Overwatch Devs Explain Why Terry Crews Isn't Doomfist's Voice (And Other Inside Stories)

Terry Crews, fighting games, Doomfist bug fixes, and the surprise response to healers at Comic-Con.


Overwatch, and Blizzard in general, had a huge presence at this year's Comic-Con. Hearthstone led an ice cream social with visits from the Lich King and Jessica Nigri and the Blizzard merch booth was full of new stuff (like that $450 D.Va statue), but it was Doomfist who grabbed the most attention. Blizzard recently pushed the character out to the test realm on PC, and the company sponsored the first-ever Doomfist cosplay with an elaborate, incredibly impressive costume. The devs even devoted an entire panel to discussing how Doomfist was created. But one important question was left hanging after the panel: Why didn't Terry Crews end up voicing the long-teased character?

Terry Crews is a bombastic, larger-than-life figure, and just one month ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would voice the one Blizzard character with a name to out-badass Garrosh Hellscream. Crews talked about visiting Blizzard, he put out a public audition tape for the role, and he even got Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's endorsement. But the part ended up going to veteran actor and director Sahr Ngaujah.

Crews is still front of mind for many fans, and although he didn't come up during the Q&A portion of the panel, his name was yelled out more than once by a few members of the audience. So, during our follow-up conversation, we asked Blizzard's devs why, after so much hype, Crews didn't end up as Doomfist. Blizzard senior designer Michael Chu explained, "We love Terry. Terry's awesome. He came and visited us. We had a great time. But when we were looking for Doomfist, we were looking for something very specific given his role in the game and everything. When we were early in the audition process, we heard Sahr, who's the actor who plays Doomfist, and he just blew us away immediately. Once we heard his voice, it was like, 'Holy crap. That's Doomfist.'" Chu particularly praised the number of "flavors" Sahr is able to bring to the role, and Sahr's ability to, "...bring all these different aspects of the character to life.

While that doesn't rule out the possibility of Crews taking on another role in the future, it does explain why he might not have been the best fit for what Blizzard has planned with Doomfist.

The after-panel discussion also turned to other topics that were only briefly touched on in the presentation, like the possibility of a Blizzard fighting game. During his presentation, Overwatch lead designer Geoff Goodman called Doomfist, with his unique, melee-focused combat, an "ode to the fighting genre," and the concept art for the character was a direct homage to fighting game art. But could that ever lead to something more?

"I was working on World of Warcraft originally, when WoW was shipped," Goodman said, "and I remember the questions then in a lot of interviews were like, 'Well, you guys are like a RTS company. How are you gonna make an MMO?' Then we're working Overwatch, and then when we shoot Overwatch, it's like, 'Well, you guys are the MMO company. How are you gonna make an FPS?' It's just sort of funny. It just goes to show, we can do these genres. We play the games so much. We love these games so much. Who knows? Maybe someday we'll see a fighting game. That'd be sweet." Of course, this doesn't mean that Blizzard is gearing up to enter yet another new genre, but the design team sounds like it's always up for a new challenge.

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But the current challenge is making sure that Doomfist fits into the full game. We asked the developers what the main takeaway from Doomfist's run on the PC public test realm has been, and the response was immediate: "Bugs. Lots of bugs."

Goodman explained, "We fixed pretty much all of them. It was heads down for a while and lots of, 'Oh, my God. We're not gonna make this deadline.' It was pretty much all hands on deck to fix a lot of bugs. He's a complicated character. He's not just like a guy with a gun who runs around and shoots all of the characters. Doomfist has so many inner working parts and very complicated mechanics, so it lent itself, unfortunately, really well to bugs."

But sometimes those bugs can lead to interesting features. According to Goodman, there was a persistent bug in PTR that, after he removed it, he received feedback from players in the forums that they actually thought the mechanic it had inadvertently introduced was fun. He was able to reintroduce the slightly modified "bug" so that, "When you're doing the rocket punch, you can hit space and cancel it out and leave a little bit of extra distance."

Finally, and perhaps the most surprising moment of the Overewatch panel, was the raucous reaction from the audience after two different fans asked when the next healer character would be added to the game. Were the devs surprised? Goodman answered, "I don't know. I was surprised that it came back-to-back with multiple people." He laughed, adding, "I wasn't expecting that." But he went on to say, "Adding another hero would be awesome. There's so much potential, especially healing in a game like Overwatch, because it's a very unique mechanic...Ana is so different than any other healers, and we have a bunch of prototypes in place playing with different mechanics. There are certainly healers in the prototype mix, so it'd be fun to maybe come up with them pretty soon, hopefully."

While some of the devs answers raise even more questions, they made it a point to get across that they actively listen to their players. As Doomfist heads into the full game on July 27, you can be sure Blizzard devs will be on forums and social media answering questions, and just generally seeing what peoples reactions to the new character are. And maybe if people keep yelling out in panels about wanting Terry Crews in the game, that could eventually happen too.

Justin Haywald on Google+

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Avatar image for Gamer_4_Fun

Blizzard never said Cruz will do the voice, the fans pushed it so much to the point they started to believe it will happen. I am glad famous figures do not voice the characters.

