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Everything you need to know about Kiriko, Overwatch 2's ninja shrine maiden

What does the fox say?

The leaks were right: Activision Blizzard just confirmed a new Support hero name Kiriko who will debut with the launch of Overwatch 2 on October 4. A childhood friend of brothers Genji and Hanzo, she’s meant to be a fast-paced Support that can keep up with her allies with special abilities like wall-climbing and teleportation, making her one of the game’s most mobile healers alongside Moira. It’s unclear if she’ll function like an offense-support hybrid like Zenyatta and Moira, but she definitely has a lot less range than sniper-hearler Ana. Here’s everything you need to know about Kiriko, including how to get her, her abilities, and her backstory.

When is the Kiriko release date in Overwatch 2?

Kiriko arrives with the first season of Overwatch 2 when the game launches on October 4, but unlike how things worked in the first Overwatch, new characters are not available to all players for free as soon as they’re released. Things are a little bit more complicated.

How to unlock Kiriko in Overwatch 2

Anyone who pays roughly $10 for the Overwatch 2 Season 1 Premium Battle Pass will unlock Kiriko instantly. The Premium Battle Pass also has an exclusive paid track of tiered rewards like Mythic Skins and other cosmetics, which stack with the rewards on the free track. Those who own the original Overwatch will also unlock Kiriko for free on Day 1, but this isn’t expected to be the case for future Heroes, though.

New players can only get her for free at Battle Pass Tier 55. If you can’t make it to Tier 55 before the end of the 9-week season, then you can still get her as a reward from Weekly Challenges. Characters from past seasons will return as Weekly Challenge rewards to give free-to-play players another chance to earn them, especially if they just joined and couldn’t get them after the fact.

What are Kiriko’s abilities in Overwatch 2?

Blizzard has a new approach for detailing Hero abilities.

Activision Blizzard

Kiriko is a Support hero that’s designed to keep up with fast-paced allies. Here’s her full kit as described by the development team:

  • Protection Suzu — Upon impact, allies in the area become briefly invulnerable and are cleansed of most negative effects. These include Sombra’s Hack, Reinhardt’s Shatter, and others.
  • Kunai — Thrown projectile that deals increased critical damage.
  • Healing Ofuda — Channel a burst of healing talismans that can seek targeted allies. So long as you have allies within your line of sight before the attack, it will follow them as they travel or even through walls.
  • Swift Step — Teleport directly to an ally, even through walls. Be careful not to rush face-first into a death trap, though.
  • Ultimate: Kitsune Rush — Summon a fox spirit that rushes forward, accelerating the movement, attack speed, and cooldown of allies that follow its path.
  • Passive: Wall Climb — Jumps at walls to climb up them.

Out of these abilities, Overwatch 2 developers said they were particularly keeping a close eye on Protection Suzu to make sure it didn’t get out of hand. It has a shorter duration than Baptiste’s Immortality Field but could possibly be further nerfed in the future.

What is Kiriko’s backstory in Overwatch 2?

Kiriko grew up in Kanezaka, a fictional Japanese town, as a shrine maiden. Her family has ancestral ties to the Kanezaka Shrine which functions as a house of worship for a fox spirit. Kiriko was raised by her mother and grandmother, so she embodies their contrasting ideals.

“She will do anything to protect her community, even if it means bending a few rules,” says Narrative Designer Kyungseo Min. “She’s a trickster like the fox spirit.”

Her grandmother taught her to be a shrine maiden and her mother taught her how to protect herself as a ninja. Both parts of her identity are readily apparent in her kit, which centers on her ninja kunai and fox spirit summoning abilities.

Kiriko is also a childhood friend of the Shimada brothers, Genji and Hanzo. She witnessed the fall of the Shimada Clan and how it affected her friends, which ties into her personal arc about bridging tradition with modernity. There wasn’t much detail about how her story would be revealed other than through the cinematic trailer and in-game lines — which is pretty typical for Overwatch.

“All I can say is that she is going to be a key player in the Kanezaka area and a big catalyst in the Shimada brothers’ story moving forward,” says Min.

Overwatch 2 will launch on October 4 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.

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