojourn’s final description from Blizzard is pretty clear: “We wanted it to look almost like the hitscan version of a Genji Dragon Blade,” said Noh. if he’s accurate: “You’ll have limited time to make a big play… or you might miss all your shots.”

We also got some flashy glimpses of Sojourn in action in the gameplay trailer above, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see a proper match from Sojourn’s perspective. The Overwatch 2 beta is starting on April 26th and Blizzard is still accepting applications.

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