Avatar image for 360ru13r

Honestly after looking at Doomfist character design vs what Terry Crews voice and energy is yeah...Terry isn't this version of doomfist. This Doomfist looks like he should have a deep menacing voice with a subdued like tone. So yeah I understand why Terry didn't get the role.

Avatar image for lonewolf1044

I personally believe Terry Crews would have been a good Doomfist and it has nothing to him being entitled. How Blizzard made their choice and the voice that is Doomfist is not bad at all. Terry not exactly hurting will eventually get another gig and he already has a gig on Crackdown 3. :) another thing there is no need to explain.

Avatar image for lithus

Oh god let it go already. He wasn't right for the part.

Avatar image for zerohournow

Can I laugh at how they claimed they chose doom fists voice because the guy just sounded like him and not because of the massive price difference between him and Crews...

Avatar image for LonelyHippie27

I'm excited for Doomfist, but for fucks sake, put out some new maps. Gettin old

Avatar image for Keaze_

I think I missed the part where Terry Crews suddenly became a legend. Yes he's a funny guy but why is everyone talking about him lately?

He was in Saints Row, but Benjamin "motherf**king" king is not really a memorable character.

He's supposedly in Crackdown. Ok. And...?

How does that lead to the whole world clamoring for him?

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

Anyone else find the voice clips in this game annoying overall? Relentless and gets old fast.

Avatar image for deathbyderping

@girlusocrazy: Yeah it gets to me, too, but I still like the game. Tracer's voice really bothers my ears.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@timmyp1982: I guess I can't stand the repetition

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd

I very much support Blizzard in passing on Crews.

I like the guy, but I don't like the notion of a company being strong-armed into something just because someone has brand recognition. This leads to a lot of pretty horrible casting decisions in movies (see Matt Damon in the Great Wall), and while I'm not saying Crews would be horrible as Doomfist, I think it's pretty important for Blizzard to resist this sort of pressure.

Looking forward to trying out Doomfist; Overwatch is my #1 game right now and will be for years!

Avatar image for solid_snake1461

Well, it's their game and they can shape it as they want. If you don't agree to that, you are free to not play their game.

The current Doom Fist voice works great and that's all I, as well as the majority of the players, care about. Personally, I'm glad that Blizz didn't give in to preasure and give the role to some nobody, as demanded by a minority few. It would set a very bad example.

Avatar image for dev-raid1

@solid_snake1461: some nobody? boy someone needs to get their head out of gaming for a little while, the actor they chose compared to terry crews is the nobody

Avatar image for Jaxith

I'm sure Terry Crews is great and all, but I don't think the auditioning process really works on a system of "Who's famous and wants to do it?" There's definitely more to it; you don't just get to say, "I want to do this", and then get it. Nothing against Terry Crews... I honestly know next to nothing about him, but I believe Blizzard made the right choice with their direction.

Avatar image for GRTooCool

@Jaxith: I also think Blizzard didn't choose Terry Crews because they'd have to pay him a lot more than whoever they hired to do it.

Avatar image for zerohournow

@GRTooCool: exactly, you win the "Im not an idiot award". Covet it.

Avatar image for dcoutten

Doomfist is too serious (and deadly) for Terry. Terry is more like a Lucio where you are in the spawn room waiting and you got Zarya and Widow talking about death and killing people, Lucio is jumping around talking how great the horrible team comp is and that you "got to believe".

Avatar image for babbothearm

@dcoutten: Oh please. As if they can't rewrite a character.

Avatar image for biggamerdude

@dcoutten: this. Terry isnt a character I can imagine would be serious, which is what doomfist really is

Avatar image for dev-raid1

@biggamerdude: so youve seen none of his movies then??? training day? expendables? the gamer? harsh times? street kings? he is literally in a movie called badass

Avatar image for fox_fury

Yea instead of Terry we've got this "I'm da DoomFis mon!" default rasta voice...
This should have been Terry's part.

Avatar image for yukushi

Bunch of crap, terry crews is doomfist.

Avatar image for gameroutlawzz

@yukushi: Says the guy who probably dont even play the game.

Avatar image for vid-lock

@gameroutlawzz: says the guy who also probably dont even play the game.

You get it? Its funny because anyone can make that statement! XD

Avatar image for Ultimate_Noob

The cliffnotes version of why it wasn't Terry Crews:

"We didn't want a meme character."

Avatar image for razerhd

@Ultimate_Noob: Sucks for them. More memes means more attention.

Avatar image for Ultimate_Noob

@razerhd: Eh. Memes are fads that get milked for humor until they're not funny anymore. It makes sense for cosmetics like voicelines (Soldier: "I'm not your father") but actual characters have much more longevity and prevalence than a one-note joke.

Avatar image for razerhd

@Ultimate_Noob: True but it's hard to see any logetivity in this new Doomfist character. I see another Doomfist coming out & then this guy just being kinda trivial in the future like "Hey, did you know there was another Doomfist before?". I mean sure Terry Crews is memable but since you brought up longevity, he's lasted quite awhile. He hasn't done an Old Spice commercial in years & it's been even longer since his appearance in Idiocracy. He seems so valued yet he's never utilized (except for Crackdown 3). I feel like in this case they really did miss out on a great oppurtunity.