Overwatch 2

Ready to Make History - A Look into Venture's Development

Ready to Make History - A Look into Venture's Development

We’re thrilled that Venture is finally in the hero lineup, and it’s been fun to see you get your hands on their groundbreaking kit and mechanics. Today two developers who were part of our newest hero's strike team will share a behind-the-scenes look at how Venture, became Venture.

Hero strike teams consist of many different disciplines across Team 4. There is no one formula for how heroes come to life, but it always starts with assembling a group of developers who will embark on the journey of creating a new hero together. Today, we’re going to hear from two of those developers – one concept artist and one narrative designer - to talk about how Venture’s art and aesthetic were created, as well as how their character and personality came to life.

Let’s get into it!

Venture’s Concept Art

Hi! I’m Daryl Tan, Lead Character Concept Artist on Team 4.

Being on the team that brought Venture to life was an incredible experience, and I’d like to share some of that with you! I’m going to walk us through some early concepts and talk about how we landed on Venture’s finalized artwork.

When we started the early concept phases for Venture, the only thing we knew about the hero was that we wanted this hero to dig underground – so, they needed a huge drill. Senior concept artist Kejun Wang tried multiple themes and configurations for the drill, including sound-based drills and exosuit setups. This early phase is where the concept team really gets to experiment and set the creative direction for the art of the hero.

VentureConcept1.jpg

Concept art is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making a hero. Every hero has this taskforce (so to speak) that includes developers from hero design, concept art, animation, narrative—roughly, about 13-14 developers in total work on a single hero.

For Venture, narrative designer Miranda Moyer worked closely with us to land on the direction of a swashbuckling archeologist. We thought this was an awesome idea, so we started to lean into this overall aesthetic—a daring explorer with a big drill. This character background also inspired their development code name: ‘Miner’.

VentureConcept2.jpg

Their early concept combined a bunch of ideas from the blue-sky concepts above (a “blue-sky” concept is when you set no barriers for your creativity). If you look closely, you can see which elements we picked out from those thumbnails!

There are other elements we need to consider while creating new concepts. For example, we want our heroes to have recognizable silhouettes—not just for gameplay reasons, but also to solidify them individually and celebrate the uniqueness of all our heroes. We gave Venture a big backpack and longer coat because these elements felt unique to Venture’s identity, as well as differentiating their silhouette from other heroes’.

We were really excited by the drill concept and thought it was really cool, but we had to visualize what this would look like in 3D. We worked closely with our character art team to block out some of these early ideas for the drill to see how they resonate in-game.  

While we liked the vibe and presence of the drill’s initial concept, what we had on paper didn’t feel right in 3D from a first-person perspective. We needed the drill to be immediately recognizable at a glance, so we streamlined the shape of the drill head into a more iconic, conical shape.

VentureConcept3.jpg

We took these early 3D mockups to puzzle out all the complex moving parts on the Smart Excavator. You can see the two different states, drill and canon, and how we started to piece out their aesthetics, representing their respective functions.

This is an extremely collaborative process, including developers from modeling, animation, concept art, and many other teams. We enjoyed partnering together to juggle all the different shapes and movements of Venture’s various components, all while making sure everything was recognizable, looking good from the player perspective and feeling good in-game.

VentureConcept4.jpg

The way Venture holds their drill was inspired by motorcycle themes, which you can see manifest in the look of its overall shape looked and how loud the drill is meant to be. This inspiration also led to bike-inspired flame decals on the weapon and the flame tattoo on their neck. Another fun tidbit around the design—Venture's off-hand grip of their weapon was inspired by vacuum cleaners!

Putting together Venture’s finalized concept art was an extremely collaborative process for the hero strike team. We draw inspiration from unlikely places, as well as each other, which is why the team always feels empowered to try new things—however outlandish they might be sometimes!

We’re really happy with where Venture’s art landed. We think their overall aesthetic fits well with their personality and character, but I will let our awesome narrative designer, Miranda Moyer, tell you more about that!

See you in-game!

Darly Tan, Lead Character Concept Artist

Narrative design for a swashbuckling archeologist

Hi! I’m Miranda Moyer, senior narrative designer on Team 4. Venture’s story and background were interesting to craft because everything was inspired by their gameplay kit. Venture’s development name was ‘Miner’ because the team wanted to build around the idea of a giant drill.

venture3-clean.png

We started exploring different archetypes that matched this gameplay and weapon, and this inspiration led us to archaeology. We asked ourselves what an archeologist looks like in the bright, hopeful future of Overwatch. Our story ignited this romantic idea that even the well-charted world of the future is still full of mystery and adventure if you’re willing to look for it.

We built on this idea to create their personality. To fit the archetype of an adventurous archaeologist, we wanted someone who was daring, passionate, and unabashedly themselves.

venture1-clean.png

This personality ended up meshing really well with Venture’s gender identity. Venture is our first trans non-binary hero, and they use they/them pronouns. To ensure we would represent Venture’s identity as authentically as possible, the development team for Venture worked very closely with the LGBT Network at Blizzard as well as gender non-conforming developers on Team 4, gathering feedback and refining them over time. We even consulted with a queer fashion company to help us realize Venture in a way that felt most true to their identity and the queer community at large.

venture2-clean.png

Venture overflows with enthusiasm for the world and all its history. Their hands-on personality shines in their animations, voice, and gameplay. Above all, Venture is willing to do anything it takes to solve whatever mystery they’re chasing (even if they might chomp on a few rocks along the way).

We hope you have as much fun playing them as we did bringing them to life. We’d dig that :D

Miranda Moyer, Senior Narrative Designer

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