Overwatch 2's next hero is Ramattra, a tank from the same brotherhood of monks as Zenyatta, and he sounds tailor-made to counter other tanks while furthering the aggressive dive comps that can dominate the game.
Ramattra is coming December 6 and was officially revealed during today's Overwatch League highlight, years after appearing in an old cinematic for the original game. Blizzard describes him as a former war machine who traded his weapons for the power "to protect his people by promoting peace and tranquility." That being said, Ramattra can sound quite wrathful, and his abilities are anything but passive.
In a group interview attended by GamesRadar+, lead hero designer Alec Dawson offered a brief summary of Ramattra's abilities. He can shift between two forms: a more defensive Omnic form which plays a longer-range "poke game," and an offensive Nemesis form that can break through the frontlines and target squishy heroes in the back with melee attacks. Knowing when to swap forms is a central test of skill, Dawson said, and you "can't overestimate how scary he gets in Nemesis form." Art director Dion Rogers described it as "basically the Hulk, Hulking out."
Ramattra can protect allies in both forms, and his barrier is said to be unique compared to existing tanks and quite powerful during its uptime. Plus it sounds like his ultimate will somehow echo Zenyatta's by giving teams a way to group and push up aggressively, and we'll apparently see some lore-heavy interactions between the two Omnics on the battlefield.
"I would say Ramattra does have a lot of the things that tanks have," Dawson said in response to one question. "I briefly mentioned that he's able to protect his team in two ways, during his Omnic form and his Nemesis form. That's fairly important to some of his gameplay. If there's a Bastion raining down fire, his barrier's pretty strong within the time it's up."
Competitive Overwatch 2 is currently dominated by just a few heroes – with Winston becoming a dominant pick to counter Sojourn, and many then picking Reaper to fight Winston – and many of the game's weaker tanks are due for some buffs. I asked Dawson if he sees Ramattra breaking up the Winston tank meta we've seen more of in the past few weeks, and he said the warrior monk actually excels at countering quite a few heroes, including other tanks.
"We'll see the meta develop over time," he said. "I think we'll see how that happens with some balance patches coming out November 15. We'll see how that develops into Season 2. We're also going to be doing some other updates to some of the tanks that might not be performing to the standard we want just yet.
"When it comes to Ramattra, I think he'll be a force," he continued. "One of the things he does, talking about Winston, Ramattra's punches that he has in Nemesis form actually pierce barriers. He can be a counter to some of that bubble gameplay you might be seeing."
"I really enjoy how Ramattra runs that balance of a character with a barrier who can protect his team, but also someone who can be ruthless and charge," added narrative designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie. "There's this fun strategy where you're trying to figure out, how safe are you? How far can you go? Can you push the team with you? Can you lead from the front and pull them with you? It's very Ramattra, because he is a battlefield commander. He's someone who inspires people around him. Pulling people together and charging with them is both his personality and a strategy that I like to use."
If you, like me, are thinking Ramattra sounds tailor-made for a dive comp, you're not far off. I asked Dawson if he expects Ramattra to fit into compositions that specialize in pouncing on enemies, and while he does expect to see dive comps enjoy the new tank, he said Ramattra has more up his sleeve.
"Usually when we're looking at a new hero, we want to make sure they have some unique utility that they're providing to the game," Dawson explained. "I think with Ramattra, it's about looking at Nemesis form, what those punches do, the piercing is quite new. If you do see the enemy tank using barriers, maybe a swap to Ramattra is pretty good. And his barrier in particular is a little bit different than some of the other barriers we've seen in the game. That's how we normally approach it. We do look at a meta and what the meta needs, and he does fit more in that rush meta. But I think he actually counters some of the other heroes that you may find in that same sort of composition."
Ramattra's design reads like a response to feedback that some of Overwatch 2's tanks don't really look the part; in his Nemesis form, he's apparently one of the biggest targets on the battlefield. One thing Ramattra isn't changing is how new heroes are accessed. Like Kiriko, he'll be tied to tier 55 on the battle pass. Addressing feedback that the battle pass can feel too grindy, Rogers said this system sees "constant evaluation of what makes sense" but didn't specify any changes.
Overwatch 2 recently disabled another hero, Mei, for a few weeks to stop a game-breaking exploit – the third hero to be disabled in a month.