After months of anticipation, rumours and leaks, the latest addition to Overwatch's hero roster has been announced. In a video announcement on the game's official YouTube channel, lead designer and Blizzard Entertainment vice-president Jeff Kaplan revealed that the 27th member to join the list of playable characters in the online shooter will be Brigitte, a new support character with ties to existing members of Overwatch.

Brigitte had previously appeared in some of the ancillary media that helps build out the Overwatch story beyond the game, including the Reinhardt animated short 'Honor and Glory' and the Christmas comics 'Reflections' and 'Fighting Dragon.' Kaplan introduced the character as being a hybrid support-tank class, suggesting that players who currently main as tank characters (including D.Va, Winston and Zarya) could adapt easily to a support role, or those who main support characters (including Mercy, Symmetra or fellow recent addition Moira) might appreciate some extra firepower.

How does she play?

Brigitte was added to the Overwatch PTR, or public test region, last Wednesday. As described by Kaplan, she is primarily a support hero with tank elements. Her main weapon is her Rocket Flail, which unleashes a melee attack similar in to Reinhardt's hammer but with an increased range. She also has a special move called the Whip Shot, which knocks enemies back as well as doing damage.

In addition to her attack weapon, Brigitte also wields a Barrier Shield which is again similar to Reinhardt's, albeit much smaller in size, meaning other heroes cannot necessarily get behind it. However, her personal shield also packs a punch, allowing her to unleash a Barrier Strike attack when being wielded which sees Brigitte lunge forward to knock back and stun an enemy.

This tactic could be useful in repelling persistent, swift assaults from Tracer or Genji players.

The support element is where Brigitte really shines, though. While her Barrier Shield is mostly for personal use, she can aid her allies by deploying Repair Packs. Using a targeting reticle similar to Zenyatta's, Brigitte can heal any nearby members of her team or, if she heals beyond their current damage or targets a player who doesn't need healing, she can apply a brief armor boost.

She also has a passive ability called Inspire, which heals in a large radius around her whenever dealing damage to an enemy.

Her ultimate is called Rally, heralded by the sound of horns. When performing her ult, Brigitte immediately equips all nearby teammates, within a radius comparable to Zenyatta or Lúcio's healing moves, with armor that lasts until it’s removed by damage.

Her speed also greatly increases. This move provides a tactical advantage, the sound played when Brigitte's ultimate is triggered providing motivation for teams to power through choke points or rally around tricky objectives, knowing a boost is coming.

What's her backstory?

As her abilities suggest, Brigitte is tied closely to the original Overwatch team members Reinhardt and Torbjörn. In the game's backstory, she is the daughter of the latter, and joined her father's workshop as a weaponsmith for the Overwatch team. Before long she became the personal repair-person of Reinhardt, her godfather, fixing up his armor after fights. Before long, however, she was inspired to become a more active participant in the Overwwatch mission, and developed her own armor and weapons inspired by her two father figures.

In the lore, this means she originally joined the fray as a field medic to Reinhardt in particular, but has since expanded her purview to take in other allies and teammates. This backstory also explains why her weapon, Barrier Shield and armor are similar to Reinhardt's, and the Repair Packs can be seen as a development of Torbjörn's Amor Packs.

The youngest daughter of Torbjörn and his wife Ingrid, Brigitte first appeared in the Reinhardt digital comic 'Dragon Slayer,' where she helped to repair the hero's Crusader Armor. In the Tracer comic 'Reflections,' released as part of the Winter Wonderland event, Brigitte makes a brief appearance reading a story to Torbjörn's grandchildren. In the 'Honor and Glory' animated short released in November of last year, she can be seen alongside Reinhardt as he considers rejoining Overwatch.