Wrecking Ball (Overwatch)
|Created by||Blizzard Entertainment|
|Voiced by||Dee Bradley Baker (Hammond)|
Jonathan Lipow (Wrecking Ball)
Wrecking Ball, also known as Hammond, is a fictional, playable character in the 2016 video game Overwatch whose design is based on a hamster-controlled, quadrupedal robot mecha that can transform into a high-speed wrecking ball replete with grappling hook. The character was introduced in late June 2018 as the title's 28th hero.
Wrecking Ball is one of the playable "hero" characters in the team-based multiplayer first-person shooter video game Overwatch. The character is a tank-class mecha robot driven by a smart hamster named Hammond. The mech's move set includes a bipedal combat mode with automatic assault weapons known as the "Quad Cannons", and a high-speed "Roll" mode in which the mech condenses into a ball armed with a "Grappling Claw". The grappling claw can attach to surfaces and use the mech's rolling momentum to launch into enemies and the air. While in the air, the ball can slam into the ground, sucking in and damaging enemies using his "Piledriver" move. Wrecking Ball also has an "Adaptive Shield" ability, which adds temporary shields based on the count of nearby enemies. His "ultimate" ability is "Minefield" that scatters a proximity mine minefield around the character.
Hammond does not speak human languages, but the Wrecking Ball mech translates his voice into one.
|Developer update introducing the character|
The concept of Wrecking Ball had been proposed early in Overwatch's development cycle, though never given significant development work, according to Geoff Goodman. Their original idea, alongside the spherical tank that could roll around, was to have the character's set be based on magnetism, with one ability to draw in enemy bullets, store them, and then fire them back at opponents. Skill features like the grappling hook came much later, but which Goodman believed cemented the character.
The introduction of Hammond as Wrecking Ball's controller did not happen until the Overwatch team started working on the Horizon Lunar Colony map, which tied into Winston's backstory. Previous, they had considered Winston, a super-intelligent gorilla as part of an experimental study at Horizon, as their most out-there idea. As they worked on the map, the team started connecting the idea of a hamster, a hamster ball, and other potential abilities to the Wrecking Ball concept, as well as Hammond's story fitting in with the existing Winston narrative. Wrecking Ball's release was an interregnum from preceding Overwatch add-on content, which was based on new villains and geopolitical conflict.
While Overwatch developer Blizzard had hinted at the character's existence, the game's official Twitter account conspicuously teased the character in the days prior to its announcement in late June 2018 as the 28th playable hero on the roster. Wrecking Ball was released for public testing the same day as the announcement.
|Wrecking Ball origin story, an official, animated short|
Hammond's backstory was first introduced through changes made to the Horizon Lunar Colony map in May 2018, and later expanded upon the character's announcement. In the game's setting, Hammond is a hamster and one of the test subjects at the Horizon Lunar Colony, given heightened intelligence by the human scientists, from which he gained an affinity for mechanics. Amidst a test subject uprising, Hammond planned to escape to Earth alongside the gorilla Winston by tethering an escape pod to Winston's capsule. Approaching Earth, Hammond's capsule broke loose and fell into the Australian Outback, near the fictional city of Junkertown. He modified the escape pod to become a battle mech through which he competed in Junkertown's robot combat arena under the ring name Wrecking Ball, becoming its champion.
Within gameplay, Wrecking Ball's Grappling Hook ability was described as a positive addition to the game. The ability not only allows Wrecking Ball to be a more mobile tank compared to previous characters in this class, but enables him to reach locations previously only afforded to characters with significant vertical movement like Pharah or Widowmaker. This also enables the player using Wrecking Ball to pull off previously unused flanks on certain maps, which is expected to affect the metagame of Overwatch. Players also experimented with a custom game type in which they race in wrecking ball mode to traverse the game's levels the fastest. PC Gamer described the character as the game's most inventive.
While many journalists were struck by the outlandish premise of a hamster commandeering a mecha robot, the character's introduction was well-received by the game's community. Wrecking Ball's introduction reinforced values core to the Overwatch franchise, and akin to its other characters, carved a unique niche from simple if not bizarre premises. Through the game's story, which unfolds through the release of new in-game assets, players had expected the character to be a monkey companion to Winston, based on his scientific facility's backstory, rather than a hamster. Many players and multiple journalists complained about the name choice of "Wrecking Ball" and preferred instead "Hammond", which is shorter and easier to speak and abbreviate.
- Chu, Michael [@westofhouse] (June 28, 2018). "We were extremely lucky to work with a couple amazing actors on Wrecking Ball: @deebradleybaker as Hammond and Jonathan Lipow as the ball" (Tweet). Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Marshall, Cass (June 28, 2018). "Overwatch's next hero is a chubby hamster and I love it". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 29, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Arif, Shabana (June 28, 2018). "Overwatch's Hero 28 Is Wrecking Ball, Here's What He Does". IGN. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- "New Hero First Look: Wrecking Ball". Blizzard Entertainment. June 28, 2018. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Larned, Brandon (June 28, 2018). HAMSTER MAIN BTW (talking with devs soon). Retrieved June 30, 2018 – via Twitch.tv.
- Marshall, Cass (June 28, 2018). "Wrecking Ball is here as Overwatch's Hero 28 and the champion of Junkertown". Heroes Never Die. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Tamburro, Paul (June 29, 2018). "New Overwatch Hero Wrecking Ball Was Predicted by a Reddit User". Game Revolution. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia (June 28, 2018). "Overwatch's Latest Hero Is Wrecking Ball, A Hamster In A Mech [Update]". Kotaku. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Cox, Matt (June 26, 2018). "Overwatch (probably) rolls out a new hero teaser". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- Gilliam, Ryan (June 29, 2018). "Wrecking Ball's swing is one of Overwatch's most unique features". Heroes Never Die. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Grayson, Nathan (June 29, 2018). "Overwatch Is Getting Wackier, And That's Great". Kotaku. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Jones, Ali (June 29, 2018). "Overwatch is a racing game now that it has hamster balls". PCGamesN. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- Hart, Aimee (June 29, 2018). "Overwatch Players Are Having the Time of Their Lives With Wrecking Ball's Abilities". Game Revolution. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Horti, Samuel (June 29, 2018). "Wrecking Ball is Overwatch's most inventive hero to date". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
- Lumb, David (June 28, 2018). "The next 'Overwatch' hero is a hamster in a death ball (updated)". Engadget. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- Wood, Austin (July 3, 2018). "Why 'Wrecking Ball' is awkward to say, and other reasons Overwatch fans prefer 'Hammond'". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Grayson, Nathan (July 3, 2018). "Overwatch Fans Want Wrecking Ball To Just Be Called Hammond". Kotaku. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Goslin, Austen (July 5, 2018). "Overwatch's 28th hero is Hammond, sort of, and that's kinda disappointing". Heroes Never Die. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Marks, Tom (June 29, 2018). "Overwatch's New Hero Wrecking Ball Is a Ton of Fun but Extremely Weird". IGN. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
- Marshall, Cass (July 2, 2018). "Hammond brings a ton of joy back into Overwatch". Heroes Never Die. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
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- Gamepedia wiki for character stats and additional plot details
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