When Blizzard’s sequel launches in October, Kiriko, a support-type who blurs the lines between damage dealer and healer, will be the first of three new heroes who will be playable. The first character that can be obtained with the battle pass in the free-to-play game is Kiriko.
In a developer update video outlining the new ninja’s skills, associate narrative designer Kyungseo Min stated that Kiriko was created with the new 5v5 team configurations for Overwatch 2 in mind. Kiriko is referred to as a single-target, high-mobility hybrid healer. She is really effective since she is quick and can reach your small skirmishes, which occurs much more frequently in 5v5 now.
Lead concept artist for Overwatch 2, Qiu Fang, referred to Kiriko as “a battle healer” who jumps into the action and engages in combat intermittently. She’s “not a sit-back-and-heal type of hero,” Fang said.
“A lot of DPS players will love her,” Min said. In a separate roundtable interview, Min noted that Kiriko’s design was heavily inspired by a popular Overwatch hero: Genji. “In fact,” Min said, “one of the starting points of this character was [asking], How can we create a support hero that DPS players [who] like Genji would enjoy playing?”
In an Overwatch 2 team, Kiriko’s primary responsibility is to both heal and defend her teammates.
Her main skill is the Healing Ofuda, which enables her toss paper talismans that are endowed with healing energy and focus them on teammates. That need to make it simple to assist swiftly moving heroes like Genji or aviators like Pharah and Mercy. Swift Step, a different power that enables Kiriko to teleport swiftly and across several walls to get closer to friends in need of healing, supports that.
Kiriko’s secondary ability is her kunai, a blade projectile that she can very quickly throw at enemies. Her kunai are fast, but do low overall damage. Still, critical hits with the kunai deal “a ton of damage,” Fang says. “It’s very powerful in the hands of an accurate player.”
Similar to fellow support character Baptiste, Kiriko can also temporarily render herself and her teammates immune to harm by tossing her Protection Suzu, a tiny bell, at them or onto the ground. Suzu can shield friends from damage caused by Bastion blasting in turret mode or ults like Junkrat’s RIP-Tire. Additionally, the bell will remove allies’ debuffs, such as Ana’s Biotic Grenade and Junker Queen’s Rampage.
However, Protection Suzu has a significant cooldown that is now 14 seconds, so players must be careful how they employ it.
The spirit fox and eerie torii gates that Blizzard has been teasing for more than a month now are summoned by Kiriko’s ultimate ability, Kitsune Rush. Kiriko and her allies receive “a tonne of movement speed, attack speed, reload speed, and cooldown reduction” from Kitsune Rush, a “big bonus.” Fang claimed that it is extremely strong and ideal for launching an attack on a target.
Kiriko’s ultimate ability, Kitsune Rush, summons the spirit fox and ghostly torii gates that Blizzard has been teasing for more than a month now.
Kitsune Rush is a “huge buff” that gives Kiriko and allies “a ton of movement speed, attack speed, reload speed, and cooldown reduction.” It’s very, very powerful, Fang said, and great for initiating an attack on an objective.
The character that Blizzard originally developed for Overwatch 2’s PvE mode inspired Kiriko’s design. She initially possessed a large throwing star that was reminiscent of a fidget spinner and had a somewhat more conventional ninja-like appearance. Eventually, Blizzard combined that with the typical attire of a miko, a Shinto shrine maiden, and contemporary streetwear trends.
According to the story, Kiriko is a young woman from Kanezaka, one of the existing Overwatch maps, who was raised by a “fierce ninja” of a mother who also taught Genji and Hanzo how to fight. Since Kiriko has a history with the Shimada clan, it is no surprise that she and young Genji got into problems in the Hanamura arcades. The Shimada brothers view Kiriko as “a close family friend,” according to Min, but they also think of her as “as a cute little niece.” But she seems to be able to deflect insults and snark from anyone, not just the Shimada brothers.
“She has this sort of drive-by humor that she does for everyone,” Min said. “I’m really excited for everyone to see sort of, like, how she interacts conversationally with [other heroes]. And regarding her abilities, there’s a ton of reactivity as far as, if she heals the Shimada brothers, she’ll definitely take a dig, because, you know, she expects better [of them]. She’s super funny in a very tongue-in-cheek way.”
When Overwatch 2 debuts on October 4 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, players will get to witness Kiriko in action.