In a YouTube video with ARS Technica, Kaplan and Goodman addressed some popular questions fans had about the world of Overwatch and how the heroes came to be. Goodman commented that one of Genji’s key mechanics, the double jump, was something he almost regrets.
As a cyborg ninja, Genji’s ability to jump twice in the air was rather thematic and fitting for the character, but Goodman said that it also make him a nightmare to balance. His high mobility with the double jump makes him capable of “practically flying” in the face of his enemies, which admittedly gives the development team a “headache.”
Genji also had the longest develop time of any hero, according to later conversations. Kaplan commented that it almost took the team “a year and a half” on finalizing his kit, with multiple variations of his play style and ultimate. One of Genji’s previous iterations was what Kaplan called “Stealth killing Genji with Katana only,” with the ability to perch on walls. Kaplan admitted those who played Genji loved the character, but he was changed (for the better) for the sake of everyone else.
Genji wasn’t the only hero to go through multiple ultimate abilities, as one of Overwatch’s initially most hated heroes, Bastion, went through about 10 different ultimates before he was shipped out. The overall process of adding new heroes was described as “organic,” and one that happens through rapid prototype iterations. Goodman said he has about 10 ideas that have never left that initial stage, and he pointed out heroes like Pharah and Winston as creations stemming from that process.
Cover photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment