Well, where do we begin with this? Overwatch just announced it’s 28th character and it’s definitely not what most people expected – a sentient hamster. But hey, with a game that features a gorilla scientist, why not a hamster too? And what’s next, a girl stuck between time dimensions? A lightning fast hedgehog? An earthworm taking control of a robotic super suit??
All joking aside, Wrecking Ball’s (AKA Hammond’s) place in the Overwatch universe does start to make some sense once given the context of his backstory. According to his official origin story video, Hammond is cut from the same cloth as Winston. He too was the subject of animal intelligence testing on Horizon Lunar Colony. He has advanced knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering as evidenced by his hamsterball mech. He soon enough hitched himself to Winston’s escape pod down to Earth before landing near Junkertown – where a mechanically minded hamster is sure to thrive.
So enough of his origin, what about his gameplay? Well, let’s dive into it.
Class and abilities
Hammond is a tank hero, fitting for a mech character, with 600hp and the ability to either roll around or walk bipedal. The rolling will be useful when travelling a great distance and for getting out of tight spots and therefore, much like D.Va and Winston, will be useful for causing disruption and being able to flee at a moments notice.
Now let’s look at his abilities;
- Basic attack (Quad Cannons): Two machine guns with a total of 80 ammo
- Adaptive Shield: Grants Hammond a temporary shield
- Roll: Transforms into a hamster ball and can roll around at an increased speed and can also deal damage to enemies while using the grappling claw
- Grappling Claw: While in Roll mode, Hammond can launch a short grappling hook to attach to surfaces. This allows him to gain momentum and help either escape or jump the enemy team.
- Piledriver: Hammond slams into the ground dealing area damage
- Ultimate – Minefield: Hammond releases a number of proximity mines all around him that float in the air, causing a great deal of damage to anyone unfortunate enough to run through them.
At first, Hammond may seem like a D.Va knock-off — with the mech, machine guns, and ability to shield himself and quickly move out of fights. And initially you’d be right. But after considering the details of Hammond’s abilities, it’s quite clear that he certainly places himself into his own.
And as far as voice lines go, it appears Hammond does not have the ability to speak and his voicelines will be a bunch of unique hamster squeals, but it’s rumored he may be able to eventually speak by using his mech to do so.
To see a demonstration of Hammond’s gameplay, click here.
Personality and Character
Now let’s speculate just a bit on who Hammond is as a person (or animal, I guess). It’s clear from his origin story video that he is a lover of freedom and probably even mischief. On Horizon Lunar Colony, Hammond frequently escaped his cage and made it difficult for the scientists to find him. And as Harold Winston put it “I, for one, can’t wait to see what trouble the little guy gets up to next.”
Now this understanding makes me curious what kind of relationship Hammond might have with Junkrat: considering that they both reside in Junkertown, have an affinity for the mechanical, and appear to both like mischief. Maybe they’ll be friends, maybe they’ll be rivals. But I do hope it’s at least something.
It’s clear that the Overwatch team are not confining themselves creatively and Hammond may be the most creative yet. But by stretching the boundaries in this seemingly goofy way, there are certainly dissenters saying “RIP Overwatch” upon hearing the news. I don’t personally believe this is any indication that Overwatch is dying or any worse because of it. But I do fear that a hamster character, despite whatever awesome gameplay might come of it, just might be a little too ‘kiddish’ compared to the rest of Overwatch.
However, I will refrain from forming any full opinions until I get to see more of his gameplay and certainly more of his lore.