At The International last week, Valve revealed that Underlord would be making his way to Dota 2 in the near future. It was particularly exciting news, because it meant that finally, after many, many years, the entire DotA cast would’ve been ported over to the sequel.
Who then, would come after Underlord? Based on Valve’s typical release schedule, I didn’t expect to see anyone new until next year at the very least.
But lo and behold, a surprise announcement surfaced toward the end of TI6, revealing a brand new character. Holy moly, a new, original hero was on the way to Dota 2, and a lot sooner than anybody expected… PRAISE GABEN! Here’s his teaser trailer…
… Monkey King? Seriously, you mean to tell me that after all this time, after dragging out DotA hero ports for ages, Valve’s first new original character is Monkey King?
I’d brush it off, really I would, except literally every other mainstream MOBA (bar Heroes of the Storm) has somebody of that ilk already. Don’t believe me? See for yourself…
Wukong (League of Legends)
Monkey King (Heroes of Newerth)
Sun Wukong (SMITE)
Yeah, I know Warframe is not a MOBA, but I’m adding this character here too because REASONS!
Basically every other game has a character inspired by Sun Wukong already. Speaking of which, who the hell is that anyway? Here’s a quick history lesson on the Monkey King, who comes from Chinese mythology…
Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a mythological figure who features in a body of legends, which can be traced back to the period of the Song dynasty. He appears as a main character in the 16th century Chinese classical novel Journey to the West. Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India.
Sun Wukong possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 j?n (7,960 kilograms (17,550 lb)) staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres (13,468 mi)) in one somersault. (Note that this is more than half way around the world.) Sun knows 72 transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects; however, he is troubled in transforming into other forms, due to the accompanying incomplete transformation of his tail. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of holding his own against the best warriors of heaven. Each of his hairs possess magical properties, capable of being transformed into clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He knows spells to command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.
One of the most enduring Chinese literary characters, Sun Wukong has a varied background and colorful cultural history. Sun Wukong’s origin is from the White Monkey legends from the Chinese Chu kingdom (700–223 BC), who revered gibbons and especially white-colored ones. These legends gave rise to stories and art motifs during the Han dynasty, eventually contributing to the rise of the Sun Wukong figure. Sun Wukong was initially developed as a Taoist immortal before being incorporated into Buddhist myths. He is also considered by some scholars to be influenced by elements of both Chinese folklore and the Hindu deity Hanuman from the Ramayana.
Interesting tale and character, right? It’s really no wonder so many titles have drawn inspiration from Wukong. I just find it hilarious that Valve have chosen him to be the basis for their first new original hero.
What’s even funnier is that the voice actor, Matthew Mercer (who voices Overwatch’s McCree too as a matter of interest), is the very same bloke who recorded lines for Heroes of Newerth’s Monkey King (via Dota 2 Gamepedia). At least he has the experience already – specific experience that he is bringing to Dota 2’s character.
Anyways, moving right along, am I wrong to be so harsh to Valve? Every other MOBA does have a Wukong too after all, so they’re all culprits of being completely unoriginal.
I just feel that Valve had the opportunity to reveal something truly spectacular for their first new original hero, and they slipped up. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong though. For all I know, this Monkey King could prove to be the very best interpretation of the legend yet.
Last Updated: August 16, 2016