Inspired by winter ice carving festivals in northern China, Overwatch hero Mei was once known as “Frostbite.”
On a guided tour of Blizzard HQ, a Tumblr user learned a lot about character origins, but Mei’s original concept, in particular, stands out. Initially, Blizzard’s team only knew they wanted a hero that was “related to ice and cold,” the compay said in a gallery display photographed by Tumblr user overwatch-hero.
But before Mei was a “cute, nerdy scientist,” she was a bounty hunter and adventurer who used her frost gun to capture her targets. She looked quite a bit different, too. Though her outfit is pretty much the same, Frostbite was a bit taller than Mei, with more sharp, pointed features. Her gun, too, looks very scary.
When Overwatch concept artist Arnold Tsang drew Mei as a scientist, however, Blizzard was sold. “We imagined a character who was optimistic, loved adventure, and embodied the idea of a ‘normal’ person who could be inspired to take up the path of heroism,” the gallery wall reads.
The gallery also details how the Overwatch team began designing maps. Temple of Anubis, the first map created by Blizzard for Overwatch, was inspired by a painting done by Blizzard concept artist Peter Lee.
“One of our early values for map locations in Overwatch was to place them in global, exotic places and the area that Peter painted near the base of the Pyramids was a great fit,” Overwatch assistant game designer Aaron Keller said. “Since this was our first map, it went through a lot of iteration. Early versions had a harbor, a large villa, and an antiquities room inside the pyramid.”
Dorado, Lijiang Tower, and King’s Row are also all documented on the gallery walls. All the photos from the tour are available on the overwatch-hero Tumblr.