Overwatch players have uncovered references to long-awaited hero Doomfist and the possible return of the Summer Games event in a recent update to the game's Public Test Realm (PTR). The mentions appeared in a crashlog for patch version 1.13 which is currently in testing on PC.
The test patch was originally detailed by Blizzard on 22 June, with the developer confirming that the update is trialling a significant reduction in duplicate item drops in the game's Loot Boxes - and changes to its video highlights system - for both PC and console versions of the hero shooter.
In short, the test update seems fairly innocuous and is expected to roll out to the game's live servers in the coming weeks.
However, eagle-eyed PC players have found something interesting in the patch's data logs that point to two much more significant additions.
When testing the new highlight video capture within the PTR, several players have encountered crashes which are accompanied by an optional error log containing the line: "Overwatch - 126.96.36.199 Doomfist / Summer Games." This has since been verified by multiple users on Reddit and the game's official forums.
The find has led to wild speculation that Blizzard is adopting a Trojan Horse-like strategy for Overwatch's latest update, and is laying the groundwork for both Doomfist and another seasonal event under the guise of a less feature-packed patch.
We will have to wait and see if this is the case, but the timing would certainly fit if Blizzard is indeed planning a second Summer Games event. The original sport-themed update arrived on 2 August to coincide with the 2016 Olympic Games.
Summer Games was Overwatch's first seasonal event and presented players with a new event-exclusive mode - the Rocket League-inspired Lúcioball - and a huge number of sporty cosmetic items. A second Summer Games event could give players a second chance to grab the skins, sprays, emotes and other unlockables that are otherwise unobtainable.
While re-runs of themed events is an exciting prospect, it's perhaps not surprising that Doomfist is the main topic of conversation among the Overwatch community following the update hint.
Who is Doomfist?
Doomfist has existed in Overwatch's lore since the game's first cinematic trailer in 2014. The animated short (embedded below) shows femme fatale-sniper Widowmaker and fallen hero Reaper attempting to steal the character's titular fist. The pair are ultimately foiled by Winston, a gorilla born and raised on Earth's moon, and the game's British heroine and cover star, Tracer.
Since then, Doomfist has been referenced multiple times in-game, in lore hints on Overwatch's social media accounts, and by Overwatch's development team, but the hero has remained absent from the game's playable roster.
During the release of the game's 24th hero - the quadruped android Orisa - environmental changes were added to the Numbani map which seemed to suggest that Doomfist had visited and laid waste to the fictional African city in order to reclaim his fist.
Posters of Doomfist on the Numbani map also reveal that the Doomfist title has previously been held by at least two others, known as The Saviour and The Sourge. A third is also pictured in silhouette and is dubbed The Successor.
Considering the character's size, the Overwatch fandom is mostly convinced that Doomfist will be a Tank class hero. However, with the recent addition of Orisa, Overwatch's sixth Tank hero, there is some speculation that Doomfist could in fact occupy a Support role instead.
Does the patch reference mean that Doomfist is on the way? Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan isn't telling just yet. Speaking to IBTimes UK in April, Kaplan said that Blizzard has "big plan[s]" for the character, while also stating that hero number 25 is "very far along in development."