At the Overwatch 'What's Next' panel at BlizzCon 2018, the character design team behind the game's newest playable hero, Ashe, revealed that the gang leader is voiced by none other than Jennifer Hale.
As far as voice actors and actresses go, Hale is a legend in the gaming industry. Fans may know her from her roles in Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, Spider-Man, BioShock Infinite and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- but even that list only scrapes the surface of her extensive, storied career. In Diablo 3, Hale voices Leah.
Developers said that Hale was their first choice for the role, but they auditioned numerous voice actresses. Ultimately, Hale was given the part after developers listened blindly to four or five different readings from various actresses.
Developers also revealed that Hale and Matt Mercer, the voice actor behind Ashe's former partner, Jesse McCree, recorded "Reunion" together. Reunion is the newest of Overwatch's cinematic shorts; it features a showdown between McCree and his former Deadlock gang, led by Ashe.
Furthermore, designers revealed that Ashe was not intended to be a playable hero -- "I thought we'd put her in a comic book or something," said a developer during the panel -- but the Overwatch team quickly fell in love with the character.
Like most Overwatch heroes, she underwent an extensive design process. Initial designs depicted Ashe as a gothic, black-clad hero, but designers found that her silhouette and character model were too similar to Reaper's. The next version of the hero was too punk rock and after that, she featured an all-white suite and a red/white cape -- but developers decided she looked too much like a superhero.
Many interations later, they settled on the biker-cowboy gang leader hybrid they had been searching for. Last but not least, they gave her a short bob (pun intended) haircut both for practical and aesthetic reasons.
If goth Ashe, superhero Ashe, or mobster Ashe sounded appealing to you, though, then don't worry -- we are likely to see her previous iterations return someday as in-game, purchasable skins.
Header image via Blizzard Entertainment.