The third annual Overwatch Anniversary Event is now live and features some incredible looking new skins! Two of the best of the best includes D.Va’s Academy skin and Winston’s Gargoyle look, both of which have been met with incredibly positive reactions from fans. When taking a break from defending payloads and capturing the flag, concept artist David Kang sat down with us to talk about how his two favorite skins ended up making the cut and what inspired their creation!
First things first, let’s talk about the Academy skin for D.Va. “This skin was a no-brainer. The team has wanted to create a skin like this for the longest time, but it took a while to make it a reality–mostly because we needed to determine the right mech to complement D.Va’s uniform,” Dang tells us. “We ultimately decided to tie it to the idea of D.Va being a pro gamer in high school. Her mech would be the mech she uses in the game she plays professionally.”
One thing that players love about D.Va is she’s more complicated than what first meets the eye. Both in and out of Meka, she almost plays like two different characters and that’s what this skin design reflects as well: “Academy D.Va’s mech has a few cool details that are easy to miss. The head we added to the top of the mech actually moves in sync with D.Va’s head when she is inside the mech. The mech also has special green jet FX when it flies. And a fun fact: We actually teased this skin in the Busan map for a whole year. If you go into her personal room in the mech base, her desktop wallpaper has a cropped image of D.Va’s mech skin.”
Kang also opened up a little bit about what made D.Va’s design so challenging, especially when looking at a two-part design: “The biggest challenge for this skin was the mech itself. Our team’s philosophy with D.Va skins is that we always need to match the mech to what D.Va herself is wearing. The first thing that came to mind when we decide to do a school uniform for D.Va was a school bus for the mech. Unfortunately, after some research and help from the Blizzard team in Korea, we learned that Korean high-school students don’t really ride school busses–but we tried it anyway!”
Her Academy look wasn’t a one-and-done decision, the initial idea required a little more tweaking before it made the final cut: “Once we determined the American yellow school bus wouldn’t really work, we did some more research and found out that Korean high school students often take city buses. We tried that, too, but D.Va ended up looking like she was supposed to be the bus driver–so we designed a cool-looking robot instead. This ended up being a huge upgrade compared to the other designs. Everyone on the team was really happy with how it turned out.”
While I’m not personally a Winston main, I’ve always felt a little bad for people that favor the tanky hero. He always seems to get the short end of the banana when it comes to skins, though definitely not this time. His new gargoyle skin is one of the best the game has ever seen, and Kang opened up about the decision to make this design choice for the character: “I’ve always been fascinated with gargoyle statues on gothic cathedrals, and have been wanting to do a skin like this since early 2018. The concept team thought it would a perfect match for Winston, as he looks a bit like a gargoyle himself from a silhouette point of view. Gargoyles also have two different forms they can take–one as stone, and one as a living, breathing creature. Winston is similar in that he has a calm, collected state, and a berserk Primal Rage state.”
He’s cool looking and he’s flashy. Kang mentioned that the special effects added to the Gargoyle skin were designed to make the stone “feel alive” and give a non-stagnant feel to this very ambitious creative take.
Overwatch players can earn these two skins for themselves because the Anniversary event is now live!