Kiriko, Overwatch 2’s new hero, is the support character for Genji fans
Do you want to feel like a badass ninja while also healing your teammates?
Kiriko, a support-type that blurs the boundary between damage dealer and healer, is Overwatch 2’s new hero – the first of three new characters who will be accessible when Blizzard’s sequel hits in October. Kiriko will be the first character available via the free-to-play game’s battle pass.
Kiriko was created with Overwatch 2’s new 5v5 team compositions in mind, according to associate narrative designer Kyungseo Min, who revealed the new ninja’s powers in a developer update video. Kiriko is a single-target hybrid healer with exceptional mobility. “She’s quick,” Min said, “and she can get to your small skirmishes, which occurs a lot more in 5v5 today, so she’s incredibly effective.”
Qiu Fang, Overwatch 2’s main concept artist, described Kiriko as a “battle healer” who enters into the midst of the action, leaping in and out of combat. Fang describes her as “not a sit-back-and-heal sort of hero.”
“She’ll be popular among DPS players,” Min said. Min said in a different roundtable conversation that Kiriko’s design was largely influenced by a prominent Overwatch hero: Genji. “In fact,” Min explained, “one of the beginning points for this character was thinking, ‘How can we design a support hero that DPS gamers [like Genji] would love playing?'”
However, Kiriko’s primary job and purpose in an Overwatch 2 squad is to heal and defend her teammates. Her main ability is the Healing Ofuda, which allows her to hurl paper talismans filled with healing power at friends. This should make it simple to assist fast-moving characters like Genji, as well as flying allies like Pharah and Mercy. Another ability, Swift Step, allows Kiriko to teleport fast — and across numerous barriers — to narrow the distance to friends in need of healing.
“She works incredibly well with flanking characters and mobile characters in general, like Tracer [or] Genji,” said Piero Herrera, Overwatch 2’s senior hero designer. “She’ll just be able to step in there and assist them with a cleansing or the invulnerability frames.” You can picture some insane combinations resulting from that interaction.”
Her ability to scale barriers, like Genji and Hanzo, gives her more mobility.
Kiriko’s secondary ability is her kunai, a blade projectile that she can throw at adversaries very swiftly. Her kunai are quick, yet they deal little overall damage. Fang claims that critical hits with the kunai deliver “a ton of damage.” “It’s quite strong in the hands of a skilled player.”
Kiriko, like fellow support character Baptiste, may also offer herself and her teammates temporary invulnerability by tossing her Protection Suzu, a little bell, at them or on the ground. Suzu may protect friends from ults like as Junkrat’s RIP-Tire or damage from a Bastion blasting in turret mode. The bell will also clear debuffs such as Ana’s Biotic Grenade and Junker Queen’s Rampage from allies.
However, Protection Suzu has a long cooldown – presently 14 seconds — so players must use it carefully.
Kitsune Rush, Kiriko’s ultimate ability, summons the spirit fox and ghostly torii gates that Blizzard has been teasing for more than a month. Kitsune Rush is a “large boost” that grants Kiriko and her friends “great movement speed, attack speed, reload speed, and cooldown reduction.” It’s quite strong, according to Fang, and ideal for launching an attack on a target.
Kiriko’s design is based on a character made by Blizzard for Overwatch 2’s PvE component. She was initially armed with a big, fidget spinner-inspired throwing star and resembled a more typical ninja. Blizzard finally combined this with miko, a Shinto shrine maiden’s traditional clothing, and current streetwear elements.
Kiriko is a young lady from Kanezaka, one of Overwatch’s current maps, who was raised by a “fierce ninja” mother who also trained Genji and Hanzo. So Kiriko has a history with the Shimada clan and got into mischief with Genji in the Hanamura arcades. Kiriko is “a close family friend” of the Shimada brothers, according to Min, but they also think of her as “a adorable little niece.” But she appears to be capable of redirecting any disrespect or snark directed to her, and not only from the Shimada brothers.
“She has this type of drive-by comedy for everyone,” Min said. “I’m extremely thrilled for everyone to see how she interacts with [other heroes] in conversation.” And there’s a lot of responsiveness in her talents, such as if she cures the Shimada brothers, she’ll surely take a jab because, you know, she expects better [of them]. She’s quite humorous in a tongue-in-cheek kind of manner.”
Overwatch 2 will be available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on October 4th.