Blizzard just put a cat among the Overwatch fan pigeons with a new, in-universe interview with an 11-year old robotics and AI expert called Efi Oladele.
It reveals she's a recipient of the Adawe Foundation's prestigious "genius grant," she wants to build something that can "keep us safe" and that she's off for her first ever flight. The arrival of any new hero in Blizzard's super successful team shooter is a big deal to its fanbase and these small nuggets have been enough to set the following theories in motion across the internet.
She's the creator of Doomfist
The gauntlet of Doomfist - a character that exists within the Overwatch universe but isn't playable as yet - is exhibited at the Numbani Heritage Museum, where Oladele is from. (If you're new to Overwatch here's the Doomfist 101 —Doomfist is actually a title given to three heroes, all who have wielded the Doomfist gauntlet. The character is still a mysterious piece of lore but that hasn't stopped players wanting him for the next playable hero in the game.) Numbani is also notable in Overwatch backstory for being the play where humans and omnics (AI robots) live in harmony. We also know Oladele is a robotics specialist, so creating a super gauntlet probably wouldn't be a stretch. That said, everyone wants the 24th playable hero to be Doomfist, and game director Jeff Kaplan wrote in a forum that the next hero "is not who you think it is." Thinking emoji face.
She'll be playable... but as an old lady
Some fans have focused on the date of the blog post, February 21 2017. Yes, that's today's date but the game's lead writer Michael Chu has said the game is set "around 60 years in the future." That would make Oladele at least 70 if she's going to be a playable hero in Overwatch. Chu took to Twitter to try and clear up the timeline so it seems if she is a hero, she'll still be a pre-teen.
@Jalen_Nelaj That date is just our "real world" publish date. The interview takes place in the present day of the OW timeline.— Michael Chu (@westofhouse) February 21, 2017
She'll be playable... but you won't have to shoot a child
Fans are also wondering is the mention of drones in the blog post mean rather than fighting herself, the character will summon and control drones or a robot during matches. Blizzard set a precedent for this in its MOBA Heroes Of The Storm with Abathur, who doesn't directly engage in combat but can spawn creatures instead.
There's a plane crash on the way
"My parents are taking me on a trip to celebrate! It'll be my first time flying, so I can't wait," says Oladele. (Insert ominous music here.) If you've ever watched a Disney film you know terrible things happen to parents when they go traveling, so there's a decent chance our little inventor could end up an orphan, lost in the wilderness following a terrible air accident. (Sidenote: Cheeky chick Tracer also has an aviation mishap in her back story.) Perhaps Oladele's knowledge of robotics and AI will be key to her survival, and the story of the next Overwatch hero?