Overwatch fans like to read the tea leaves to figure out who the next Overwatch hero might be. Since the release of Sombra, speculation has trended towards the next hero being Doomfist. Doomfist is the name of a three different heroes in Overwatch lore, all wearing the Doomfist gauntlet. The gauntlet itself appears in the game as part of the payload being escorted on the Numbani map. Fans have figured Doomfist would likely be a Tank class hero.
Now it seems speculation will have to shift. In a post on the official forums, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan hinted that Doomfist might not be the next hero.
"24 is not who you think it is," said Kaplan, referring to the game's unnamed 24th hero.
Kaplan also referred to Blizzard working on multiple new heroes. The thread in question was about the lack of sitting and laughing emotes for Sombra, given the fact that she's the most recent hero. Kaplan explained that the lack of those emotes is all about prioritization.
"It's on the schedule. Unfortunately, it is months out," said Kaplan. "New heroes will most likely not have sit and laugh emotes for some period of time after their release. We'd rather not hold new hero releases for these emotes. But we do plan to add them over time."
"The emotes themselves don't take months. It's more on the order of days/weeks. It's more of a prioritization issue," he added. "We have multiple new heroes being worked on right now plus numerous events and event-related content. We're always asking ourselves 'what would make the biggest impact for the most people?' when we prioritize. Right now, we feel like introducing a new hero to the line up would be more impactful to the game. Hope that makes sense."
With Kaplan's statements, the speculation has moved in different directions. Soundquake and Athena are two rumored characters that have appeared in older Overwatch character art. Soundquake would be the red omnic on the far right of the image and would likely be a tank. Athena is the name of Winston's AI assistant, who has symbols shared with the white robot above between Tracer and Winston in that image. Finally, there's Liao, a character who has been mentioned by name as one of the original Overwatch members.
We'll see where Blizzard decides to go in the near future. New heroes vastly change the game's balance, so Blizzard is smart to introduce them slowly.